In the summer of 2018, thanks to the generous support of the Covenant Foundation, I began identifying innovative job sites—across industries and across the country—which are providing training and meaningful work for people with disabilities.
In the coming months, I will be sharing detailed descriptions of the places I have visited. The goal is to help people with disabilities, parents and employers learn what is currently available and to help generate new ideas for creative employment opportunities.
I have started a list of innovative job sites and training programs (across the United States and Canada, and around the world) for young adults with disabilities. I learned that many were started by parents who were feeling “desperate” about the future of their young adult children (ages 18-21 and beyond) as they graduated high school and faced the prospect of a lifetime of unemployment or underemployment.
When I started this project, I had planned to only visit job sites (across the United States, across industries) which were started by parents for their children and for other young adults with similar disabilities. Through site visits across the country over the past few months, my area of focus has expanded; I have discovered that there are many important “players” working in this space of creative employment opportunities and training for people with disabilities. They include employers—ranging from individuals and small business owners to large corporations, individuals, organizations and foundations.
I have therefore begun to engage and meet with some of them, with the hope they will be useful partners as this project ideally grows and expands in to a Phase II and potentially on ongoing website/resource in the area of disabilities training and employment.
I look forward to soon sharing summaries of visits with a presentation of lessons learned and challenges faced. Here is a list of programs I have visited to date:
|Big Al’s Best||Milpitas, CA|
|Smiling with Hope Pizza||Reno, NV|
|Girl Again-American Girl Dolls||White Plains, NY|
|Soul Cafe/Soul Center||West Bloomfield (Detroit), MI|
|Luv Michael||Long Island City, NY|
|Spectrum Design||Port Washington, NY|
|John’s Crazy Socks||Melville, NY|
|Words Bookstore||Maplewood, NJ|
|Purely Patrick||Stowe, VT|
|Rising Tide Car Wash||Margate, FL|
|Joy Dew Foundation||Midland Park, NJ|
|Zab’s Place||Charlotte, NC|
|Vertical Harvest||Jackson, WY|
|Blue Star Recycling||Boulder, Denver and Colorado Springs, CO|
|Gleam Car Wash||Denver, CO|
|DIRT Café||Littleton, CO|
|Popcorn for the People||Piscataway, NJ|
|Lillian’s Café||West Nyack, NY|
|Perkiomen Valley Brewery||Green Lane, PA|