Today’s Governor Patrick Site Visit Recognizes Impact of “Transitions to Work” Program

Friends,

Today, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Joanne Goldstein are recognizing the importance of employment for people with disabilities, by visiting Transitions to Work, a program developed by a partnership of the Ruderman Family Foundation, Jewish Vocational Service, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, and Hebrew SeniorLife. The program is designed to help young adults with a disability across Greater Boston develop the skills they need to become contributing members of the workforce. After training, each participant will be matched with jobs at Hebrew SeniorLife or another area employer.

We’re delighted that the Governor and Secretary Goldstein have chosen to recognize Transition’s immense potential in this way and look forward to reporting in upcoming blogs how the first graduating class is doing on the job.

See below for the news release announcing the Governor’s visit.

– Jay Ruderman

GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK TO VISIT TRANSITIONS TO WORK PROGRAM

Partnership Trains Young People with Disabilities for Growing Job Sectors

BOSTON (February 13, 2012) — Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick will visit a model program on Thursday, February 16 that incorporates a new approach in job training for young people with disabilities: internships that feature skills development leading to job placement.

The Transitions to Work program, operated by Jewish Vocational Services in partnership with Combined Jewish Philanthropies and the Ruderman Family Foundation, is giving young people with disabilities the opportunity to learn skills in areas of need at Hebrew SeniorLife’s NewBridge on the Charles retirement community in Dedham, placing them on a path for employment either with Hebrew SeniorLife or other employers that have a need. The six participants currently involved in the program will graduate later in the month and a second session will begin on February 21st. Jewish young adults with a disability are encouraged to apply.

“Programs such as Transitions to Work empower our workforce while supplying employers with skilled, dedicated workers prepared to contribute to the Massachusetts economy,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “I am grateful to the collaborators for creating such an innovative program that will strengthen our workforce and give us the tools to compete in the global marketplace.”

Transitions to Work is a model for reducing the unemployment rate for people with disabilities, while also giving employers a growing pool of skilled applicants.  There are as many as 19,000 Jewish people with disabilities in theBostonarea who want or need to enter the workforce in the next five to 10 years.  Traditionally, vocational training for people with disabilities has had limited success because the training is not tailored for specific, high-demand jobs, making it difficult for trainees to compete in the marketplace.

“We are pleased to see how many people benefit from this program,” said Massachusetts Secretary of Labor & Workforce Development Joanne F. Goldstein. “This collaboration enhances every community and business served through developing a diverse and skillful workforce.”

An additional benefit of the program at Hebrew SeniorLife’s NewBridge campus is the opportunity for inter-generational contact and support between the seniors living there and the young adults being trained.

“Through this partnership, our Foundation is investing in an entirely new direction  in beginning to solve one of the Jewish community’s greatest challenge, which is the full inclusion of Jews with disabilities in our society, with employment as the linchpin,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation.  “Just 25% of young adults with disabilities have the opportunity to work after high school, compared to almost 62% of young adults without disabilities. These numbers are an embarrassment and must be addressed.”

 “Hebrew SeniorLife is proud to be a lead partner with JVS and CJP on the Ruderman Family Foundation’s Young Adults Transition to Work Program,” said Len Fishman, CEO of Hebrew SeniorLife.  This trailblazing project has been a rewarding experience for all involved.  We are pleased to be able to provide the students with an opportunity to learn new and marketable skills as they transition into the workplace – both here at Hebrew SeniorLife and in the community.”

“The Ruderman Family Foundation has shown extraordinary vision and tenacity in effectively addressing issues that affect people with disabilities,” said Barry Shrage, president of CJP. “Transitions to Work is an incredible example of what we can achieve when CJP partners philanthropists with leading organizations in the Jewish community. Together, we’ve helped to create a new model that benefits both potential employees with disabilities and employers.”

 “JVS has been helping individuals with disabilities build their skills, overcome barriers, and gain employment for more than 70 years, said Jerry Rubin, President and CEO of JVS.  “This innovative partnership with Hebrew Senior Life, supported by the Ruderman Family Foundation and CJP, takes that work to a new level. It sets a new standard for public-private partnerships opening opportunities for those with disabilities.”

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