Friends,
Today we have another story about the Young Adult Transitions to Work Program we support here in Boston.  Enjoy a glimpse into one young woman’s working life and, as always, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments box provided.

You can learn more about Transitions here

— Jay Ruderman

Becky Cleinman tells us she loves everything about her life. She loves her neighborhood in Arlington, MA where she lives with her parents. She loves the dogs that live down the street. And she loves her job as a greeter at Au Bon Pain in Downtown Boston, an easy subway ride from home.

But mostly she loves her customers. “I see them every day and they know me,” says Cleinman. Although things can get pretty hectic around the lunch hour, she always manages to keep an eye open for her regulars and make sure they get taken care of.

Cleinman landed this job after completing Young Adult Transitions to Work, a groundbreaking new program the Ruderman Family Foundation established with two of our Boston-area partners: Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) and Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP).

Like many people with disabilities, the 23-year-old had found great difficulty obtaining meaningful employment. But as one of more than 30 area young adults who have completed the Transitions program, she has successfully learned a variety of job skills preparing her for employment. Like many of the others, she was placed in a job with a Boston-area employer—in this case, Au Bon Pain.  Another of these employers is Hebrew SeniorLife (one of the 40 largest employers in Massachusetts), which now has many Transitions graduates working at its residential centers for older adults.

Transitions doesn’t just train and place young adults with disabilities: it provides ongoing job support, maximizing the probability of success. For Cleinman, that means being able to connect with a staff member from the Transitions to Work program regularly.  “If I ever have a question, I can ask Meghan and sometimes she’ll come in and watch me and give me advice,” Cleinman says. “I know I can always call her.”

We are proud of Becky and of all of our Transitions graduates who are now able to enjoy the sense of productivity, confidence and independence that comes with a job. But with many more members of Boston’s Jewish community ready and eager to work, but still unemployed, the challenge is huge.  There is work ahead for all of us.

— Jay Ruderman

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2 Comments

Filed under Disabilities rights, Disabilities Trends, Initiatives, Philanthropy trends, Uncategorized

2 responses to “

  1. Shelley Cohen

    What a great program. Kol HaKavod to the Ruderman Family Foundation for funding such an important initiative. In Judaism the highest form of Tzedakah (charity) is training/giving a person a job so that they no longer will need tzedakah. That is what this Young Adult Transitions to Work program does. Lets hope that the idea catches on…

  2. Sharon Denson

    I agree. This is a fantastic program. Young people with disabilities need training and supports to live independent lives and employment is a very important part of that equation.

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