A young woman at workThe Ruderman Family Foundation announced yesterday a major grant of $2.5 million to Combined Jewish Philantrhopies (CJP) of Boston to fund a new, groundbreaking program that places young adults with diabilities in jobs. The program, called Young Adult Transitions to Work, will provide job training, placement and ongoing support services for young adults with disabilities at Hebrew SeniorLife and other local employers in Boston. The program will be run by Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) as a part of CJP’s “Pathways” program for people with disabilities.

Young Adult Transitions to Work represents an innovative new approach to job placement for peoople with disabilities by partnering on a pilot project with Hebrew SeniorLife to identify jobs and develop customized training and support that match those positions. It also combines comprehensive training to fully integrate life, work readiness and vocational skills, and ongoing case management once individuals have been placed in jobs.

“There are some 25,000 disabled young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 in Boston’s Jewish community who are capable of working if jobs can be provided in conjunction with the right training and support,” said Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “Thanks to the forward-thinking leadership at Hebrew SeniorLife, we are able to target the right kind of training and support for available jobs, something that is entirely new. Jewish Vocational Services will provide classes, training specific to the jobs, and ongoing support. CJP will administer the program. It’s a testament to what partnerships between the private sector, non-profit word and advocacy community can achieve, and a real breakthrough for the disabled community.”

Jerry Rubin, president of Jewish Vocational Service, said, “This program is made possible by a unique combination of expertise and commitment that the disability community has not seen before. We are very excited to be a part of something that can transform the way that young adults with disabilities are given opportunities to lead rich and meaningful lives based on the benefits of work.”

“As one of the 40 largest employers in the Commonwealth, Hebrew SeniorLife has a proud history of leveraging the breadth of our job categories to give young adults with diabilities opportunities in the workplace,” said Len Fishman, CEO, Hebrew SeniorLife. “Through this experience, we’ve learned that young adults with disabilities are a natural fit with frail elders, which is supportive of our mission. We’re honored by The Ruderman Family Foundation’s deep generosity and commitment to the innovative programming represented by The Transitions to Work program and look forward to partnering with the Ruderman Foundation, JVS and CJP to bring it to fruition.”