The following is a press release from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office.
BOSTON – Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today, September 16, announced her office awarded more than $130,000 in grant funding to several nonprofit service providers for investments in job training, skill development, and career placement programs for individuals with disabilities.
“These grants will help organizations across Massachusetts strengthen programs, expand staff capacity, and provide job skills training to help individuals with disabilities achieve their professional goals,” said Healey. “As many of our communities face economic uncertainty, we are pleased these funds will help improve employment opportunities and support inclusive workplaces in our state.”
The AG’s Office created the Enabling Employment Opportunities grant program to help service providers and charitable organizations fund educational opportunities for individuals with developmental and other disabilities.
Grants to the following nonprofit organizations will help individuals with disabilities secure a job, participate in workforce development programs, and secure credentialed job training:
- Partners for Youth with Disabilities, Somerville: The organization will use grant funds to support its Career Readiness Program, which serves transition-aged youth and young adults with disabilities in Boston Public Schools. The program focuses on academics, real-world experiences, and mentoring to help students gain employment in Greater Boston. Partners for Youth with Disabilities transitioned to an online platform in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and added a full-time tech support staff member to aid program participants.
- ServiceNet Inc., Northampton: ServiceNet runs Prospect Meadow Farm in Hatfield to help individuals with intellectual disabilities get paid job experience. The grant will increase positive outcomes for vocational program participants by supporting ServiceNet’s staff training program and expanding staff capacity. Additionally, ServiceNet’s farm location allows the newly trained professionals to engage with program participants in a socially distant outdoor environment.
- Seven Hills ASPiRE!, Worcester: Seven Hills ASPiRE! provides workforce readiness and employment services throughout Worcester and Western Middlesex Counties by connecting young people to paid internships opportunities. Seven Hills has been able to provide virtual programming and has identified several locations where safe employment is feasible during the pandemic.
- South Shore Support Services, Weymouth: South Shore Support Services provides training in underserved regions of Southeastern and Western Massachusetts and Cape Cod. The organization helps participants access vocational opportunities and social and life skills training. The grant will fund wages for individuals with disabilities and expand staff capacity. During the pandemic, South Shore Support Services has been able to conduct its programming successfully over Zoom and has transitioned trainings to a virtual environment.
- WORK Inc., Dorchester: WORK Inc. helps individuals with disabilities in search for employment and secure paid internships at local businesses in Boston, New Bedford, and Fitchburg. The grant will allow WORK Inc. to offer internship stipends for those who are seeking to develop skills needed to secure full-time employment. As the pandemic continues, WORK Inc. will host meetings with individuals virtually and will ensure that all potential internship locations are following appropriate safety protocols for COVID-19.
The Enabling Employment Opportunities Grant Program is funded by the proceeds from a 2018 settlement with Triangle Inc., a nonprofit organization in Malden that provides support services for individuals with disabilities to assist with employment, housing, and independence. The AG’s settlement with Triangle resolved allegations that the organization violated state wage and hour laws.