Gabe Flam, Ben Winnick, Shalom Lowell, Michael Glickman, Dmitriy Melikhov and Joseph McNamara led Governor Deval Patrick and a crowd of nearly 100 guests on a tour of Hebrew SeniorLife’s Newbridge on the Charles facility earlier this week. That six young men led this intimidating entourage through an engaging and flawless tour was impressive on its own merits. That all six individuals have disabilities is testament to their skills, poise and determination to succeed.
The tour was in honor of the completion of the first class of the JVS Transitions to Work Program. In partnership with CJP and The Ruderman Family Foundation, Transitions expands employment opportunities for young adults with disabilities within the Jewish Community by developing strong partnerships with area employers. This unique employer-directed approach ensures that training is relevant to actual jobs that are currently available at area employers, greatly increasing the likelihood of placement. Candidates participate in job skill training at employer sites, leading to internships and work experiences that increase employment opportunities. By bringing participants to the employer site, the program shows employers the advantages of hiring a diverse workforce and understanding the abilities that these individuals possess.
Individuals with disabilities are two to three times more likely to be unemployed than others of working age. In a difficult job market, such as the one we’ve experienced for the past four years, disabled individuals, who want to work, deserve the opportunity to work, and have enormous talent to contribute, are too often shut out of opportunities. JVS has committed itself to removing barriers to employment and economic success for individuals with disabilities since 1938, just as we have removed all kinds of barriers such as language, education, and self-confidence. Transitions To Work is an important new chapter in that quest.