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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Atlantic Cape May WIB Works to Empower Individuals with Disabilities and Their Prospective Employers

The Atlantic Cape May Workforce Investment Board will provide 16 individuals with disabilities, age 50+, with on-the-job training and participating employers with $2,500 - $5,000 in hiring and retention incentives beginning November 1, 2014. A $40,000 community employment grant from the Kessler Foundation will help fund this employment empowerment collaborative over a one-year period.

"The goals of this initiative are multi-faceted," explained Rhonda Lowery, Executive Director of the Atlantic Cape May WIB. "One is to assist businesses in recognizing the value of the mature disabled worker population in the workforce. And a second goal is to find unsubsidized employment for capable disabled workers and removing them from public assistance."

The program also addresses the growing employment needs of mature adults affected by physical limitations caused by illness or disability. According to data from the 2011 American Community Survey for New Jersey, the median earnings of disabled individuals were $23,702, which is $15,000 less than the median earnings for those without a disability.

"The mature disabled population requires employment opportunities that allow for flexibility in terms of work setting and scheduling," noted Lowery. "This may include home-based environments and virtual employment."

Participants will be identified through community and faith-based partner agencies. Those who are designated as "work-ready" will be enrolled in the expedited employment model, while those with little or no work history will be enrolled in the supported experience model. Successful participants will earn $8.25 per hour.

Employers will interview and select candidates from a pool of qualified, pre-screened individuals. They will train and supervise the employee and complete monthly employee evaluations. In return they will receive financial incentives for employment retention.

For more information, contact the Atlantic Cape May WIB at (609) 485-0153, ext. 4810.

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