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Baltimore County Now - News You Can Use

Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: disabilities

jigsaw puzzle piece printed with Lynn McCamie, Conference Chair and Manager, Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, Baltimore County Department of Aging

One of the important trends in health care and human services is the empowerment of the individual.   Increasingly, we have opportunities to take charge of our health care, our careers and our finances, rather than allowing the “experts” to dictate our choices. 

How can we bring empowerment to seniors and people with disabilities? 

Teaching individuals to advocate for themselves is an important way to ensure that consumers can be in charge of their lives.  Social workers, case managers and other professionals can support consumers to identify their strengths and take charge of their lives rather than “doing for” them. What a refreshing change!

Whether you are a professional, a consumer or a citizen with a passion for social change, the tools you need to empower yourself or others include legislative advocacy, knowledge of the legal system, techniques to avoid fraud and scams, and hands-on tips from consumers who have transformed their lives. 

Learn all of this and more at the 12th Annual Advocacy Conference “Learning from the Leaders: Models of Advocacy for Older Adults and People with Disabilities.”   The conference will be held on November 13, 8:00 a.m. -4:00 p.m., at the Hunt Valley Inn at Cockeysville. This dynamic day, presented by the Baltimore County Consortium for Professional Education in the Field of Aging, offers cutting-edge presentations on topics that will equip professionals for the future. Along with the featured sessions the conference will offer a 3 hour ethics session, “Dignity of Risk; Balancing Safety and Personal Choices,” which meets the social work requirement for ethics CEUs.  The entire conference offers 5 Category I CEUs for social workers. Registration is $65.  For day’s agenda and registration form, go to

 http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/aging/advocacyconference.html, or call 410-887-4200.

Take a welcome break, earn CEUs and learn about advocacy from inspiring leaders! Hope to see you there.


photo of Acadia Windows manufacturing plantRick Johnson,
Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development

Since the days of aluminum storm windows in 1947, Acadia Windows & Doors has manufactured commercial and residential windows and doors in Rosedale. Skilled workers turn large sheets of glass, saws, and presses into energy efficient vinyl products engineered for maximum durability. Acadia’s products benefit from proprietary engineering, high tech equipment, and lean (and green) manufacturing processes. Today, Acadia is recognized as one of the East Coast’s major manufacturers of new and replacement windows and doors.

Since 2005, Acadia has worked closely with the Arc Northern Chesapeake Region (The Arc NCR) to provide employment opportunities to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Acadia has hired nine employees from The Arc NCR with great success.  "We didn’t partner with The Arc NCR to be altruistic; we partnered with them because it makes sense as a business decision,” said Acadia’s Vice President of Manufacturing Neill Christopher. “This is a great pool of workers.”

Arc NCR workers have made a difference on the manufacturing floor, performing tasks that resulted in production line improvements for the company.  Arc NCR workers earn the same wages as people without disabilities doing the same job, and interact with their peers at the company in an integrated work environment.

“We had a great deal of trepidation when The Arc NCR first approached us,” continued Christopher. “This is a manufacturing environment, with large sheets of glass, saws and presses, all capable of inflicting serious injury.  What we learned is that everything that we did to make things safer for our team members from The Arc NCR made it safer for everyone else as well.  We’re an OSHA SHARP site; proud of our safety record while striving to always make our facility safer for all who work or visit here."

Acadia's success story with Arc was so impressive, the company was asked to join a panel at a National Governors Association meeting to discuss their experience in the field of disability employment.

When disabilities are not barriers, everyone wins.


photo of man caulking windowNkechi Animashaun, Baltimore County Department of Planning

It can be a real catch-22 -  you can’t afford high energy bills, and can’t afford to weatherize your home. Low-income households can reduce their energy costs with help from a Baltimore County program that helps pay for home weatherproofing and insulation. New doors, windows, siding, and insulation repairs and installation can help weatherize homes, cut energy costs for residents, and improve the environment by using less energy.     

Funds are available to low-income homeowners and renters, with priority given to homeowners, elderly and disabled people, families with children, and households with high energy use. Eligible applicants must first meet income requirements set by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.

The Weatherization Assistance Program is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The Baltimore County Department of Planning, Division of Neighborhood Improvement administers the program in the County. 

To be considered for the weatherization program, an applicant must be at least 18 years old and a Baltimore County resident living in a property located in Baltimore County. The applicant will be asked to provide proof of identity, the names and income of all householders, as well as proof of residency.  Prospective applicants that currently rent can initiate the process, but must have the landlord’s approval and all supporting documents to complete the application process.  Once an application is complete, a certified energy auditor will assess the property for the most efficient way to conserve energy and apply energy saving techniques.

The Weatherization Assistance Program helps homeowners who need some extra financial help weatherproofing their homes. We all benefit when every home uses less energy.

More information and an application is available on the Office of Planning’s Housing Opportunities web page.  


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