The CEA Launch and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony!
On Friday February 28th, Fedcap’s newly awarded National Center for Innovation and System Improvement (CEA) celebrated its launch and ribbon cutting ceremony in the presence of over 140 state and local dignitaries, businesses, advocates, consumers and community partners. Among the attendees were the Mayors of Cranston, North Providence and Johnston, a representative from the office of the Mayor of Providence, RI HHS Secretary Constantino, Directors of BHDDH and the Office of Rehabilitative Services, as well as representatives from the office of US Senator Whitehouse and numerous state legislators. The CEA is the result of the vision of leaders of the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH) to create a center dedicated to developing community based jobs and full inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Christine McMahon opened the program by sharing, “We consider the work of the Center to be some of the most important work that is being done in the country in the field of serving people with developmental and intellectual disabilities and commend the state for their foresight and vision.” BHDDH Director, Craig Stenning, reinforced the importance of work of the CEA as an entity that will spearhead Rhode Island’s efforts to ensure that those with intellectual and developmental disabilities who want to work have the opportunity and support to do so. The transition to integrated employment cannot be achieved without the support of business partners who are champions of our work. To this end, two pioneers on the forefront of integrated employment, Gregg’s Restaurants and the RI Bridge and Turnpike Authority, were presented Fedcap’s WorkStar™ Award. The capstone of the program featured Jeffrey S. who talked about what his job at Gregg’s meant to him and his family. He moved the entire audience with his story, and his message about the impact that a job has made on his life. Jeffery shared that because he is working he is able to support his little girl Zoe, who joined him at the end of his comments. As he left the podium hugging his daughter and wiping away his tears, he thanked everyone for their work and support that allowed him to gain employment. The event culminated in a lively ribbon cutting ceremony.