Skilled, committed, and valued employees are tough to find and keep. Individuals with disabilities are an undervalued resource of dedicated and successful colleagues. Transitions to Work is a high-quality supported employment program for young adults with disabilities and aims to create transformative culture change to engage the business community to employ individuals with disabilities.

The JCC Greater Boston, a member of the Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce, strongly supports diversity and inclusion as part of its mission, work, and programs. Tim Cornely, director of the member relations center, explains: “The word ‘community’ in the JCC Greater Boston name defines its mission, and the staff is proud that diversity and inclusion are embraced by its staff and members in its work and programs. An average of 2,000 individuals use the JCC Greater Boston each day.”

The JCC Greater Boston works with a few supported employment support programs, including Transitions to Work. Janis Robbins, coordinator of inclusion and support services, believes a key is to “put each individual in a position to succeed.” Zach Franco, a Transitions to Work graduate, has achieved that success. As health club attendant, Zack has mastered the organizational and cleanliness standards required to provide exceptional service to members. Zach loves his work, likes keeping things neat and clean, and “feels great working hard and earning a paycheck.” Cornely raves about the pride Zach takes in his work and his attention to detail: “Zach sets an example for all of the staff. Hiring Zach is a win-win for Zach and the JCC Greater Boston.”

Transitions to Work employer partners hire graduates and people of all abilities because it is good for business. Benefits to a company with inclusive hiring practices include:

    • Higher productivity: Employees with disabilities typically exhibit higher loyalty, lower turnover, and contribute to the collegiality of the workplace.
    • Increased market share: Individuals with disabilities and their families reflect an expanding customer base and are loyal patrons of companies that support inclusive hiring.
    • Expanded talent pool: Individuals with disabilities are an underused pool of talented, skilled, and qualified applicants. The unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities is roughly twice as high as the general population.
    • Public relations: Inclusive hiring positively impacts a company’s image.
    • Diversity and morale: All employees report a higher degree of workplace satisfaction when working in integrated teams.

Transitions to Work continues to connect with new employers to educate staff and management on inclusive hiring and building employer partnerships. Please let us know if you or someone you know might be interested in learning more about inclusive hiring or Transitions to Work.

Please visit Transitions to Work on Facebook or at cjp.org/transitionstowork. Transitions to Work is a collaboration among Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Jewish Vocational Service, and the Ruderman Family Foundation. Funding is provided by the Ruderman Family Foundation, Boston Public Schools, The Shapiro Family Foundation, The Liberty Mutual Foundation, and a grant through The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

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