Posted by & filed under Employment Opportunities.

Have you ever worked with a disabled or special needs adult in the workforce? If you haven’t, you’re not alone. For decades, special needs adults were completely shut out of the labor force. Over the last few decades, that has improved but the quality of jobs has not. Too often these adults have been relegated to menial jobs with pay at or below minimum wage.

Technology, new research, and a growing population of highly functioning special needs adults are proving that adults with disabilities can do much more than most people think. That is now being reflected in the types of jobs employers are hiring special needs adults to manage – some very highly skilled and high paying!

New Laws Target the Double Unemployment Rate for the Disabled

The earliest law, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, that dealt with the disabled focused on preventing discrimination for any employer receiving federal funds. Four years ago, the law was updated to make it stronger by mandating companies receiving federal funds aim to have a workforce made up of at least 7% disabled people.

When the law was enacted, the unemployment rate for the disabled was over 12% compared to less than 6% for the general workforce. In 2008, the ADA was updated to broaden the definition of what constitutes a disability “in favor of broad coverage of individuals to the maximum extent permitted by the ADA.”

In 2014 Congress passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act which included an update to the 1998 Workforce Investment Act and reauthorized the 1973 Rehabilitation Act through 2020. This law aims to make businesses and agencies work more proactively in vocational rehabilitation programs that help transition special needs teens to the workforce.

It also tries to eradicate “sub-minimum” wage jobs that have historically characterized employment for the disabled. And the career centers required for the general workforce must also include career resources for people with disabilities. Even the National Defense Authorization Act has been updated to include benefits for disabled veterans.

Top 5 High Skill Jobs Special Needs Adults Can Do

Plenty of organizations dedicated to the welfare of special needs adults are coming together to train and place special needs adults in better high paying jobs. CareerCast, a job listing site, put together a list of the best jobs for people with disabilities. Here are 5 of the top high skill jobs for special needs adults:

  1. Vocational counselor: A special needs adult can make nearly $55,000 per year as a vocational counselor working in schools, in government, or in the private sector. These counselors help others with disabilities and special needs in a variety of ways, including training for the workforce. Highly functioning special needs job seekers are prime candidates for this type of career.
  2. Pharmaceutical Sales: People with disabilities make excellent sales reps in the pharmaceutical industry. Many take the drugs or use the medical devices being sold by pharmaceutical companies which make them the best advocates. General sales in retail is also a good career avenue for special needs adults.
  3. Physician Assistant: Physician assistants make on average nearly $90,000 per year with a 30% projected growth rate. This field is also an excellent match for highly functioning disabled persons who can assist in medical fields where their personal experiences with a disability can work to their advantage.
  4. Management Consultant: As new regulations mandate that businesses do more to seek out special needs job candidates, the need for management consultants charged with hiring more special needs adults is growing, making it an ideal role for a person with disabilities. It pays close to $80,000 per year and has a 20% projected growth rate.
  5. Market Research Analyst: Research analyst positions are excellent for special needs adults and pays over $60,000 per year with a near 40% projected growth rate. Besides being helpful assets when trying to market products to the disabled population, research analysts often work alone in highly focused work which can be the perfect setting for some autistic adults that have a hard time with social interaction.

Posted by & filed under Day Array Facility, Employment Opportunities, Newsletter.

Save the date! On September 21, Hands from Heaven will be opening our new Day Array Facility on Brice Road. Bring the family and prepare to have fun while learning more about our new facility and what we do!

A Vision Becomes a Reality

A decades old vision is coming to fruition on September 21, 2018. For the majority of her adult life, CEO and director of Hands from Heaven, LLC, Maria Mock has worked with the elderly, the disabled, and adults with developmental disabilities. She’s seen firsthand the worst of them and she’s also seen it done right.

For more than a decade, she climbed the ladder from service provider to administrator, and now CEO of Hands from Heaven. With this opening, she is at last fulfilling a deeply held conviction to provide the best care for some of the most challenged and vulnerable among us. Hands from Heaven, including our entire staff, employs only passionate, caring people who are there to provide the kind of support that special needs adults want and need.

How We Help

One of the most unique things about our services is that we are not limited to only mentally or physically challenged adults. We are able to provide in-home care services, virtually no matter the situation. Most importantly, we care. That makes a huge difference to the people who trust us to provide exceptional support to them or their loved ones.

By simply removing the burden of wondering how to get from one place to another or to fit in housekeeping chores while also trying to manage your own life, we are that “bridge that you and your family need for balance.”

Our services are customized to fit each of our member’s individual needs. We cover all of the basics so that no matter the need, the adults in our programs can live as independently as possible. That includes providing:

  • Respite Care for Seniors
  • Personal Care
  • Homemaking Services
  • Non-Medical Transport
  • Financial Management
  • And NEW Adult Day And Job Placement Services

We’ll drive you to places that make every day living much easier like trips to Dr.’s appointments, prescription pick up, grocery shopping, outpatient treatment, and social outings to name a few. If you or a loved one is being released from the hospital or hospice but will need in-home care, we accept referrals from hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and assisted living.

All of our drivers are CPR and first aid certified to carefully transport our members. The costs for our personalized services are covered through accepted insurance providers including Molina, Aetna, Passport, DODD (IO, Level 1, and Self-Waivers), Senior Options, and Private Pay.

Each day, our program participants take part in skill building exercises, education programs, and job skills training. We also provide fun activities like arts and crafts and sports and recreation time. We offer activities that are known to help special needs adults with developmental disabilities find healthy ways to control and to cope with their challenges including providing community volunteer opportunities, teaching animal care, and adaptive gardening.

What to Expect on Opening Day

We are holding our brand new Hands from Heaven Day Array Adult Day Care Facility opening on September 21 from 12:00 p.m. until 3:00p.m. There will be light hors d’oeuvres provided, and a chance to tour our new facility and meet and greet our founder and CEO, Maria Mock! To RSVP contact Maria Mock at (614) 367-6998 or email us at info@handsfromheavenllc.com.

As a small but professional operation, we are able to provide the kind of hands-on care that families of special needs adults have been looking for, but that also means we need your help to make the most of our facility.

We Can’t Wait to Meet You!

Hands from Heaven offers services that truly make a difference in people’s lives; we believe nothing is more important than lending a helping hand. We can’t wait to meet you! Make sure to save the date and come out to see us at the Day Array Facility – 1624 Brice Road in Reynoldsburg on Saturday, September 21, 2018!

We hope to see you there! Tours and reservations can be setup in advance. Click here for directions to the facility.

P.S., We’re hiring for:

  • Administrative Office Assistant
  • Direct Support Specialist
  • Homemaking Services
  • Respite Care
  • And Personal Care Services

Check out our Facebook page for more information and to submit an application!

Posted by & filed under Employment Opportunities.

There are more special needs adults unemployed than there are employed. According to some estimates, by 2030, there will be half a million teens with autism alone transitioning from high school into the workforce. How will these new adults find work? How will they make enough money to live independently? The good news is employers and laws are changing for the better!

Laws are Changing across the Country

Before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed, special needs adults had little resources to assist them in finding work. Just being in a wheelchair locked most adults out of the workforce before the ADA mandated that work spaces had to be wheelchair accessible.

With the growing number of adults living with autism beginning to enter the workforce, state and federal laws are finally catching up. They are attempting to stop the problem at the root – the transition from school to work.

In fact, the Labor Department has been devising strategies since the ADA was updated in 2014 to encourage states to do more to prepare special needs students for life after high school. In addition, research is providing new methods for ensuring that special needs adults can function well in the workforce.

Research is Overcoming Parental and Employer Fears

Autism is one of the leading disabilities afflicting special needs adults entering the workforce. The number of people diagnosed with autism has “more than doubled” over the last decade and a half. Parents of those children who are now becoming adults have feared allowing their adult special needs children to enter the workforce because of the challenges it presents.

Sufferers of autism can be triggered by many environmental factors including noise levels, motion, activity, and many are unable to or have a hard time communicating. Employers fear that the efforts it would take to accommodate someone with special needs will far outweigh the benefits. New research is changing attitudes all around.

According to research conducted by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), regardless of disability, once adults reach working age, they want to work and even expect to work. What researchers are discovering is that it is the agencies and families themselves that are limiting the expectations for how much special needs adults can do.

Job Placement Agencies for Special Needs Adults Must Do Better

Initial research is revealing that the system itself is the culprit when trying to place special needs adults into “integrated” jobs (jobs that are not facility-based). Moreover, the guidelines and resources provided by these agencies are often confusing or unhelpful. The staff at these agencies also feel overwhelmed when trying to match job seekers with employers.

The NIDILRR has developed a research and training program aimed at “advancing employment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.” There are four ongoing research projects that coordinate their research with a select group of 100 families who will be the test cases for strategies that are developed based on results.

While in-facility jobs have gone down by nearly 15% over the last several years, integration within the general workforce has remained the same, leaving more special needs adult unemployed with even more becoming working age adults. Job placement agencies working with the disabled will need to use the tools and models developed from these research efforts in order to better serve the special needs population and the community as a whole.

Posted by & filed under Employment Opportunities.

Around 10% of the current workforce, those between the ages of 21 and 64 are reportedly disabled. Of those, only slightly more than a third is gainfully employed. For non-disabled adults, the percentage of those employed jumps up to nearly 80%.

Special needs adults have always faced a high bar of entry to get into the workforce. It’s only been over the last couple of decades that attention and legislation has actually focused on helping special needs adults find quality work.

3 Innovators Creating Employment Opportunities for Special Needs Adults

 

In cities big and small from east to west, non-profits are taking the lead in innovating ways to create more employment opportunities for special needs adults. From dealing with the emotional difficulties associated with Aspergers’ for example or providing the proper equipment for the hearing or seeing impaired to placement of the recently disabled (largely veterans) operating with new types of prostheses and requiring different accommodations.

We looked for innovators making waves in the industry right now by coming up with new and inventive ways to provide fulfilling work for special needs adults. Among those, we found these 3 innovators making room for a new highly skilled special needs workforce.

1. Aspire in Chicago, IL

 

Chicago is attracting employers of all kinds and one non-profit is making sure that the physically and developmentally disabled are not left out. The Chicago-based Aspire is a non-profit agency dedicated to providing the type of training that will make special needs adults highly employable.

They partner with the thousands of companies that makeup Chicago’s business district to match special needs adults with job opportunities. Recently, the organization opened up a ten thousand square foot facility near downtown Chicago to house its Career Academy for adults with cerebral palsy, autism, and Down syndrome. Program attendees (around 100 trainees at a time) are trained to work in:

  • Warehousing and Distribution
  • Big-Box Retail
  • Office
  • IT
  • Culinary
  • Hospitality
  • And Fitness Centers

What we thought was so unique about this organization is the work environment simulator. The classrooms at the Academy “simulate the work environment” so that students get real life experience dealing with the types of stresses they may face which could trigger episodes, providing a controlled environment in which they are trained to learn how to cope.

2. Creative Spirit in New York, NY

 

In New York City, a non-profit made up of a group of high powered advertising firms have created Creative Spirit; an organization dedicated to integrating some of the estimated 8 million intellectually and developmentally challenged Americans lacking gainful employment.

Creative Spirit is also focused on employing special needs adults living with Autism and Down syndrome among other disabilities. Already, test programs have seen success in both California and New York. Several well-known ad agencies in NY including A&E Networks are partnered with Creative Spirit and are already employing 50+ special needs adults.

3. Canterbury Café in Seattle, WA

In Seattle, the Meyers are part of a growing trend of small local diners and cafes being started by families of special needs adults. The Meyers opened Sam’s Canterbury Café in order to create a place for their autistic son to work. Now, they have six autistic employees working at their very successful little coffee shop.

 

 

Posted by & filed under Employment Opportunities.

Anyone who has ever cared for a person with special needs knows the stigma attached when it comes to finding work. We know that special needs adults, just like all other adults, want to be able to take care of themselves and seek fulfilling work. Today, there are employers out there willing to take a chance on hiring qualified special needs workers for good, high paying jobs; not the typical repetitive and menial jobs of the past!

Once Upon a Time in America

For years, it was assumed that if you were an adult with special needs, you simply were not going to be able to work or form normal relationships or live independently. Even since the passage of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) which made access to places of employment for the disabled mandatory, jobs for special needs adults have been limited to mindless and sometimes, demeaning grunt work.

Fortunately times are changing. Over the last two and a half decades since the law was enacted, it has undergone several revisions to make buildings more accessible, broaden the definition and scope of disability categories, and make more services available to a larger number of disabled persons.

Our understanding as a society is growing about the capabilities of special needs adults while businesses are partnering with government agencies and non-profit organizations to help special needs adults reach their full potential. Stories like that of John and Mark Cronin of Cincinnati are providing inspiration too.

John, suffering from Down syndrome was nonetheless able to partner with his dad to start his own business that has now become a “million-dollar company.” Testifying before the Small Business Committee on Capitol Hill, the Cronins spoke about the need for employers to seek out and hire more differently-abled employees.

How to Find Good, High Paying Jobs for Special Needs Adults

What employers are realizing is that there are some jobs and professions where the person’s disability actually works in their favor. For instance, one of the top jobs for special needs adults is as a counselor. If a blind person has mastered the skills necessary to live independently as a blind person, they make the perfect counselor for legally blind adults looking for work.

In the same way, someone suffering from Parkinson’s or Aspergers’ can work in many different roles in the pharmaceutical sector. They can work as advocates, help market certain drugs, and assist with drug discovery and development. Special needs adults with a particular physical handicap can attest to the effectiveness of new medical devices and equipment.

As these types of skilled job placements continue to see success, businesses have come around and are finally recognizing the hidden talent pool among mentally and physically challenged adults. There are different government agencies that are helping to facilitate better employment opportunities for special needs job seekers.

Government Resources for Special Needs Job Seekers

Different disabilities will work better for some jobs than with others. Employers can check out statistics on finding and hiring disabled job seekers through the Ohio Department of Jobs and Families. For job seekers, there are several agency employment resources and benefits available from technology accessibility to services for the blind.

However, many of the government resources available are aimed at helping businesses find employees. How do special needs adults find good paying employers? We can help! In addition to in-home care for special needs adults, we provide job matching here in Columbus for disabled job seekers – talk to us to find out more!