Kessler Foundation Grants $200,000 to the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City
EAST HANOVER, N.J. January 18, 2017—Kessler Foundation has awarded a two-year, $200,000 Signature Employment Grant to the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City to launch NYC: AT WORK—an initiative to connect people with disabilities to meaningful, living-wage jobs across the city’s five boroughs by working with the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) to build partnerships and expand coalitions. The amount is part of $2.5 million in grants awarded by Kessler Foundation last year to organizations across the U.S. to support initiatives that create and expand job training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
NYC: AT WORK will provide training, internship, and apprenticeship opportunities to people with disabilities, including transitioning students and youth, college graduates, consumers of ACCES-VR and other state-funded VR agencies. To achieve the project’s objectives, MOPD will build—and act as an intermediary for—coalitions on both the supply and demand sides of NYC’s labor market. Other goals of the program include spurring greater collaboration between the disability and workforce development systems, creating a centralized talent pool of candidates with disabilities for businesses to recruit from, and building successful, sector-based training and internship models to serve a range of companies.
“Kessler Foundation's Signature Employment Grants are awarded nationally to fund new pilot initiatives, demonstration projects, or social ventures that generate innovative ideas to solve the high unemployment and underemployment of individuals with disabilities,” said Elaine E. Katz, MS, CCC-SLP, senior vice president of grants and communications at Kessler Foundation. “The NYC: AT WORK project seeks to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities by blending a person-centered approach with a business-centered approach to drive collaboration in the field.”
Although the project now includes the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, it began as a collaboration between MOPD and the Poses Family Foundation’s Workplace Initiative. MOPD will work with a set of strategic partners to create and manage two coalitions. On the supply side, it will build a “talent coalition” comprised of high schools, public and private colleges, workforce development agencies, ACCES-VR provider agencies, and community-based organizations. On the demand side, MOPD will create a “business coalition” by drawing on existing relationships with its Business Development Council to target efforts toward employers with the greatest commitment and capacity for inclusive hiring. Over time, it will build out the coalition to include clusters of companies in each of New York City’s high growth industries.
By the end of its first three years, NYC: AT WORK plans to become a sustainable initiative housed within the Small Business Services Agency of Workforce Development, ensuring that the project will have a home and a dedicated staff to provide an ongoing support system.
“With the help of the Kessler Foundation, NYC: ATWORK will create a cross-systems approach to building a sustainable pipeline of qualified talent for meaningful, living wage, high-growth industry jobs across the city’s five boroughs," said Victor Calise, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, "while empowering disability confidence in companies to continue to champion the hiring, retention, promotion, and support of employees with disabilities." Darren Bloch, executive director of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC, added: "We're grateful to the Kessler Foundation for their dedicated support, and we're pleased to be part of the meaningful work carried out by MOPD to establish new partnerships for this vital segment of our community.”
Kessler Foundation is accepting applications now for its 2017 grant programs. To learn more and to apply, please visit our website. Signature Employment Grant applications must be submitted by March 17th, and Community Employment Grant applications are due by February 27th.
About Kessler Foundation
Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities.
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