This month, we’ll mark several observances that relate to the populations we serve. Today, we’ll highlight the first one: National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.
“Ability at Work,” the 2014 theme for National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, encourages people to understand that when individuals with disabilities are welcomed into local workplaces, neighborhoods and schools, everyone benefits.
Goodwill provides training and placement services to individuals with developmental disabilities. Our Supported Employment Program offers specialized service through the Employment Training Program. It is designed to help find jobs for persons with Intellectual and Developmental disabilities.
The Employment program has three components: discovery, to help qualified individuals (interns) find out the type of work they might want to get. Job development, to seek potential job openings. And job coaching, to help workers maintain their job.
The internships average 6 months to give the business an opportunity to closely work with the person with disabilities and to give them time to learn and grow into the job.
Individuals like Chshone Bailey, who came to Goodwill at age 21 after edging out of an occupational training center. Through Goodwill, Chshone obtained his first job at the maintenance department at The Gap. Thanks to this first job, he could afford to rent his own studio apartment. He also became active in different disability advocacy groups.
But when he approached age 40, Chshone decided to search for his dream job: a position in a restaurant. With intensive job coaching from Goodwill’s Employment Training Program, Chshone landed his first work experience at the Bronx Zoo Café.
After working at the Dancing Crane Cafe for the entire season, from March to November 2013, Chshone was placed at Irving Farms in Manhattan. For now, he is washing dishes and doing porter work, while learning to mix beverages on Mondays and keeping a few hours at his old job at The Gap. He has the opportunity to observe the chef and will eventually learn food preparation. The last frontier in his new career!
In future posts, we’ll feature other programs related to other March observances:
Women’s History Month
National Social Work Month
National Brain Injury Awareness Month
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