Mark Hassemer

Dear Friends of ACT,

I have a positive feeling lately of change, energy, and anticipation at ACT. I hope it’s just not me! I know it’s not.

Certainly the construction in our building contributes to the feeling.

A couple weeks ago we started renovations to our building at 2200 Burlington Street. We’ve been in this space since October, 1989. It has served us well. But it was time to make some changes.

Last year we closed our facility-based work program (recycling). Although it was a difficult process, the time was right and the change was right. Now there’s no looking back. It’s onward and upward for ACT Career Services and its job seekers who are making their preparations for community-based jobs, not here, but in the community.

We are changing some of the space that was used for the recycling program and we’re making smaller rooms for our Day Program. This building is simply a home base for the Day Program now. Time spent in the community continues to ramp up.

Some offices will also be located in this space.

We are changing a couple of the offices for our business and human resources staff. Some doors are being moved to improve efficiency. These may seem like minor changes, but we expect big results and a better working environment for all.

The training center will relocate from across the street to our main building. And we’ll be adding a smart board and numerous laptops. We have added a new Training Coordinator position to the Board-approved budget for fiscal year 2018, which begins July 1st. An emphasis on training is critical to what we do.

One of our Directors, Jessica Mahon, will also begin monitoring quality metrics across all programs in addition to her current duties overseeing employment services. That focus will be on performance measurement, management, and improvement. This is a renewed and bolstered commitment to improving the outcomes of our services.

New levels of creativity are evident all around me. You’ve read about the Day Program’s expansion into evening and weekend services. It’s just one example. The response has been outstanding!

Our human resources staff continues to explore new ways to attract and retain high quality employees. The business office just finished the first year with new fund accounting software. Although these are not direct services to individuals, they contribute to the positive energy and favorable culture I feel.

We’ve had a good year financially. We’ll share the benefits of that with all staff. As I told them in a letter I sent recently, they remain our greatest asset.

Our community living staff continue to provide exemplary services despite the need for more personnel. Direct support professionals are working overtime. Managers are picking up hours and filling in as needed. Whatever it takes to get the job done, these tremendous people are delivering. They continue to illustrate what a valuable asset we have in our employees.

We just received another three year accreditation from CARF. The creativity and effort that ACT employees brought to bear to prepare for the site visit and demonstrate our commitment to the highest standards of care were truly remarkable.

No doubt, challenges loom ahead. Uncertainty about Medicaid funding on the Federal level continues. There are budget concerns in Missouri.

But you know what? We’ve faced obstacles before, and we will again. What’s important is how we respond to what’s in front of us.

Until Next Month,

Mark