The Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund team conducted a program design process for two grantees who received funding through the second round of Learn To Earn awards. Both programs, JVS and HMEA, intend to serve people with disabilities who are receiving public assistance. Through these engagements, the WCTF team has developed a learning community that includes several members of different state agency partners such as the Department of Transitional Assistance, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, Department of Housing and Community Development, and the Executive Office of Education.
During an initial convening, the WCTF team featured a workshop facilitated by Work Without Limits, a initiative out of the UMass Medical School that aims to increase the employment of people with disabilities through employer engagement, training, consulting, and benefits counseling. At the meeting, Bonnie Rivers, director of employer relations at Work Without Limits, facilitated a session called “Pick A Disability.” This activity is geared toward increasing understanding of the assets and barriers associated with different forms of disability, while highlighting common misconceptions and assumptions. Attendees appreciated the opportunity to reflect on personal and professional experiences as well as how to better serve these populations. Both partnerships have started their first cohorts this fall and we look forward to continued learning over the next two years.