AUCD Network Promotes Employment for People with Disabilities

Disabled Commuter, Employment goal pageAcross the country, AUCD network members are working to promote employment for people with disabilities.  These are the kind of innovative approaches that will help us reach our goal of 6 million working age adults participating in the American workforce by 2015. Here are a few highlights of their activities in the past year.

Earlier this year, the Kessler Foundation awarded four University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) a Signature Employment Grant. The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center in Tennessee will lead the Putting Faith to Work project, working with the Human Development Institute in Kentucky, Texas Center for Disability Studies, and Institute on Community Integration in Minnesota. The focus of Putting Faith To Work is on enabling faith communities to address the employment needs of some of their members, by connecting people with disabilities to quality employment opportunities through the natural networks represented by congregational members, and to provide (or make linkages to) other individualized supports. Read more…

In Texas, the Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University is working with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas AgrAbility and the US Department of Agriculture to help military veterans with disabilities return and in ranching and farming. The From Battleground to Breaking Ground project hosts workshops across the state for veterans interested in agriculture jobs. “The workshops will address the possibilities for ranching or farming for veterans with disabilities,” said Bryan Davis, AgriLife Extension agent for Bexar County. “We’re hoping military veterans will take advantage of this program which has been uniquely designed with input from many organizations and agencies, including Texas AgrAbility, USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), National Farmer Veteran Coalition, Farm Service Agency and the Texas Department of Agriculture.” Read More…

 TennesseeWorks, a program of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, hosted the Inaugural Employment Summit & Statewide Community Conversation last year, welcoming more than 140 self-advocates, family members, employers, educators, employment professionals, and government officials to the Vanderbilt University campus. With the intention of building capacity and commitment to connecting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to meaningful jobs in Tennessee, the day-long Summit provided a venue through which to learn about national and local efforts, and to generate conversation about increasing employment outcomes. Read More…

The Center on Disability at the University of Hawaii is supporting Hawaii’s revitalization investment plan to support the growing diverse small farm movement, and to fulfill the federal mandate to include disability in diversity hiring and employment. The Hawaii Aquaponics Workforce Development Project on Maui is model pilot training adults with mental illness and other disabilities in the sustainable food production method of aquaponics – growing fish and plants together in a single system without soil using recirculating water. Of the 22 trainees, 100% live below the federal poverty level and are had been unable to afford post-secondary technical education; 98% access mental health services; 5% have intellectual disabilities; and, 20% are connected with judiciary system. Read More…