JARC FL Celebrates Community Works Program During National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Community Works Program Provides Individuals with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Opportunities to Be Paid & Valuable Employees in Community
Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017, 18.7% of persons with a disability were employed. In contrast, 65.7% of those without a disability were employed. The unemployment rate for person with a disability was 9.2% in 2017, which was more than twice that of those with no disability (4.2%). Learn more here (https://www.dol.gov/
The JARC FL Community Works Program, meanwhile, is designed to prepare and provide JARC FL clients better opportunities to be productive, paid and valuable employees within their communities. Sixty-five JARC FL clients currently work at 14 South Florida businesses (including Sinai Residences of Boca Raton, Farmer's Table, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, The Cheesecake Factory, Woodfield Country Club, Addison Reserve Country Club and KMART) completing tasks ranging from chopping and portioning food, folding napkins and more. The clients are then paid minimum wage by JARC. The goal is to have the businesses eventually hire the clients and pay them directly as employees. Fifteen clients have already secured formal positions.
"What do you think about when you think about an ordinary life?" Debra C. Hallow, President of JARC FL, said. "We are so often identified by what we do. This program gives our clients the opportunity to answer the question: "Hi, how are you and what do you do? And that is a feeling of independence and empowerment."
The JARC FL Community Works Program has been so successful since its start in 2014, that earlier this year (June 2018) the State of Florida provided JARC with $300,000 in grant funds to support it.The grant specifically provides JARC clients opportunities to work at partnering businesses as trainees, until the businesses choose to hire the clients as paid employees.
About Community Works Program
The Community Works Program first launched in late 2014 at JARC FL through a partnership with Marshalls. Through the program, JARC clients work at a partner business as trainees, completing tasks ranging from chopping jalapeños and portioning food to folding napkins and completing janitorial tasks. The clients are paid minimum wage by JARC thanks to donations from the community, fundraising and state grants. With JARC paying the clients, the partner business essentially receives free labor. In exchange, the businesses are expected to train, guide and provide a healthy and productive working environment for their respective JARC employees. Ultimately – the goal is to secure formal positions for the clients with the business. Since the program first launched, the Community Works Program has grown to include partnerships with 14 local businesses, including Sinai Residences Boca Raton, Farmer's Table, TJ Maxx, Boca Raton Marshall's, Delray Beach Marshalls, The Cheesecake Factory, Grand Luxe Café, The Polo Club, Woodfield Country Club, Addison Reserve Country Club and KMART.
About JARC FL
JARC Florida, a non-sectarian organization based in Boca Raton, provides group homes, apartments and vocational training for adults with developmental disabilities. It strives to assist each individual with becoming all he or she is capable of being and encourages this growth in a caring, nurturing environment. It is the mission of JARC, in partnership with the families of its clients, to promote independence, dignity, and self-respect in order to create more fulfilling lives.
JARC currently operates ten group homes in the Boca Raton and Delray Beach area for adults with developmental disabilities. JARC offers apartment living for those who do not require 24-hour supervision as well as vocational training in the Mel & Elaine Stein Living and Learning Center. The organization was created in the mid 1980's in response to the needs of families with adult children with developmental disabilities. Learn more at http://jarcfl.org.