';
Articles of Interest

Photo by Markus Winkler from Pexels

The Board of Directors of Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania is pleased to announce the hiring of a new President and Chief Executive Officer, Monique McIntosh. Monique becomes the eighth Goodwill SWPA Chief Executive since its founding in 1919.

Monique joins Goodwill SWPA from her most recent position as the Chief Program Officer of YWCA Greater Pittsburgh, where she has served in various leadership capacities, including Co-Interim Chief Executive Officer and Chief Administrative Officer. She currently manages organization programs and evaluation in her role as Chief Program Officer. Previous to her leadership of the YWCA, she served as Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh’s Vice President of Programs and Services. In each of these roles, she expanded the reach and effectiveness of the organization.

Monique is a member of The Forbes Fund Advisory Council and United Way of Southwestern PA Women’s Leadership Council Diversity Work Group. Monique serves on the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation Board, where she chairs the Development Committee and the Sixth Economic Empowerment Development Corporation Board. She also serves as an Advisory Committee member for the Homewood Community Development Collaborative and a Core Team member for the Homewood Comprehensive Community Plan, formally adopted into the city’s Comprehensive Plan. She is an Advisory Committee member for the University of Pittsburgh Community Engagement Center. Monique received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Education from Penn West California.

Monique succeeds Michael Smith, who retired last fall after serving as Goodwill SWPA’s President/CEO for 20 years. She will officially begin in her new role on March 1, 2023. Monique represents a considerable step forward for Goodwill SWPA and its commitment to integrating diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging into how they function, as the first woman and person of color to lead the organization.

Goodwill SWPA is a diversified nonprofit human service agency that serves southwestern Pennsylvania and north central West Virginia and manages several affiliate units and special-purpose entities, including Goodwill Commercial Services, Inc. and Mission Logistics, LLC. The agency operates 34 retail stores and several other businesses to help fund programs and to provide job training, education and related services to help people overcome employment barriers. The organization serves over 10,000 adults and youth annually while employing over 1,000 people with an annual budget of over $60 million.

PUBLISHED: 
NORRISTOWN — The Montgomery County Intermediate Unit has been awarded a $7.2 million four-year grant by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

This highly competitive Project AWARE grant, for which the intermediate unit will receive $1.8 million a year for four years, has only been awarded to approximately 20 entities across the United States.

Project AWARE is a nationwide grant created to develop a sustainable infrastructure for school-based mental health programs and services. The intermediate unit provides programs and services to Montgomery County school districts, career and technical schools, non-public schools and other organizations. Through its direct service to students, especially those most at risk, the intermediate unit has been able to identify ways to assist students and their families to navigate mental health supports and services.

“This grant award is a major recognition for the MCIU and reflects all the hard work and accomplishments of our MCIU employees in supporting students and families across the region,” Executive Director Regina Speaker said in a press release issued by the Intermediate Unit. “We appreciate the support of Senator Robert Casey and Congresswoman Madeleine Dean and many other partners, including the Pennsylvania Department of Education, for this grant project.”

The grant project will: expand suicide awareness training opportunities for students(K-12), implement a universal mental health screener to be utilized by school district or nonpublic school staff members and create an electronic data system to connect school mental health practitioners (e.g. psychologists, social workers and counselors) with community-based mental health providers that have immediate availability to support students in all levels of care (outpatient therapy to inpatient psychiatric care).

The MCIU is partnering with two other intermediate units on this project — Luzerne and Carbon-Lehigh County Intermediate Units — to proactively address students’ mental health needs.


RCPA recommends members in the Montgomery County region engage with the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit and local school districts for planning and discussions on how your continuum of services may benefit student mental health in the schools.

If you have further questions, please contact RCPA Children’s Mental Health Director Jim Sharp.

Workers Who Serve People With Disabilities Must Earn More
By Richard Edley, RCPA President/CEO
Read the print version in the Harrisburg Patriot-News, January 19, 2023

Providers who care for individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism (ID/A) are being pummeled by a workforce shortage driven by low wages and high vacancy and turnover rates.

RCPA partnered with The Arc of Pennsylvania and The Provider Alliance to have the Center for Healthcare Solutions examine the state’s ID/A workforce. The survey evaluated critical data on pay practices, hourly wages, scheduled positions, filled positions and separations for more than 9,000 employees representing 40 positions in 52 organizations.

The findings are stark.

Wages for direct support professionals who help ID/A children and adults with their basic daily living needs average $16.61 per hour, less than some fast-food restaurants. The turnover rate for DSPs is 38%, with providers reporting a vacancy rate of 28%. The numbers are similar for other residential and program supervisors.

The study also found that 14% of all DSP hours are paid at an overtime rate, and 41% of providers are now engaged in a more costly practice of contracting for staffing services to manage the workforce shortage.

Because human services like ID/A are funded primarily by Medicaid, providers cannot raise prices like private businesses to pay higher wages. So chronic underfunding by the state only
exacerbates these operational challenges.

ID/A providers simply do not have the staff they need to serve the thousands of Pennsylvanians receiving or waiting for critical services.

This is a system that is strained past its breaking point, and it needs our support now.