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.
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.
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!
What a busy week! Happy Juneteenth! Happy Father’s Day! Happy Pride!
This week (the week of Father’s Day in America), UCP Oregon is giving a shout-out to the parents of our customers.
Our Director of Brokerage Services, Sarah Noack, attended a picnic Blue Lake this week. The event was held by “Off the Couch” events, and several of UCP's customers attended.
As Sarah says, “One of the things I walked away with was appreciation for the parents who show up for their kids their whole lives through.”
As Sarah adds, “We spend a lot of time in ‘adult services’ talking about self-determination… about and muddling our way through the conflicts that can arise between adult children and their parents. I want to take a moment to acknowledge the love and commitment many parents give to their adult children (our customers). As I caught up with a few parents yesterday, I was struck with the love, the impact, the hours, the grief, the heart, the strength, the grit, and the hope of so many parents, who are giving so much to their adult children over their entire lives. It is beautiful.”
Thank you to all the parents of our customers.
Hi! I’m UCP Oregon’s Family Support Director, Katherine Ball.
Did you know that my department supports approximately 845 families?
During an average month, I directly work with 100 families. I am available to them via email, phone, social media, and in person as needed.
I often speak with parents who are dealing with a new diagnosis of cerebral palsy. I send them a “Welcome Packet” with self-care tips, books and resources. I remain in contact with parents, providing resources, information, and a shoulder to lean on as needed.
FROM THE DESK OF SUZANNAH NEWMAN, HR DIRECTOR, UCP OREGON
Happy almost spring!
Before we move into a new season, we want to make sure to catch up on all the “winter” news from UCP.
First up: a giant shout-out to UCP’s Recruiting and Employment Strategies Manager, Kristin Heying! Kristin single-handedly secured a grant from Office of Developmental Disabilities Services (ODDS). The grant allowed us to fund retention bonuses for UCP’s direct support staff.
Bonuses were issued at the end of December, 2021. Thanks to everyone who helped make the bonuses happen, including our Finance Department (Janet Fromdahl and Esther Large), and, of course, our direct support employees themselves, who have been working so hard during challenging times.
This year, we are applying for additional grants, and are continuing to lobby at a state level, with the goal of ensuring that all direct care staff in Oregon are receiving fair and equitable compensation.
From the Desk of Sarah Noack, Brokerage Director, UCP Oregon
As I reflect on the past year, there were beautiful highlights and certainly many difficult lowlights.
In the spring of 2021, I could not have imagined how I would be catapulted out of my home office and into a massive undertaking—establishing a second brokerage (“UCP Mentors”) in order to take on the customers from another brokerage (“Mentor”) that was closing.
In some ways, taking on 600+ customers and starting a second brokerage was completely unfathomable to consider amidst a pandemic.
In other ways, it provided the perfect opportunity to shift focus onto something fresh and energizing.
I knew that I wanted to be a part of a safety net that could catch Mentor’s customers and employees. And I knew UCP had the organizational values and foundation to do right by folks.
What I didn’t know was how powerfully the community would come together to make that happen.
All of UCP’s existing (and new!) brokerage employees gave so much—their skills, gifts, and efforts—to make absolutely certain we were ready for our new customers.
Every single need was met with “here is what I can do.”
People stayed focused and positive even when we were overwhelmed. Problems were met with curiosity and tenacity.
And through those months, the team of former Mentor employees stepped bravely forward, responding with heart and grit and hope and determination.
When UCP Mentors opened on September 1, I felt like we had successfully landed the Millennium Falcon! I am so grateful for everyone, whether they served as Chewie, Yoda, Han, or members of the band that plays the funky music in the cantina.
Here we are four months later.
The dust is settling. And we see what lies ahead--more rebuilding, more growth, some healing, and lots more work.
But for now, I want to pause for a moment and say “three cheers” to everyone who was involved. Hooray for us all! Here is to collaboration, community, and customers! Happy New Year!
--Sarah Noack, Brokerage Director
From the Desk of Ann Coffey, Executive Director, UCP Oregon
A few days ago, I shared a New Year’s post.
But, today, I have more to share.
Sometimes someone’s words seem to grab at my heart and my head.
Pat A. Fleming wrote a poem called “What Life Should Be”.
It’s beautiful and simple, and it speaks to me of UCP Oregon, of our dedication, kindness, and vision.
It speaks to me—especially—of the hearts and hands and minds of our employees—of how they managed to bring their very best, even in the midst of a pandemic.
Below are a few excerpts.
Thank you to UCP’s employees. You truly stand up with courage, every day.
Well, that's a wrap! The 2021 UCP Family Support Annual Toy Giveaway was AWESOME!
We served 69 families and gave away over 200 toys. Woo hoo!
We'd like to send a gigantic thank you to UCP's Family Support Director, Katherine Ball. Katherine ran the entire event, start to finish--soliciting for toys, picking up toys, setting up the booth, and working both days.
Alas, due to some unforeseen events, Katherine had fewer volunteers than expected. She even had to put the gigantic UCP pop-up tent by herself; as she says, "I wish I had a video of it. It would have been a hilarious elf moment!"
Thank you so much for all your hard work, Katherine!
PS: All of the toys that couldn't be picked up at the Toy Giveaway were mailed out in time for them to arrive by Christmas Eve.
Katherine would like to say "thank you" to the following folks: