EAST HANOVER, NJ --(Marketwired - January 23, 2017) - Kessler Foundation has awarded a two-year, $250,000 Signature Employment Grant to the May Institute, which provides educational, therapeutic, rehabilitative, and consulting services to people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other special needs, to launch Meaningful Jobs. This initiative will identify, train, and support people with ASD for potential employment in the security industry, and provide their employers with the tools and training needed to supervise people with ASD. The amount is part of $2.5 million in grants awarded by Kessler Foundation last year to organizations across the U.S. to support initiatives that create and expand job training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Research shows that many people with ASD have greater focusing skills for certain types of tasks than their neurotypical counterparts, yet an estimated 90% of these adults are either unemployed or under-employed. Because their focusing skills make them uniquely suited for certain tasks in the security industry, the May Institute and the National Autism Center (NAC) will collaborate with Work, Inc., one of New England's leading agencies in providing employment for people with disabilities, to develop a program to identify and train adults with ASD to work in this field.
"Kessler Foundation's Signature Employment Grants are awarded nationally to fund new pilot initiatives, demonstration projects, or social ventures that generate innovative ideas to solve the high unemployment and underemployment of individuals with disabilities," said Elaine E. Katz, MS, CCC-SLP, senior vice president of grants and communications at Kessler Foundation. "The Meaningful Jobs project will improve the field of disability employment's strategic toolkit in developing high quality employment in nontraditional business sectors."
The Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services and Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission will collaborate and provide resources to enhance the success of this program. The initiative will also produce guidelines for best practices on how to create a positive work environment for people with ASD, and is scalable across various industries and organizations in the United States.
Kessler Foundation is accepting applications now for its 2017 grant programs. To learn more and to apply, please visit our website. Signature Employment Grant applications must be submitted by March 17th, and Community Employment Grant applications are due by February 27th.
About Kessler Foundation
Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities.
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