Disabilityworks: Increasing Employment with Supply and Demand
The disabilityworks project uses a business model targeting both the supply and demand sides of employment. The project works with companies to develop employment opportunities, engages educational programs for youth and adults with disabilities, and builds awareness about work incentives and workforce development services. Disabilityworks is funded primarily by the State of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, with support from the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and the city of Chicago. The project also partners with the Chicagoland Provider Leadership Network, which represents 117 organizations, and the Chicagoland Business Leadership Network, which has 63 member companies. In its first year, the project resulted in jobs for 194 people with disabilities, more than 90 percent in private industry. In 2006, the Secretary of Labor and ODEP recognized disabilityworks with a New Freedom Initiative Award for demonstrating exemplary and innovative efforts in furthering the employment and workplace environment for people with disabilities.