Educational Programs Inspiring Communities, Inc. — Enabling Technologies

Enabling Technologies

HEART Program participant with an iPad using HEART applicaiton to track inventory
Adrianne Clark checks the inventory and restocks a vending machine with the help of an iPad app.

  • Impact
    • 28 individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) became employed during Super Bowl LI
    • Over 150 concession services per year at Houston area venues used the HITS app
    • Participants were able to earn at least a minimum wage for hours worked
    • The majority of the participants did not previously know how to use an iPad and now are more technologically proficient
    • Participants used the technology to count inventory, work with vending machines, work in concession stands, and work with Papa John’s Pizza
    • After Hurricane Harvey, workers made 1,000 pizzas each night for 3 nights at the Houston stadium for those sheltered there.

Statewide Need
Technology can improve quality of life and productivity for all. Many “quality of life” tools for people with DD are generic and widely used by consumers who don’t have disabilities. With adaptations and marketing, technology designed for non-disability uses might assist people with disabilities. Although financial benefit exists for companies to ensure technology also appeals to people with DD, they often aren’t considered a target market, and their needs aren’t fully considered. To stay competitive, companies may change their development and collaboration processes, so products are designed and marketed for people with DD and the general public. Funding is intended to demonstrate and publicize how technology can help more people with DD and to support organizations and businesses to explore how collaboration between tech companies and people with DD might increase the level of creativity involved in design and marketing of technology.

Project Goal
Create an interactive mobile application to promote competitive employment opportunities in inventory, requisitions, shipping and receiving, and similar jobs for adults with DD.

Project Summary
“Working with HEART” was designed to create new applications and acquire technology to demonstrate that people with DD can maintain competitive employment with new supports.  This was accomplished through the creation of two new customized iPad apps (HITS and i4me) and resulted in 28 individuals with DD becoming employed during Super Bowl LI, held Feb 2017 in Houston, TX.

The project was a collaboration between non-profit, Educational Programs Inspiring Communities, Inc., their H.E.A.R.T. program, and a private technology partner, Blue Lance Group. The non-profit became more knowledgeable about technology and the private partner became more knowledgeable about working with people with DD. The HITS and i4me apps were designed, developed, tested, and implemented.

Project Period
Apr 2012 – May 2017

6717 Stuebner Airline Rd. Ste 207
Houston, Texas 77091

Geographic Reach
Harris County

shape of state of Texas in blue with Harris County colored orange