From Internship to Employment: A Project SEARCH Success!

Project SEARCH is a business-led transition-to-work program that provides internships to high school students with disabilities. The program was designed to prepare young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities for completive employment in integrated work settings. Fore more than 22 years Project SEARCH has supported thousands of students nationwide and now operates more than 400 locations in six countries, including right here in Prince George’s County!

The Arc Prince George’s operates the only Project SEARCH program in the county in partnership with Prince George’s County Public Schools, The Maryland Department of Rehabilitative Services (DORS), The Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) and our 2017 Host site Joint Base Andrews.

Our 2017 Project SEARCH Program featured a 10-month internship rotation program for students with disabilities that combined classroom learning and hands-on work experience through internship rotations throughout Joint Base Andrews.

Jamal Partman of Joint Base Andrews (Left) and Julian Thomas (right)

The combination of instruction and immersion helped prepare the student-interns with skills that match labor needs in today’s integrated workforce. 2017 Project SEARCH graduate Julian Thomas interned at Joint Base Andrews’ Outdoor Recreation Department (ODR) and was offered employment at ODR after graduating the program. Julian’s supervisor Jamal Partman sat down with our Project SEARCH coordinator Eugenia Ebb to share his thoughts about the program and his newest hire.

How did The Arc help you on-board your new employee?

“The Arc provided  a lot of information that was useful in getting to know Julian. Things that Julian might not have seen about himself from his perspective. I  believe [The Arc] did a great job of being hands-on but not too much to the point where Julian was solely relying on The Arc to provide all communication. [The Arc] really allowed Julian to be more mature and independent.”

What training/skills did Julian come to the position with?

“Julian cam with the enthusiasm it takes to work at Outdoor Recreation (ODR). ODR deals with customers on a daily basis. It is not always easy in customer service and so you need the right mindset every day, Monday through Saturday. Julian came in with the right attitude. Also being physically able to move equipment from area to area was a good skill that Julian cam on-board with. To work at ODR you have to lift at least 50lbs, he fit right in.”

What was the biggest challenge you faced in hiring someone with a disability?

“I think the biggest challenge for me personally was making sure that I never excluded Julian from a task. I can only speak for myself but I never wanted him to feel like he couldn’t do something. Even if it was obviously a difficult task, we wanted to pair him up with someone capable so that if he couldn’t do it alone, we would have someone to help him get the job done. Julian, just like any other employee, deserves a chance at learning, growing and developing a new skill.”


Julian’s success is a direct result of his desire and determination to find fulfilling employment. With the support of The Arc’s Employment Services Team ,our expertise at matching the right candidates with the right jobs, and our partners like Joint Base Andrews, Julian is excelling at his job and making an impact. As we prepare for our 2018 Project SEARCH year, we need more partners like YOU to help give students with disabilities the opportunity to learn, grow and develop their competitive employment skills. Join us throughout October as we celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month with information, events and opportunities for your organization to get involved.

 

Interested in learning more about Project SEARCH?

Contact Project SEARCH Business Liaison Eugenia Ebb at EEbb@thearcofpgc.org or 301-925-7050 x 242

Interested in Hiring our Workforce?

Complete the below form or contact Director of Workforce Development Ciara Hosein
CHosein@thearcofpgc.org or  240-532-6005 x 9

Job Seekers: Download our Employment Services Brochure HERE
Employers: Download our Employer Brochure HERE

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EmployAbility: People with Disabilities in STEM Careers

In the past, disabilities have been seen as limiting, however, according to the National Science Foundation’s 2017 report: Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science, and Engineering, about 1 in 9 scientists and engineers under the age of 75 has a disability.

With advances in training and assistive technology people with disabilities are pursuing and excelling in exciting science and technology careers.

According to the Economics & Statistics Administration, “Science, technology, engineering and mathematics workers drive our nation’s innovation and competitiveness by generating new ideas, new companies and new industries. However U.S. businesses frequently voice concerns over the supply and availability of STEM workers.”

The Arc Prince George’s County provides technology training ranging from Microsoft office suite to more in-depth computer and office programs based on candidate skills and employer needs. Our staff works with both our employment partners seeking to hire, and our candidates seeking jobs, to create training programs that provide and enhance competitive employment skills in all areas.

Our Transitioning Youth and Ready @ 21 Programs target young people with disabilities in an increasingly tech-based world. “Young people, with an without disabilities are using the computer and their smart phones every day,” says Outreach Program Administrator Melonee Clark. “They are engaged in social media, creating art, gaming, and all sorts of areas where they are more tech savvy than adults. We need more business partners to willing to hire these young people. They have the ability, they just need the opportunity.”

If you’re business is interested in hiring the right tech savvy candidate, contact our Employment Services team to learn more about our workforce and join us on Thursday October 11, 2018 for our 3rd Annual Inclusion Works Breakfast to meet some of our qualified candidates!

Contact the Employment Services Team by completing the below form or call 240-532-6005

Hire our Workforce

 


Why Employing People with Disabilities Means a Better Bottom Line for Business and Government

A Better Bottom Line: Employing People With Disabilities

From: The National Governor’s Association 2012-2013 Chair’s Initiative
Read the full report HERE

The U.S. labor force is experiencing a rapidly changing economy. The Arc Prince George’s County, along with our partners, supporters, donors and neighbors, is committed to ensuring people with disabilities have the opportunity to find meaningful employment. The National Governor’s Association (NGA) is the collective voice of the nation’s governors and one of Washington, D.C.’s, most respected public policy organizations. THE NGA CENTER FOR BEST PRACTICES (NGA Center) is the only research and development firm that directly serves the nation’s governors and their key policy staff. Governors rely on the NGA Center to provide tailored technical assistance for challenges facing their states, identify and share best practices from across the country, and host meetings of leading policymakers, program officials and scholars. Through research reports, policy analyses, cross-state learning labs, state grants, and other unique services, the NGA Center quickly informs governors what works, what does not, and what lessons can be learned from others grappling with similar issues.

During the 2012 – 2013 NGA Chair’s Initiative activities, The NGA learned from businesses and other experts that many reasons exist for making disability employment a workforce development strategy. Businesses and employers of all types are looking for skilled workers and are finding them among people with disabilities.

  • Businesses are looking for skilled workers to fill open positions and have been struggling to do so over the past few years. A report by McKinsey Global Institute—released in 2011, when unemployment was above 9 percent—found that one-third of U.S. companies had positions open for more than six months that they could not fill.
  • Businesses report positive outcomes from employing people with disabilities. Walgreens, for example, has experienced a 120 percent productivity increase at a distribution center made universally accessible and more than 50 percent of whose employees are disabled. (Greg Wasson, CEO of Walgreens. Opening Plenary speech. NGA Winter Meeting, February 2013.)
  • Global companies like Microsoft and Merck have said that they must employ a workforce that reflects their consumer base, which includes people with disabilities (1 billion people globally report having a disability).
  • 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.
  • People with disabilities bring valuable skills to the workforce. For example, more than 600,000 scientists and engineers currently employed in the United States have disabilities.
  • Some of the top innovators in the United States have disabilities, including the chief executive officers of Ford Motor Company, Apple, Xerox, and Turner Television.
  • Nearly 8 percent of the 3 million civilian federal government employees, or approximately 240,000 people, have disabilities, as do thousands of state employees across the country. As the facts suggest, businesses are willing to hire people with disabilities, and people with disabilities are proving that they are valued employees. Advancements in technology are making it possible for more people with disabilities to participate in all types of employment settings. For example, accommodations that were once out of the ordinary and expensive are now offered as mobile apps for smart phones and tablet computers.

Despite the potential for people with disabilities to contribute to the workforce and advancements in technology that allow them to do so, many are not afforded an opportunity. The Arc Prince George’s seeks to help provide these opportunities with the help of business leaders in our community.

 

Job Seekers: Download our Employment Services Brochure HERE

Employers: Download our Employer Brochure HERE

 

Interested in learning more about our Employment Services Programs?

Complete the below form or contact: Director of Workforce Development Ciara Hosein at
CHosein@thearcofpgc.org or 240-532-6005 x 9

Hire our Workforce


5 Steps to Making Inclusion a Priority

Inclusion can enrich and enhance your workplace. Employers benefit from diverse leadership, innovation, increase in morale and the ability to cast a wider, more diverse recruiting net. Here are some strategies to help you get started:

Make a corporate commitment to include persons with disabilities among your stakeholders.

Are you a CEO who is committed to a disability friendly workplace? Congratulations! You’ve already taken the first step! Do your corporate policies, procedures and practices specifically mention disabilities? These are key ways your business can begin to grow and benefit from inclusion. Our Employment Services Team is here to help guide your organization toward a more inclusive and diverse business culture.

Make inclusion part of your culture.

Creating an inclusive workforce doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are several steps your organization can start taking today.  Are training materials available in alternate formats such as large print, Braille, and captioning? This is a great first step to creating an inclusive work environment. Including disability awareness training in new-hire orientation is another great way to introduce inclusion into your company culture.

Accommodate applicants and workers with disabilities.

Have you considered creating a central source and budget for accommodations? According to The Department of Labor and The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), the average cost of job accommodations is less than $500. The most frequently reported job accommodations are changes in job duties and modified hours of work. Accommodations most often have more to do with creativity and flexibility than building or workspace modifications.

Hire applicants with disabilities.

The Arc Prince George’s County specializes in developing employment partnerships with business leaders throughout the region. Our goal is to not only get to know our candidates and their skills, desires and talents, but also our business partners. We are strategic partners in your business goals, matching the right candidates with the right jobs within your organization. Our 1:1 placements are at no cost to our employment partners, and our ongoing support is designed to ensure the success of the business and the candidate. Contact a member of our team today to learn more about how we can support YOUR specific business needs.

Train and advance workers with disabilities.

Our dedicated and committed workforce has the skills to meet your business needs both now and as your organization grows. We specialize in strategic employment partnerships that place individuals in supported jobs that utilize their skills and provide opportunities for growth. Our Job Coaches and Job Developers are on hand to learn the job along with our candidates and support them as job duties continue to grow. Training and ongoing support are key to our successful placements and ensuring the people we support have opportunities to grow in their careers.

Ready to get started?

Let’s talk more about where your business is and how diversity and inclusion can help it grow! Contact a member of our Employment Services team today, and join us on Thursday October 11, 2018 for our 3rd Annual Inclusion Works Breakfast where you can hear from employers who are already benefitting from our employment placements.

Hire our Workforce