For most people, work provides a source of identity, life meaning, sense of contribution, financial stability, relationships, and the ability to have a home and provide for themselves and their families. The quest for these “good things in life” does not end because a person has a disability, either one they have had for their entire life or recently acquired. Common themes across all types of disability included work being a source of identity, feelings of normality, financial support, and socialization.
Project SEARCH's primary objective is to secure competitive employment for people with disabilities. This innovative program focuses not only on serving young adults in their last year of high school eligibility, but those trying to get back into the workforce after an injury, raising a family, or looking to pursue a more meaningful career path.
Disabilities Employment Initiative
DEI supports job-driven approaches to employment support for youth and adults with disabilities. This program provides the skills, competencies, and credentials necessary to help people obtain in-demand jobs, increase earnings, and advance their careers.
Envision Success Project
This after-school and weekend career exploration program gives young adults who are legally blind the opportunity to visit workplaces, complete vocational assessments, and explore their career aspirations. Students tour businesses, receive workplace training, and participate in internships, projects, and paid work experiences.
help make the transition
into the workforce
Disability affects hundreds of millions of families throughout the world. As the population ages this figure is expected to increase. Unemployment among the persons with disabilities is as high as 80 per cent in some countries. Though small improvements have continued over time, recent statistics show that only approximately 34% of people with disabilities in the U.S. are employed compared to 75% of those without disabilities. The unemployment rate and the number of people living in poverty who have disabilities is more than twice that of those without. The trend is similar in other industrialized nations.
- In 2015, the Polus Center became a key partner with the North Central MA Workforce Board4, Employment Links, and the MA Division of Career Services5to implement the Disabilities Employment Initiative6 sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor.
- In 2014, Polus began working with the MA Commission for the Blind8 to implement Project Search and other internships in the Boston and central MA regions to help people who are legally blind obtain workplace credentials and find full time employment.
- For many years, the Polus Center sponsored Community Business Associates, a Boston-based project that provided employment support for people with disabilities. In the late 1980s, the Polus Center (then known as Transitional Resources, Inc.), closed its vocational program and helped all people in it find competitive jobs in the Boston area.