Honoring the ADA
By Nicky Miller
In honor of the Americans with Disabilities Act 29th anniversary, Kessler Foundation is sharing its resources that support people with disabilities in the workforce. The purpose of the ADA law is to ensure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else, in all areas of public life. Kessler Foundation strives to help create equal opportunity through employment and disability research, and funding to organizations that specialize with assisting veterans, young adults, and individuals with disabilities in the workforce and various areas.
Employing People with Disabilities
From 2004 to 2019, Kessler Foundation has provided more than $43 million to support national and local initiatives that create or expand opportunities for people with disabilities. This 2018 White Paper assesses the diverse grants supported under the Foundation’s Signature Employment Grant (SEG) program from 2009-2015. The SEG program provides major funding for pilot initiatives, demonstration projects, and social ventures that generate new models to address the employment gap between people with and without disabilities.
Read the white paper.
Having an Impact in the Community
More than $1.3 million dollars in Signature Employment Grants—the Foundation's largest grants—have been distributed to launch four initiatives with projects in eight states. Signature Grants range from $175,000 to $500,000 over a two-year period. These awards support pilot initiatives, demonstration projects, or social ventures that lead to the generation of new ideas to increase employment among people with disabilities. Here’s a summary of the recently awarded Signature Employment Grants:
- Advocacy Center of Louisiana received a $425,000 to improve employment outcomes and reduce recidivism rates of formerly incarcerated Louisianans with disabilities. The FAIR (Financial Access Inclusion and Resources) project is a scalable and innovative project providing financial coaching and case management services to improve employment outcomes of formerly incarcerated Louisianans with disabilities. Learn more.
- Lester and Rosalie Anixter Center in Chicago will use its $400,000 grant to produce long-term change in healthcare and disability services systems. Their Inclusive Pathways Chicago: Healthcare is a demonstration project designed to assist healthcare workforce employers and their nonprofit partners in implementing equity, diversity, and inclusion strategies that will result in reducing barriers to employment for people with disabilities, especially those with previous justice system involvement. Learn more.
- Arc of the United States in Washington, DC received a $175,000 grant to pilot JusticeWorks, a new pathway to employment for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The program will combine an internship program for the young people at first responder agencies (fire, police, EMS, etc.) with comprehensive disability awareness training and support for first responders. Learn more.
- Cornell University’s Yang-Tan Institute will use its $350,000 grant to support Combat to Careers which will assist 125 veteran students with disabilities at the State University of New York Oswego and East Central Community College in obtaining full- or part-time employment through apprenticeships with special emphasis on meeting the particular needs of female veterans. Learn more.
How to Get Back to Work
Our “Stay at Work/Return to Work,” podcast series focuses on stories from professionals and individuals with disabilities. Professionals share information about working to help people find jobs that are suitable to their skills and individuals share experiences finding work and staying at work after an injury.
Listen to the Stay at Work/Return to Work Podcasts: