We’ve just launched an important new initiative — a $2.5 million grant to Combined Jewish Philanthropies to fund the new Young Adult Transitions to Work program. Run by Jewish Vocational Services, the program will provide job training, placement and ongoing support for young adults with disabilities.
There are many things about this new initiative that distinguish it from similar programs. Rather than general job training with no specific placement in mind, our partner Hebrew SeniorLife has identified jobs in advance of training. Hebrew SeniorLife, affiliated with the Harvard Medical School, is the premier provider of elder care in the Boston area and one of its largest employers. One reason they were eager to join us in the program is that it provides an opportunity for the elderly and disabled young adults to benefit from being with one another on a regular basis.
Also of note, The Young Adult Transitions to Work program was created with key input from Jo Ann Simons, the president and CEO of Cardinal Cushing Services. Jo Ann’s involvement represents an alliance of sorts between Boston’s Jewish and Catholic communities when it comes to sharing innovative ideas about disabilities advocacy. Jo Ann has close to 30 years of experience working with children and young adults with disabilities, and her expertise was critical in the development of the program.
Finally, the size and scope of the grant represents not only our foundation’s commitment to disability advocacy; it is an indication of how disability issues are moving to the forefront of Jewish philanthropy generally.