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Jobs75 Initiative: Intersect for Ability Agencies Partner to Find Jobs for People with Disabilities

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Individuals across the nation and especially Illinois have suffered from continuing economic uncertainty and mass unemployment. The unemployment rate for persons with disabilities of all types exceeds 70%, and for individuals with intellectual disabilities the rate is even higher. To address this paramount issue, seven agencies that are part of Intersect for Ability Network have joined hands in establishing a major new project to secure employment for the people with disabilities they serve: the Jobs75 Initiative.

The Chicago-based Coleman Foundation has provided major funding for The Jobs75 Initiative, which constitutes a key component of the Coleman-sponsored Intersect for Ability Network. Seguin Services serves as the project’s lead agency in collaboration with Misericordia, Easter Seals, Countryside Association, PACTT, Park Lawn and Clearbrook. The goal for the project is simple: place 75 individuals with developmental disabilities in full-time or part-time jobs throughout metropolitan Chicago over the next year.

Intersect agencies are seeking employers large and small, from major corporations to local businesses, who are willing to be partners in the Jobs75 Initiative. Thus far a few employers have already hired project participants, while some have also joined as Advisory Council members to assist with the initiative. Businesses who employ persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities receive a wonderful return on their investment. They are provided with capable workers who are reliable, hard-working, competent, and enthusiastic, and thereby help the business meet their bottom lines.

In addition, partner agencies provide on-site job coaching for participants to ensure that they fully understand the job requirements and are able to meet those responsibilities. Project staff will also facilitate or directly provide special training to their employees without disabilities on working with people with cognitive impairments and other disabilities.

Beyond offering a strong labor pool for employers, the Jobs75 Initiative gives individuals with disabilities the chance to increase their self-esteem and to be more self-sufficient. They become productive members of their community. Ultimately the benefits to the employers combined with the positive outcomes for people with disabilities make this project a “win-win” for all involved!

Learn more about the project at www.jobs75.org. If you can help with this initiative, by employing people with disabilities or by giving us a job lead, please contact the project staff: Francesca Sparacino 312.810.1044 / fsparacino@jobs75.org or Jim Hutson 847.322.4677 / jhutson@jobs75.org.

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