by Bill Baccaglini
Originally published: May 31, 2017
Employment rates for people with disabilities have not significantly improved since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed nearly 20 years ago. Of the estimated 54 million Americans living with a disability, 20 percent are employed or seeking employment, compared to almost 70 percent of Americans without a disability. These low employment outcomes belie the fact that the majority of people with disabilities want to work.
The New York Foundling has a Community Prevocational Program that helps individuals with developmental disabilities find employment by starting with volunteer work that provides hands-on experience and the chance to discover the type of career they want to pursue in the long-run. Many of these individuals lack job experience so programs like ours help these individuals build their resumes.
Desiree and Nancy, two women who live in a residential home managed by The Foundling, recently completed their requisite amount of volunteer hours and are now applying for an employment training program to help them secure a full-time job. Desiree has a passion for helping children and volunteers at a clinic—her co-workers find Desiree to be accommodating, supportive, and always eager and excited to take on new challenges. Nancy volunteers at the same clinic and helps the secretary with filing paperwork and distributing mail.