Iowa's UCEDD Launches Updated Training Information Website

September 6, 2011

The "face" of the Iowa Training Consortium has had a recent "facelift." The disabilitytraining.org website, Iowa's online resource for training and information on disability topics, not only has a great new look, but also features a number of dynamic new tools and resources to reaffirm its role as a mainstay of disability information dissemination for the state.

Iowa's UCEDD launched the updated website, www.disabilitytraining.org, this past June, after a process of rethinking and reworking that included getting input from individuals with disabilities and their families, community partners and many other stakeholders, to make sure the revised site would meet their current and future needs.

The homepage of disabilitytraining.org (dto.org) now includes recent news items of state, regional and national significance, featured training opportunities, and access to a variety of current and archived newsletters. It also retains a link to the dto.org Calendar of trainings and events, which allows site visitors to submit training information directly to the site for posting. New links to Facebook and Twitter on the homepage create opportunities for using social media to spread the word about trainings and disability-related information.

Since the recent launch, analytics for the updated website show an increase in the number of visits to, and the length of stays on, the site, as well as the number of visits to other pages on the site. The most dramatic increase is the result of the new online "Contact Us" feature, which has generated as many inquiries since the June launch as were received in the entire past year.

The Iowa Training Consortium was established to support implementation of the Conner Consent Decree, issued in 1994 in response to a lawsuit (Conner v. Branstad), which challenged the state's institutionally-based model of service delivery for individuals with developmental disabilities. The dto.org website was developed to supplement implementation efforts of the Iowa Training Consortium. Still supported by "Conner funding" from the state, the disabilitytraining.org website continues to provide information to help build community capacity in the state in alignment with Olmstead principles and implementation.

Mary Hubbard, the librarian for Iowa's Disability Resource Library, and Mike Hoenig, a program coordinator at Iowa's UCEDD, continue to work together to keep the site up to date. They will also be involved in the second phase of the site revisions that will include enhancing the interactivity of the site, including a blog. Members of the AUCD national network who have questions or would like to learn more about the update process may get in touch with Mary, at mary-hubbard@uiowa.edu, or Mike, at michael-hoenig@uiowa.edu.

Visit the updated disabilitytraining.org at: www.disabilitytraining.org