As a society, progress should be reflected in the way we foster inclusion and empowerment for all, and supported employment is undeniably a major contributor to achieving this goal. I've always believed in the motto, "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." Echoing this sentiment, I’d love to discuss the world of supported employment and highlight its life-altering implications for the people Aspire supports.
For those who haven't encountered the term before, supported employment is a tailored approach to assisting people with disabilities in finding and retaining meaningful employment. It allows them to overcome barriers in the workplace by providing specialized assistance, training, and adaptive strategies, empowering them to become active and valued members of the workforce. Supported employment first emerged in the 1980s, and since then, it has come a long way in helping people with disabilities become financially independent, socially included, and psychologically fulfilled.
I've had the pleasure of witnessing the impact of supported employment on the lives of the people Aspire supports. One young man with autism, struggled with finding employment due to the challenges he faced in social interactions and coping with change. With the help of a supportive employment job coach, he was able to secure a job in a local supermarket, where he received training and consistent on-the-job support. His transformative journey gave way for him to be an independent, confident worker.
It's important for employers to understand and embrace the notion that diversity is an asset in the workplace, and supported employment is an avenue to achieve this. Contributions from individuals with different skills, talents, and perspectives foster creativity and innovation, leading to a productive working environment. While providing accommodations and support might require an initial investment, the long-term benefits and enriched company culture are well worth it.
If you would like to join Aspire in strengthening the world of supported employment and the life-changing opportunities it has created for countless individuals with disabilities, please consider donating to support this initiative today. If you are a business in the community and would like to partner with Aspire to provide meaningful employment opportunities, please contact us!