We believe inclusive employment is a civil right that provides empowerment and choice for those who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities.
There are more then 5 million Americans who experience Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD). This includes Autism, Downs Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy just to name a few. Unemployment rates for these Americans are well over 80%.
Here’s the thing, despite the high unemployment rate many individuals who experience IDD have the skills necessary to perform jobs, just as important, they want to work. When given a chance they’ve shown strong employer loyalty and have a reputation as hard working dedicated employees with no more sick time or increased cost to employers. Those who succeed typically have a strong network of people to assist the job seeker overcome personal challenges to employment success. Some get help to improve skills related to socializing, caring for one’s self, time management, positive problem solving or transportation.
The need for services to support people who experience IDD is great and not projected to decrease anytime soon. The Center for Disease Control states that developmental disabilities rates, more specifically, those within the Autism spectrum have increased over 289% in the past 12 years.
Collaborative Employment Innovations –CEI is a start up agency currently severing less then 5 individuals. We help our customers to development skills and strategies necessary for those with moderate to significant disabilities to obtain “integrated employment.” Our approach is holistic; we not only look at the individual’s career goal, interest, skills and capacities but equally the overall obstacles to the individual’s employment success. Our customer are empowered throughout the process, they are invited and expected to be fully involved (to the best of their abilities) in the development and execution of a job placement action plan.
Integrated employment refers to jobs held by people with disabilities in typical workplace settings where the majority of employees are not people with disabilities, they earn at least minimum wage and they are paid directly by the employer.
Our approach also includes working with businesses to help them maximize productivity and manage costs. We assist businesses by helping to identify jobs that are overlooked, done by outside contractors at a higher rate or entry- level tasks performed by a highly paid professional whose time could be better spent doing others things.
Today is an exiting time as The United States Department of Labor has introduced “The Employment First Policy.” There are millions of Americans from all economic and ethnic backgrounds who are eager and waiting to make meaning contributions to their communities and the work force. Your pledge will allow us to increase our capacity to help up to 35 people annually. That's help for 35 people who may other wise spend much of their day home, isolated and lonely, to get out into the community and the work force. You will also be aiding in the continued efforts towards social change from institutionalization and segregation to full equality and inclusion for individuals who for far too long have lived in the shadows of society.
Reaching our tipping point goal:
In order for us to serve more people we need an office and more advertising materials.
We currently assist customers by meeting in public places like coffee shops, public libraries or the customer’s home. The administrative aspect of business is done in a home-based office. This isn’t ideal but it works okay for now. Ideally, Collaborative Employment Innovations would have an official office site in an accessible location. We’ve found commercial office space and with an owner who is willing to be flexible with the lease agreement because he likes what our business represents. What we need in order to make the office space reality is $800.00 to cover the first 4 months rent.
Real Jobs for real pay that’s the name of the game! Advertising, networking and presentations to promote integrated employment takes money! Gone are the days when one could get away with a black and white brochure. Serious advertising takes professional looking materials including a website. Even with all the “hook ups” the costs of a website, 500 brochures and a business banner is about $1200.00.
These combine expenses set our tipping point at: $2000.00
Reaching our total goal:
Not everyone who wants to work is ready to enter into the work force. CEI would like to include pre-vocational services otherwise known as “Alternative to Employment Day Services”. In order to offer this service we must become a Certified State Medicaid Provider. Becoming certified will allow us to serve individuals who live in state funded group and foster homes. Many who have had even less opportunity for integrated work then their peers who live independently or with family. We’d like to reach out and help 10-12 people annually to gain the skills needed to begin their integrated job search.
As a Certified State Medicaid Provider CEI will need to change our legal business status and will access professional services to do so. In addition to legal services CEI plans to access accounting services. The cost of legal fees and one year accounting services is estimated at $1950.00
To provided Alternative to Employment Day Services CEI we will need to hire and train additional support staff. Specialized training and pre-service salary with overhead is estimated at $2600.00.
To provide quality services and the tools needed to build independence and jobs skills. CEI plans to purchase equipment and curriculums designed to assist in development of personal care, social and communication skills. Other program costs considered include things like first aid kits and emergency supplies. We believe these costs to be around $600.00
That brings our fully funded amount to $7150.00.