2016 UCP Summer Internship Programs

UCP of Greater Cleveland’s summer internship programs are fast approaching! During the months of June, July and August, transition-age high school students with disabilities work with UCP staff to learn various vocational skills and appropriate work behaviors. Through these programs, students with a variety of disabilities are exposed to different work settings and are able to begin exploring career options. With opportunities ranging from data entry, food service, maintenance and customer service, the students will be able to gain experience in a variety of work settings depending on the business they choose to partner with. The programs are employment-focused with some classroom instruction based on the “Skills to Pay the Bills” curriculum, developed by the Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy.

Program One: Summer Youth Work Experience

Duration: 5 weeks (one week of classroom instruction, four weeks of work experience), 20 hours per week. The first session is June 7 – July 8 and the second session is July 11 – August 12. The deadline to register is one week prior to each session’s start date, so May 30 is the deadline for the session beginning June 7 and July 1 is the deadline for the session beginning July 11.

During the Summer Youth Work Experience, students participate in internship-style work experiences at a business in the community:

  • Great Lakes Science Center – Customer service as a guest services attendant
  • Aramark at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo – Light food prep, cleaning food areas and working in concession stands
  • Pleasantview Care Center –Housekeeping, laundry and senior activities
  • UH Parma Medical Center Health Education Center – Clerical tasks to assist the EMS school, adult care (prep meal trays, activities, etc.), child care assistance, dietary (basic food prep and dishwashing)
  • Best Buy- Downstocking (organizing/alphabetizing products), cleaning/dusting store shelving and displays, stocking, maintaining cleanliness of warehouse, carry-outs to customer cars, parking lot runs, possible clerical/filing tasks

Program Two: Career Exploration

Duration: 3 weeks, 15 hours per week

The Career Exploration program is geared toward younger high school students who are interested in learning more about what it means to have a job after highschool. This program is held at the UCP of Greater Cleveland main campus and will focus on classroom instruction, job shadowing different departments at UCP and tours of local businesses such as Oatey, Reese Pharmaceutical Company and Aramark.

If you are interested in learning more about either of these programs, please contact Sharon Meixner, Transition Services Manager, at smeixner@ucpcleveland.org or (216) 791-8363 ext. 1261.

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Donate Now to the Race to Empower!

UCP of Greater Cleveland serves over 1,000 children and adults with disabilities by empowering them to advance their independence, productivity and inclusion in the community. Through cutting edge Children Services and Adult Services, the agency provides tools and resources that allow individuals to show what they CAN do. Services are offered to individuals regardless of their financial circumstance, and all dollars raised through the Race to Empower directly benefit residents of Northeast Ohio.

Donate Now to the Race to Empower 2016

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Team Aeriana – Why We Race

This week’s blog was written by Ashley, the mother of Aeriana, who receives therapy services at UCP of Greater Cleveland. Ashley, Aeriana and their extended family and friends have participated in the Race to Empower  for the past three years, and are eagerly awaiting the fourth annual race on May 1, 2016.

DSC_4668_WEBWhen Aeriana was diagnosed with cerebral palsy we tried several other therapy facilities and had very little success. Aeriana is a strong willed child that did not like the therapist making her do things she did not want to do. This resulted in her crying through the entire therapy session. Not a soft whimper but ear piercing cry. Finally the other therapy places had given up and by the end of the session they had handed her off to me to finish their work. That all changed when we came to UCP. Their will was stronger than Aeriana’s. As a result of their persistence and dedication, Aeriana has made progress in her therapy. She can sit on her own, her hands are no longer in the closed position, she can say some words and has overall better body control. All of the staff at UCP has been great. They go above and beyond to help us in any way they can.

When we first heard about the Race to Empower we knew we wanted to be a part of it. We thought it was a great way to raise awareness about cerebral palsy and other disabilities as well as support UCP. In Aeriana’s daily life she is the exception instead of the norm. At the race, she is the norm instead of the exception. Our family looks forward to participating in the race every year and our team keeps growing larger. It is such a fun and inspiring atmosphere to be in. This is just one small way we can support UCP in all that they do for everyone. We hope that we can continue to participate in this great event yearly!

If you would like to support this team, click here to make a donation in Aeriana’s honor: https://fundraising.active.com/fundraiser/Ana_sAngels2.


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Your Rights Under FMLA to Care for an Adult Child with a Disability

Colleen2This week’s blog was written by Colleen Bennett, our Director of Human Resources. Colleen has been in the field for over 30 years and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources as well as the Society for Human Resource Management – Senior Certified Professional.



The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was passed in 1993, revised in 2009, and again in 2013.  Of all federal employment laws, FMLA is one of the most popular and beneficial to employees.

The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken the leave.  Eligible employees have the right to use FMLA leave in three different absence types:  continuous, intermittent, and reduced work schedule.  Leaves that are taken in separate blocks of time for a single, qualifying medical or family reason are called intermittent.  Eligible employees are entitled to a total of 12 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:

  1. the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
  2. the placement of a child for adoption or foster care within one year of placement;
  3. to care for the employee’s spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition;
  4. a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job; and
  5. any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty”.

A child under 18 years of age is a “son or daughter” under the FMLA without regard to whether or not the child has a disability. An eligible employee requesting FMLA leave to care for a son or daughter under 18 years of age only has to show a need to care for the child due to a serious health condition.   The FMLA definition of “son or daughter” also includes a child of a person standing in loco parentis meaning those with day-to-day responsibilities to care for or financially support a child.

In 2013, however, the Department of Labor (DOL) determined that additional guidance was needed regarding the definition of “son or daughter” as it applies to an employee seeking to take leave for a son or daughter with a disability who is 18 years of age or older. This 2013 Administrator’s Interpretation provides guidance on the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (“ADAAA”) on a parent’s ability to take FMLA leave to care for an adult son or daughter with a disability.

In order to meet this FMLA definition of a “son or daughter,” an adult child must have a mental or physical disability and be incapable of self-care because of that disability. The FMLA regulations adopt the ADA’s definition of “disability” as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity as interpreted by the EEOC.  The FMLA regulations define “incapable of self-care because of mental or physical disability” to mean an adult son or daughter who “require active assistance or supervision to provide daily self-care in three or more of the ‘activities of daily living’ or ‘instrumental activities of daily living’.”

However, it is only when all four of the following requirements are met that an eligible employee is entitled to FMLA-protected leave to care for his or her adult son or daughter:

  1.  has a disability as defined by the ADA which substantially limit at least one major life activity;
  2. is incapable of self-care due to that disability;
  3. has a serious health condition; and
  4. is in need of care due to the serious health condition

The FMLA regulations require that the adult son or daughter with a disability must meet the four requirements at the time that FMLA leave is to commence.”  The regulations, however, do not explicitly address whether it is relevant if the disability occurs before or after the son or daughter turns 18 years old.  It is the DOL’s opinion that the age of the onset of the disability is irrelevant to the determination of whether an employee is entitled to exercise his or her FMLA rights to care for an adult son or daughter with a disability.

In addition, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the enforcement agency for the ADA, has broadly interpreted the ADAAA.  As a result, the DOL noted that under EEOC guidance, “Some impairments will virtually always qualify as disabilities because, by their very nature, they substantially limit at least one major life activity.” Impairments that “should easily be concluded” to be ADA disabilities include deafness, blindness, intellectual disability, missing limbs, mobility impairments requiring the use of a wheelchair, autism, cancer, cerebral palsy, diabetes, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, human immunodeficiency virus infection, muscular dystrophy, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and schizophrenia.

The DOL summarized, “The ADAAA’s expanded definition of the term ‘disability’ will enable more parents to take FMLA-protected leave to care for their adult sons and daughters with disabilities provided that such adult children are incapable of self-care due to their disability and their parents are needed to care for them due to their serious health condition.”

Source:  Department of Labor, www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/adultchildfaqs.htm

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Get Involved with the Race to Empower 5k and One Mile Fun Run on May 3, 2015!

Race to Empower Collage

One month from today on Sunday, May 1, UCP of Greater Cleveland will hold its fourth annual Race to Empower 5k and One Mile Fun Run, presented by Medical Mutual! We invite everyone to support UCP in the way that best suits them – whether that be by racing or fundraising. We hope to see you all on May 1st!


The race will start and end at UCP of Greater Cleveland’s Headquarters (10011 Euclid Avenue) after passing along the edge of University Circle through Rockefeller Park and the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. The Race to Empower strives to be an all-inclusive race, which is why we offer both a 5k and One Mile option. As a racer, not only will you be able to achieve your own personal goals, but you will also be helping to increase awareness for UCP of Greater Cleveland and the 1,000 individuals we serve every year. All paid participants who register by April 15th will receive a customized Race to Empower long sleeve t-shirt. To register, go to www.hermescleveland.com/roadracing/events/empower.asp.

  • Pre-Registration -$25
    • Mail-in entries must be received by Wednesday, April 27
    • Online Registration closes at 9:00 AM on Friday, April 29
  • Race Day Registration – $30 (cash/check only)
  • Kids under the age of 10 are FREE


Our Race to Empower fundraising goal this year is $33,000! Anyone can fundraise regardless of whether or not they are racing. All dollars raised will directly benefit over 1,000 individuals and families right here in Northeast Ohio. To create your own fundraising page, go to https://fundraising.active.com/event/RacetoEmpower2016 and click “Become a Fundraiser – Register Now” near the top right of the page. You can include your personal fundraising page in email blasts, on your Facebook page or other social media websites. All of your efforts will help bring us one step closer to our fundraising finish line! If you need assistance setting up a fundraising page or developing a fundraising strategy, please do not hesitate to ask us for help. You can call or email Emily Hastings at 216-453-4944 or ehastings@ucpcleveland.org with any questions or concerns.


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