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#RespectTheAbility Campaign: Spotlight on Project SEARCH

Young people with disabilities help senior citizens: Provide excellent workforce for the future

Project SEARCH intern Haley McCormick-Thompson lends an attentive ear to a resident at United Hebrew New Rochelle (photo credit POSITIVE EXPOSURE)

Project SEARCH intern Haley McCormick-Thompson lends an attentive ear to a resident at United Hebrew New Rochelle (photo credit POSITIVE EXPOSURE)

Haley McCormick-Thompson, 21, spends part of her day transporting senior residents of the United Hebrew from their rooms to their various activities throughout the day. The seniors’ faces light up when they see Haley coming over to help them.

“I really care about the residents,” Haley said. “I like helping them if they’re sad and I like staying late and helping. I am always willing to do extra.”

Haley is a part of Project SEARCH, a program that allows young adults with developmental disabilities to cultivate a set of skills that they can use in the workforce. At United Hebrew, located in New Rochelle, New York, Project SEARCH interns assist the residents in their daily lives. The harmony between the residents and the interns is clear. The interns take their time with each resident, making sure they are comfortable, getting them involved in cheerful sing-alongs, partaking and setting up art therapy, transporting them to and from their daily activities, and lending an attentive ear to residents who just feel like talking.

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#RespectTheAbility Campaign: Spotlight on Project SEARCH

Workers with disabilities help hospitals help patients

Project SEARCH intern Anthony Telesford is all smiles while working in the kitchen at Montefiore New Rochelle

Project SEARCH intern Anthony Telesford is all smiles while working in the kitchen at Montefiore New Rochelle (photo credit POSITIVE EXPOSURE)

Anthony Telesford works in the kitchen of Montefiore New Rochelle hospital with his co- worker Jennifer Dacres, cleaning dishes, collecting trays, and assisting their other co-workers in other kitchen and meal preparatory tasks. The two consider themselves good friends, and can often be seen playfully cracking jokes throughout the workday. Jennifer praises Anthony’s work ethic, and speaks highly of the contributions he’s made as a fellow employee at Montefiore New Rochelle.

Anthony is a part of Project SEARCH, a program that allows young adults with developmental disabilities to cultivate a set of skills that they can use in the workforce. But Jennifer doesn’t see the program as a part of who Anthony is as a worker, or a person.

“He is a regular worker,” said Dacres. “We work hard, he works hard. We don’t baby him. He does the same exact work as we do. He is just a regular employee here, and he is a friend.”

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#RespectTheAbility Campaign: Spotlight on Project SEARCH

Youth with disabilities help make government work better

Former Project SEARCH intern Dalila Ochoa on the ground (photo credit POSITIVE EXPOSURE)

Former Project SEARCH intern Dalila Ochoa on the ground (photo credit POSITIVE EXPOSURE)

Several years ago during a blizzard in the northeast, the local news announced that people should stay home due to dangerous conditions on the roads. The government told its workers that only “essential” employees should report to work. One boss in the area made it to his office, and was surprised to find an employee who happens to have a disability waiting at the front doors to be let in.

When asked how and why he came out in the blizzard, the employee, who is a graduate of Project SEARCH, an apprenticeship program for young people with disabilities who want to work, responded, “Essential employees were told to come in. I am essential here.” The employee was right – their services were indeed valued and needed.

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#RespectTheAbility Campaign: Spotlight on Farming

Autistic man on path to become an organic farmer

Neal Katz shows that hard work pays off with his fully grown crops, at Camp JCA Shalom in Malibu (photo credit POSITIVE EXPOSURE)

Neal Katz shows that hard work pays off with his fully grown crops, at Camp JCA Shalom in Malibu (photo credit POSITIVE EXPOSURE)

According to the CDC, one out of every 42 boys in America is on the Autism Spectrum (ASD). Additionally, almost half (46 percent) of these children identified with ASD had average or above average intellectual ability. These children are growing up at the same time that baby boomers are aging and thus there will be expanded opportunities in the workforce. Here’s a first person message from 20-year-old Neal Katz, who has started on his career path to become an organic famer in Malibu, CA.

“I work at Camp JCA Shalom in Malibu every Thursday. I water trees, plants, and herbs in their organic garden. I pick ripe lemons, oranges, and olives. I use hay to insulate the trees in the winter. It makes me happy to work.

“I feel connected to God when I am working in nature. I see God’s work in the earth and want to feel it in my hands. When I am in the garden and working, I feel God’s call, and I answer him by doing the work he started. When God was creating the earth He created plants on the third day. I am continuing God’s work when working at JCA.

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#RespectTheAbility Campaign: Spotlight on ernst & young (EY)

If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere: Inclusion at Ernst & Young (EY)

Won Shin, senior manager in transaction advisory services at EY, speaks with coworkers Alejandra Preciat and Frances Smith (photo credit POSITIVE EXPOSURE)

Won Shin, senior manager in transaction advisory services at EY, speaks with coworkers Alejandra Preciat and Frances Smith (photo credit POSITIVE EXPOSURE)

Located at 5 Times Square, the red letters of Ernst & Young LLP (EY) glow on the side of its New York City offices. It’s been said that if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere; and if you have an office in Times Square, in the heart of the city, you’ve truly arrived.

EY is where some of the most talented individuals from across the globe come together to offer services that have turned the organization into an international success, with offices in over 150 different countries. Globally, EY has more than 190,000 people. A largely unknown factor in EY’s success is the example instilled by founding partner Arthur Young, who was deaf and had low vision. With his disabilities, Young adapted to learn how to think outside of the box. Over the years EY has continued this trend of hiring the best talent, no matter what package that talent comes in.

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Washington, D.C. – RespectAbility is delighted to share with you the fact that the jobs bill for people with disabilities (WIOA) passed the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly today. This comes on the heals of a 95-3 vote for the bill in the U.S. Senate. It is expected that the WIOA bill will be signed into law soon. Many consider it the most important disability legislation since the groundbreaking Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990.

The vote comes almost exactly one year after the founding of RespectAbilityUSA.org, a non-profit organization working to empower Americans with disabilities to achieve the American Dream. Donn Weinberg, Founding Chair of RespectAbilityUSA.org, and its President/CEO Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, then introduced the nascent national, non-profit, non-partisan organization whose mission is to:

  1. Reshape the attitudes of American society so that people with disabilities can more fully participate in and contribute to society, and
  2. Empower people with disabilities to achieve as much of the American dream as their abilities and efforts permit.

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Washington, D.C. – At a time when 70% of working age Americans with disabilities are outside of the workforce and more than 9 million working age Americans with disabilities are living on government benefits, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on bi-partisan, bicameral legislation to increase opportunities for people with disabilities. Leaders from the House and Senate have introduced the bipartisan and bicameral Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The Senate passed WIOA on June 25th by a vote of 95-3. The House is scheduled to take up WIOA on the suspension calendar Wednesday, July 9, 2014.

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Email Your Member of Congress

Hello!

I am writing to ask for your urgent help. We want Members of Congress to know that they have constituents who care about job opportunities for people with disabilities. Thus, can you please take a few moments to write an email to your member of Congress to ask them for their plan to enable people with disabilities to get a job? You can find your member of Congress here. Please send a note to your member of Congress to let them know that:

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A Win for the Workforce Bill

From POLITICO’s Morning Education:

A WIN FOR THE WORKFORCE BILL:

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act sailed through the Senate Wednesday afternoon, taking steps toward streamlining federal workforce programs and overhauling the job training system for young people with disabilities.  [continue reading…]

BREAKING NEWS: Senate Votes 95-3 for Jobs for People with Disabilities

Washington, DC. At a time when 70% of working age Americans with disabilities are outside of the workforce and more than 9 million working age Americans with disabilities are living on government benefits, the U.S. Senate voted 95-3 on legislation (S. 1356) to increase job opportunities for people with disabilities.

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