Shore Community Services seeking partnership with local Chicagoland businesses
Northern Illinois nonprofit, Shore Community Services is launching its latest program vying to raise the bar for equal and competitive employment for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, workers with disabilities were disproportionately laid off during the pandemic. Despite the latest data showing an uptick in employment, accessibility and accommodations still lack across the board for those with disabilities. When compared with nondisabled counterparts, workers with disabilities earn approximately 26 percent less per month.
"This is an endemic problem," says Alexis Alm, CEO, of Shore Community Services. "The ability is there, the willingness is there, one of the main problems is the lack of desire or readiness on the part of the employer. Ableism is real, and it is something we need to address across the workplace."
Ableism is defined as discrimination in favor of able-bodied people. According to the CDC, there are currently 61 million Americans living with a disability. The disability community is the only underrepresented community that anyone can join at any time, and it is growing. As businesses struggle to get back to pre-pandemic levels, Alm says employers would be wise to look to the disability community.
"Not only are they eager and excited to learn new skills, but they are also loyal. Something that can be hard to find these days. That's why we are launching True North -- Finding Your Path Program," adds Alm.
The program aims to provide valuable information and increase self-determination for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. True North allows them the opportunity to identify employment interests and aptitudes as well as hobbies and leisure activities in the communities where they live. A 12-week certificate program that focuses on job training was recently launched.
"It is our hope that local businesses and employers will work with us in identifying needs and offering advice and possible career opportunities in the near future for our patrons," adds Alm.
Currently, Shore serves nearly 400 children and adults with disabilities from 20 North Shore area communities.