For Immediate Release - December 16, 2013


Grant funding awarded to local and regional organizations to provide more than 160 individuals with disabilities with sustainable employment

BOSTON – Monday, December 16, 2013 – Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) Secretary Joanne F. Goldstein today announced that $1.7 million in state funding will be dedicated to placing more than 160 individuals with disabilities in stable employment opportunities across the Commonwealth.

“Everyone deserves the opportunity to have a good job where they earn fair wages,” said Secretary Goldstein. “We are partnering with these particular organizations across the Commonwealth to ensure individuals with disabilities have the access and opportunity to workforce training and gain stable employment.”

Nancy Snyder, President of EOLWD’s Commonwealth Corporation, detailed aspects of the employment program at Employment Options in Marlboro, one of the seven lead grant recipients, and was joined by Rosalie Edes, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Disability Policies and Programs at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, as well as elected officials, workforce organizations and advocates.

“The Patrick Administration is committed to the Community First principles of providing opportunities for individuals with all types of disabilities to live self-sufficiently in their communities,” said Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz. “By meaningfully engaging the business community and partnering with local companies, we can promote increased integration, improved wages and benefits, and greater independence for people with disabilities. This also provides the private sector with the benefits of a motivated and diversified workforce.”

This new round of funding continues the Patrick Administration’s targeted investments to provide the services and supports to make the Community First principles a reality by developing more appropriate job training, internships and placements that prepare individuals to be gainfully employed, and to maintain employment in their community. In January 2007, Governor Deval Patrick issued Executive Order No. 478, which established a state Model Employer program, which promotes the hiring, promotion and retention of people with disabilities in the Commonwealth’s workforce.

Continuing to advance this commitment, the seven grant recipients will work collaboratively with Commonwealth Corporation and in partnership with surrounding communities to place more than 160 individuals with disabilities in sustainable employment. Through this employment initiative, Commonwealth Corporation will provide program oversight, support and technical assistance to the selected organizations so that they can improve the economic status and self-sufficiency of the targeted individuals. The grant funding is will support the training for unemployed or underemployed residents, 18 years or older, with a physical or mental disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  These grants will continue to put Massachusetts ahead of the national average for employment of people with intellectual disabilities, and in the top 20 among all states. 

Grantees were required to work collaboratively with local employers to further ensure successful placement of targets individuals. These employers are committed to the shared goal of meaningful and sustainable employment for this population. 

“By including businesses in these partnerships that will train and place individuals with disabilities, we are ensuring that there are real jobs at the end of the training program,” said Nancy Snyder, President of Commonwealth Corporation.

The seven grant recipients, awarded amount and proposals include:

Bristol Workforce Investment Board, $250,000

Municipalities: Fall River, Taunton, Attleboro, Berkley, Dighton, Norton, North Attleboro, Mansfield, Rehoboth, Raynham, Seekonk, Somerset, Swansea, and Westport

The Bristol Training and Employment Partnership, comprised of the Bristol Workforce Investment Board, Career Centers of Bristol County, Bristol Community College, local employers, disability service agencies, and the Fall River Veterans Service Office, will provide targeted employment and training services to unemployed and underemployed individuals with disabilities. Based out of the One-Stop Career Centers of Bristol County, primary grant activities will include coordinated assessments, case management, occupational training, job readiness, job placement and employment retention activities provided by a broad and diverse partnership.  Furthermore, customer service training with a concentration on health care and human service settings will be provided by Bristol Community College. The program will serve 43 unemployed individuals with disabilities with the goal of 21 obtaining jobs.

“The Bristol Workforce Investment Board looks forward to leading the Bristol Training and Employment Partnership which will provide targeted workforce development services to individuals with disabilities,” said Thomas Perreira, Executive Director. “A total of 15 organizations have come together with a common goal of maximizing the ability of program participants to gain occupational skills and move along a path toward meaningful employment opportunities. Through a coordinated approach, this grant initiative will have a major impact on the array of services available to job seekers within the target population and ensure that a significant number of individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to attain their employment and career goals.”

Career Resources Corporation, $221,713

Municipalities: Haverhill, Lawrence, Methuen, Amesbury, Groveland, Merrimac, Andover, North Andover, Newburyport, Rowley, Salisbury, Boxford, Newbury, and West Newbury

Career Resources Corporation (CRC), in partnership with the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center (VNEOC), will offer a comprehensive vocational services program for disabled veterans in the Merrimack Valley. CRC plans to expand a pilot program first formed with VNEOC in 2011 to provide vocational services to veterans with significant barriers to employment, understanding the enormous need to support this population. Training and one-on-one support to develop employment skills will ensure that jobs are more accessible to this population, as well as sustainable. Through this expanded program, 50 individuals with disabilities will be served with the goal of 20 obtaining jobs.

“Career Resources Corporation’s Disabled Veterans Employment Program will provide vocational services, counseling and support to veterans with significant barriers to employment, which include physical and intellectual disabilities, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Brain Trauma,” said Director of Employment Services Betty Kirk. “Our goal is to help these veterans become as self-sufficient, self-determining and as successful as possible by providing them with the skills and support they need to obtain and retain employment in the community. In collaboration with the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center, ValleyWorks Career Center and the City of Haverhill, this project will provide all the necessary resources to help ensure the success of each program participant. We take great pride in serving those who have so selflessly served our country.”

Community Works Services, $238,000

Municipalities: Boston

Funding for this initiative will support Community Work Services’ (CWS) effort to support Employment Options for Individuals with Different Abilities (EOIDA), designed to address the skill development and support needs of people with disabilities to ensure their successful transition to work.  EOIDA offers different paths to employment based on skills, developmental and support needs, including different level options for the hospitality and service industries that involve a mix of on-the-job training and classroom instruction. The project has also engaged numerous employers from Boston’s hospitality and service industries to participate in the design and delivery of services, provide transitional job opportunities when applicable and potentially hire successful graduates. Through this program, Community Work Services’ plans to serve 50 individuals with disabilities with the goal of 28 obtaining jobs.

“Community Work Services, with our dedicated hotel and restaurant partners, is truly excited to launch Employment Options which will assist people with disabilities to access careers in Boston's thriving hospitality industry,” said Serena Powell, President of Community Work Services. “With several training options, participants will be able to decide which options they want to pursue and engage in a mix of industry specific training, hands-on experiences as well as employer sponsored internship opportunities.  The program really focuses on the individual and offering them the training and supports that are going to help them be the most successful in their chosen career path.”

Employment Options, Inc., $230,000

Municipalities: Ashland, Clinton, Dover, Framingham, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hudson, Marlborough, Natick, Northborough, Sherborn, Southborough, Sudbury, Wayland, Westborough, and Worcester

Employment Options, Inc. will launch a new employment program, Cooking and Cleaning Up a Career, which will prepare, support, and place unemployed and underemployed individuals with disabilities into quality jobs. The organization will build on the success of the agency’s current social enterprises, Catering and Cleaning Options, in order to expand job training activities and increase placements in the growing industries of hospitality, culinary, maintenance and janitorial sectors. Through this initiative, 40 individuals with disabilities will be served with the goal of 30 obtaining jobs.

“Employment Options is thrilled to be supported by the Commonwealth Corporation and expand job training and placement for individuals in mental health recovery within two industries; hospitality and janitorial,” said Toni Wolf, Executive Director.  “We are also grateful to have such partners as the Greater Marlborough Chamber of Commerce, Bridge of Central Massachusetts, Quinsigamond Community College, Partnership for a Skilled Workforce and Advanced Math and Science Academy. It takes partnerships and community employers to address sustainable employment for individuals with disabilities.”

Human Resources Unlimited, $244,426

Municipalities: Springfield, Pittsfield, Westfield, Northampton, and surrounding communities

With this funding, Human Resources Unlimited plans to move forward with a new program called “Changing Habits Transforming Lives” (CHTL), which will incorporate the current approaches utilized by the organization including assessments, career plans and relationship building and add physical exercise and a new, specifically designed curriculum based on active learning and the development of soft skills. The fifteen week program takes a holistic approach to job readiness by integrating exercise, active learning and health and nutrition as vital parts of the curriculum. This program will serve 54 individuals with disabilities with the goal of 23 obtaining jobs.

"As a result of the grant award, Human Resources Unlimited will be able to expand our employment program for individuals with disabilities, Move to WorkMove to Work is a holistic program that prepares chronically unemployed individuals with disabilities for employment stability and eventual self-sufficiency," said Gregg Thompson. "The program assists them in developing job readiness skills and healthy lifestyle habits - ultimately helping them find and maintain employment. We are excited about the opportunity to expand our Move to Work program.  As a result of the grant we will be able to offer several additional program cycles – positively impacting over 70 individuals with disabilities."

Jewish Vocational Service, $250,000

Municipalities: Cities and towns in Greater Boston

With this funding, Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) will help expand its Transitions to Work program to prepare young people with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 35 throughout Greater Boston to enter competitive employment with JVS employer partners, including CVS, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Hebrew Senior Life and Whitsun’s Culinary Group. Transitions to Work is an innovative model for connecting a higher number of young adults across the spectrum of disabilities to meaningful employment opportunities with career pathways. The program addresses participants’ lack of experience and job skills by ensuring they develop the same core skills required by employers and demonstrated by successful job candidates, as well as the additional job-specific skills needed for targeted positions. This program will serve 26 individuals with disabilities with the goal of 16 obtaining jobs.

“JVS, our employer training partners, CVS Pharmacy, Hebrew Senior Life, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Whitsons, and the nearly twenty employers that hire the graduates of Transitions to Work, are thrilled to have the opportunity to expand this innovative and highly effective model of competitive employment,” said President and CEO Jerry Rubin. “At a time when individuals with disabilities face unemployment two to three times the average rate, models like Transitions to Work, which trains and places young adults with some of the leading employers in Massachusetts, is critically important to the Commonwealth’s goal of including everyone in our growing economy.”

Triangle, $250,000

Municipalities: Malden, Medford, Everett, Chelsea, Revere, Somerville, Cambridge, Woburn, Saugus, Lynn, Melrose, Wakefield, and Winthrop

The Metro North Partnership for Economic Improvement and Emerging Employees in Allied Health Care and Hospitality (MNP) is a two-year initiative that will be led by Triangle to increase the employment options of and decrease the barriers to viable career pathways for individuals with a range of disabilities, many of whom are from under-served communities and identify with racial/ethnic and linguistic minority backgrounds. This project is a replicable model that will serve both transition-aged students with disabilities as they prepare to leave high school and adults with disabilities re-entering the workforce. The program will serve 50 individuals with disabilities with the goal of 30 obtaining jobs.

“We at Triangle are eager to partner with the Commonwealth Corporation and our invaluable collaborators to help youth and adults with disabilities thrive in careers in healthcare and hospitality,” said CEO Michael Rodrigues. “We are confident that the Metro North Partnership for Economic Improvement will equip individuals with the credentials required to establish successful career paths and enjoy more independent, dignified lives in their local communities.”

To learn more about the Commonwealth Corporation’s Employment Programs for Special Target Populations, please visit here.

To learn more about resources available to support people with disabilities, please visit here.