Little City has spent all October celebrating the incredible work of our community employment team in recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
Over the last few years, Little City’s community employment program has transformed into a multifaceted service provider that has helped dozens of people with developmental and other disabilities start jobs at more than 70 employers.
Those currently employed and receiving assistance from Little City include individuals in healthcare, guest experience and hospitality, horticulture, food service, the United States Postal Service, financial services and recycling. These statistics tell the story of their incredible success.
None of these life-changing jobs would be possible without the work of those in the Employment First program, Employee Development Services program and all the vocational and community-based volunteer work done at Little City’s Countryside, Lakeside and the Center for Employment & Business Centers.
Casey Burke, Director of Employment, credited all the community employers Little City partners with for helping to break the stigma and highlight the value of hiring people with disabilities.
“In employment, nothing is achieved without collaboration. Without our tremendous workforce partners and their willingness to offer inclusivity and diversity, the desire of those we serve to work would be moot,” he said. “These hires are not through charity – it is a recognition of the value that individuals with disabilities bring to the labor market.”
Each employment program at Little City is specifically designed to cater to people with different levels of need who are at different stages of the job search process.
The Employee Development Services program offers those at Little City a chance to learn crucial social skills, develop independence and discover their interests and abilities. Students are able to find jobs in as little as a few months or in over a year. The program is designed so all can learn and grow at their own pace.
The Employment First program has allowed Little City to expand beyond just those with developmental disabilities served at the agency. Anyone who has a condition that is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act can take advantage of the program. Like the EDS program, Employment First pairs a job seeker with a job coach to find the best employment fit and successfully transition into a job.
Little City’s employment program is also supported by the contracted vocational work at Countryside and Lakeside Centers and — when able to be done safely — frequent community volunteer outings. Those experiences help identify people who are ready to take the next step into community employment.
While October officially marks National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the push for equality and diversity in employment practices happens year round! Little City invites everyone to learn more about how they can help provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities by visiting www.dol.gov/NDEAM.
Little City is proud to help all those with disabilities overcome their challenges and realize their dreams of community employment! Be sure to visit Little City on Facebook to see just some of the employment success stories and those who make them happen.