From the Desk of Suzannah Newman, Human Resources Director
2022 was a busy year for UCP’s Human Resources Department. One of our main focuses was updating and improving UCP’s compensation structure.
In late 2021, we began working with a new compensation consultant. The consultant conducted an Internal Equity Study, using specific factors that are defined in the Oregon Pay Equity Act.
The Oregon Pay Equity Act requires employers to ensure that they are providing equitable pay for comparable jobs using five characteristics: job knowledge, skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions. Going forward, UCP’s compensation structure will be evaluated every third year based on compliance with Oregon Pay Equity. The consultant also conducted a market survey of each job at UCP.
All of this was essential work, necessary to attract qualified and experienced candidates, retain talented employees, and create an environment that fosters teamwork, recognizes achievement, and aligns with UCP’s organizational commitments and service-level goals.
We also continued to engage in a wide range of external advocacy activities, lobbying for increased funding to sustain our efforts to provide fair and equitable compensation for our employees.
We are so excited to share the achievements of our customer, Henry Meece.
Henry uses services from UCP Oregon’s Supported Employment Department (also known as Employment Solutions). He works at Fulcrum Fitness, serving as a janitor at their SE location.
About his job, Henry says, “I like all the UCP Job Coaches I’ve had, and I like cleaning the gym when it’s quiet and everyone is gone for the day.”
But Henry is far more famous for winning medals at the X Games.
The X Games are an extreme sport competition, and are covered live on the X Games YouTube and Twitch channels. The Games happen twice a year—in the summer and in the winter—and usually consist of skateboarding, skiing, snowboarding, and BMX biking.
Henry started competing in the X Games in 2015. He describes the X Games as “challenging and crazy fun.” He adds, “In the X Games, we are paired with a pro or celebrity, and we each get one run down the red and blue course. We add our fastest times together and the top three times receive Gold, Silver or Bronze medals.”
Henry competes in a snowboarding category called “Unified Slalom.” Slalom is an exciting event! It involves racing down over a zigzagging course, having to turn and adjust quickly as you move between narrowly-spaced flags. Henry would love it if the X Games also added a category called “banked slalom,” competing on a twisty curvy course with banked turns.
Together with his first partner, Chris Klug, Henry won four consecutive Gold medals. Henry was paired with Jack Mitrani in 2020 and took home the Bronze. Last week, Henry and Chris Klug were reunited as partners and together they won third place, adding a Bronze medal to their collection.
Congratulations, Henry! We’re so proud of you!
PS: Want to learn more about the 2023 X Games? Click this link—you can even see Henry’s most recent score.
NOTE: Photo credit goes to Francis-King and Nnamani/Special Olympics.
We’d like to give a huge shout out to Diondre, who recently celebrated his 18-year anniversary at Fred Meyer. Congratulations, Diondre!
Diondre uses UCP Oregon's Supported Employment Services (also known as Employment Solutions).
PS: Want to hear more details about Diondre and his awesome Job Coach, Rory? We have good news for you! They're both going to be profiled in an upcoming Annual Report. Woo hoo!
February is Black History Month. It’s a time to hold space for Black Americans, to recognize and celebrate and grieve parts of American history that may feel all too invisible.
For UCP Oregon, it’s also a time to celebrate the contributions and struggles of Black people who experience disabilities.
Currently, 5.5 million Black Americans are living with a disability. But, as Ola Ojewumi says, “to be Black and disabled in America is to be invisible.”
Ola Ojewumi is both Black and disabled. She’s an activist, journalist, and a community organizer. She contributes to the Huffington Post, and founded two nonprofits.
Ola says, “According to the version of American history I was taught in the public education system, it's as though people with disabilities didn’t make any significant contributions to our society. The same was largely true for African Americans... Yet when you look at Black history, there is an undeniable link to disability; some of our greatest Black heroes and heroines have been disabled.”
She adds, “Since our society fails to do enough to acknowledge both communities' significant contributions, it is up to us to amplify Black disabled voices and both groups’ histories."
That’s why Ola created the #DisabledBlackHistory campaign. It's a social media initiative that celebrates the milestones of disabled black Americans.
Read more about Ola Ojewumi and #DisabledBlackHistory here.
YEAR-END UPDATE, FROM THE DESK OF JOHN GOFF, COMMUNITY SERVICES DIRECTOR
Hello, UCP Family!
It is always an honor to share the successes and stories of the Community Services (CS) Department, but not without first recognizing the collective energy of all UCP customers, employees, Board members, and partners. When I think of the past year, I am reminded of the familiar phrase that it truly “Takes a Village,” and I must say that I am grateful to have been a part of this one for close to 10 years!
So, what of the year 2022? I wish I had space to list every situation and scenario navigated, but I can say with certainty and admiration that everyone in the department showed up in a very big way to support one another.
In no order of priority, the CS Department:
I am very proud of all the accomplishments and work from the Community Services Department, and I look forward to another great year in 2023 filled with opportunity, continued advocacy, and growth.
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Last year, we shared a list of powerful MLK quotes that was curated by Karen Wang. Karen is the mom of several children, including a son with disabilities.
As Karen writes, “As I plan for my children’s future, I find myself returning to [MLK’s] lessons for guidance. Human rights are for everyone, and we still have a long way to go on our journey.”
These quotes are so good that we're sharing them again.
What are you doing to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day?
PS: You can read Karen's article here.
We are pleased to announce that Nicole Vivanco has been promoted to the position of Employment Services Director, which oversees UCP's Supported Employment Department.
Prior to this advancement, Nicole was acting as the Employment Services Manager. Nicole took on the Manager position during a very difficult time in the early months of the pandemic.
Thanks to Nicole’s dedication, the Employment Solutions team is thriving, with customers working across the Portland area. Nicole participated in agency-wide strategic planning and implementation. She also fostered productive collaboration with community partners such as mental health and developmental disabilities agencies, area Brokerages, Vocational Rehabilitation, Oregon Commission for the Blind, families, advocates, Board members, etc.
Nicole brings 9 years of experience in the field of supported employment.
Nicole says, “I am so happy to accept this new role within our department, and I am excited to continue to support our customers, employers, and the employment professionals at UCP to find success and meet their career goals.”
She adds, “I’d like to thank our community partners for their collaboration and support. Seeing a person shine—in a job that is a great match for them and their employer—is the biggest motivator for me. Supported employment is so powerful for everyone involved.”
Thank you, Nicole, for everything you’ve done and continue to do. We are excited to begin this new chapter with you.
As we enter a new year, I want to express gratitude toward UCP Oregon’s Direct Support Professionals and Personal Support Workers for their ongoing commitment to support our customers. (Job titles vary by department and role, but all of these employees work directly with our customers.)
What does this support look like?
Employees show up. They show up during inclement weather. They show up when their coworkers and/or customers are sick with RSV, COVID-19, flu, and seasonal colds. They show up by taking on additional work when there are vacant positions, often experiencing unexpected and significant overtime. They show up so their coworkers can have scheduled time off.
They show up to support customers during holidays, ensuring that customers can celebrate the events that matter to them.
And, perhaps most importantly, they show up to advocate, to ask for investments and commitments to the customers they serve. They show up expecting the best from UCP, with focus on a person-centered approach.
A sincere THANK YOU to all employees who provide direct supports. UCP Oregon couldn’t do the work we do without you—the foundation you create is strong and lasting. Our customers are forever grateful and are living higher quality lives because YOU SHOW UP!
Let’s ring in the new year with our heads held high!
During this month, the UCP community will be celebrating in different ways, including cultural, family, secular, and spiritual traditions.
Hanukkah started on Sunday. Winter Solstice occurred this week. Christmas and Kwanza are right around the corner, too. Some folks may not celebrate spiritual or secular occasions in December, and some folks may be grieving or having a tough time.
We are holding you--all of you!--in our hearts. We're thankful for each and every one of you. We couldn't do it without you.
Thanks to everyone at UCP who has helped make this season bright!
See you next year.
The UCP Oregon Office is closed today. It will reopen on Tuesday, December 27th.
Stay warm and safe, everyone. Brrrr!
And thanks to everyone who volunteered, worked or participated in our Annual Toy Giveaway, which ended yesterday. Biggest thanks of all go to Katherine Ball, the Director of UCP's Family Support Department.