Employment First!

By Debera Taylor, CEO of NW Works

When someone asks me, “How are we doing?”, “Did COVID hurt the organization?” or  “How are you surviving?” I answer them with “Yes, and we are taking advantage of the opportunity to change for our future.”  We have to think about our future outside of just our four walls.  We need to reach into our community and find employment opportunities for those that we serve. We need to focus on Employment First!

Our mission is to “empower adults with disabilities and individuals with barriers to employment to build skills and secure and sustain meaningful employment.”  

A critical priority for the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), is to invest in systems change efforts that result in increased community-based, integrated employment opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities. This priority reflects growing support for a national movement called Employment First, a framework for systems change that is centered on the premise that all citizens, including individuals with significant disabilities, are capable of full participation in integrated employment and community life. 

We will be conducting skill assessments for employment placement over the next couple of weeks and working internally to review and reach goals through new curriculum. We have and continue to offer a diverse range of programs and services to serve our client base. We are working hard to find our “next normal”.  It may look a little different but we remain committed to the best outcomes for both our clients and our staff.

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