JF&CS Employment Services is built around the idea of supporting and creating meaningful, fulfilling work opportunities for adults with disabilities. For John Wills, director of Employment Services, the fact that the program covers the “entire gambit” sets the program apart from others. The program supports both potential employees and employers in meaningful relationships, from start to finish.
A recent partnership between Employment Services and Bright Horizons provided Brad*, a young adult with a cognitive disability, with an opportunity for such employment.
A Continuum of Services for Adults With Disabilities
Brad utilized the continuum of services, and like many other participants in these programs, he was set up for success in the workplace. For partner organizations, such as Bright Horizons, hiring an Employment Services’ client means creating a more diverse and accepting workplace. Employment Services works to nurture the skills of each person we work with, encourage their participation in the community, and ultimately find them a role that matches their social abilities and skills. JF&CS offers different types of Day Programming and Employment Services for adults with disabilities. Participants often split their time between multiple programs or grow from one opportunity to another. CHAI Works is a licensed and certified community-based day program, providing holistic approaches to learning skills through volunteering and recreation. Employment Services provides person-centered assistance for independent competitive employment.
A Commitment to Inclusion at Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons, a leading provider of employer-sponsored child care, education and work/life solutions, seemed like a natural fit for Employment Services. Stephen Kramer, CEO of Bright Horizons, has welcomed the new partnership with open arms.
“We have the great fortune to work with Jewish Family & Children’s Service to provide work opportunities for their clients while also helping us to fill important staffing needs at Bright Horizons,” shared Stephen. “JF&CS does more than make a match. They provide employment specialists on-site to help ensure a successful experience for everyone. Our partnership has helped enrich our workforce and plays a valuable role in helping Bright Horizons achieve our mission and commitment to diversity and inclusion.”
Supporting the Transition to Employment
A job was created for Brad at Bright Horizons through a process known as job carving: job responsibilities were taken from several individuals to lighten their loads, creating a regular job that Brad could take on. Once the position was fully developed, John sat down with the core team at Bright Horizons for a training, taking the time to answer any questions they had about the opportunity. Together, the team reviewed disability etiquette, as well as strategies for working directly with Brad.
Brad’s employment specialist provided job coaching each step of the way, from being a resource during the job interview process to attending training together. Brad’s employment specialist came with him to each day of work for his first few weeks, offering emotional and strategic support in the new environment. Now that Brad has worked at Bright Horizons for almost a month, his employment specialist no longer attends work with him each day.
Employment Services knows that transitions can be tough—this is why the same support staff is assigned to help an individual find a job and support the individual when they start a new job. This relationship-based approach is important. “Once the trust is there, the process of finding a good and realistic job and supporting an individual through their job is organic,” said John. Brad’s employment specialist played a crucial role in the transition to employment.
Finding the Right Fit
Most participants are attracted to our services because of the distinctive approach to employment. As John described it, “We have a few approaches to employment services, all of which are lifespan support. We don’t find someone any job that is open and send them on their way with a wave of ‘good luck!’ We make sure the job works and continues to work.” It’s this type of support, coupled with the supportive environment of Bright Horizons, that makes this partnership work.
For more information about our job matching resources for adults with disabilities, visit our Employment Services page.
*Name changed to protect privacy.
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