Rhodes to Independence and The Center for Social Capital
The Rhode Island Pathways to Self-Employment Sustainability Project builds lasting capacity throughout the state by creating capacity for leveraging generic community resources, multiple funding braids, cooperative relationships, and inventive service delivery through the demonstration and stabilization of customized self-employment in 6 communities during 2009 and 2010.
The most effective means of propelling systems change is by demonstrating what is possible; historically in fact, it is about the only means. Pathways to Self-Employment will illustrate what is possible on several levels by improving and regenerating existing infrastructure (e.g. Medicaid Waiver services, self-employment development approaches, VR assessment and self employment policy, Small Business Development Center parameters). The project will accomplish this by:
Selecting three self-employment development sites per year for two years, six total, through a competitive request for proposals over the two-year term of this project; Incentivising participation by partially providing for a “Quick-Launch” fund for leveraging resources used in business financing and resource ownership;
Supporting Resource Mapping in each community to identify key resources and begin the process of building intermediary alliances;
Convening stakeholder groups/Social Capital Conclaves in each site that foment partnerships across systems to create communities of economic cooperation;
Recruiting 4 individuals with significant disabilities per site 12 individuals per year) with 24 people receiving Customized Self-Employment after 2 years;
Training a cadre of rehabilitation personnel, self-advocates, and families in the key Customized Self-Employment functions and processes;
Providing on-site and distance technical consultation in collaboration with existing Rhode Island resources regarding public benefits (SSA, PASS, PESS, IDAs, et al.), assessment (Discovery), multiple funding sources, customized business development and planning, transition from school to adulthood, etc.;
Providing TA and Mentoring to local teams supporting change in practice across agencies, partners, intermediaries, and communities.