Massachusetts is home to a number of collaborative efforts to improve employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. With funding from the Department of Developmental Services and the Department of Mental Health, these collaboratives are growing in size and scope.
Riverside Community Care is supporting the expansion of the Central Massachusetts Employment Collaborative, as well as the relaunch of the Greater Boston Employment Collaborative and the Greater Merrimack Valley Employment Collaborative (formerly the Merrimack Valley Partnership). New collaboratives are also being launched in the Northeast and in the Hampden and Franklin/Hampshire area.
Employer liaisons will be working with each of these collaboratives. All of the collaboratives have a cross-disability focus, and welcome membership from the full range of employment service providers in their region.
###How can you benefit from the collaboratives?
The collaboratives work like a portal. They contact and engage a wide variety of employers, determine their needs, and help them match potential job opportunities with qualified applicants with disabilities.
The employment liaisons work with employers who have a presence in multiple regions. And collaborative members in each region join a job developers network to coordinate their efforts and share job leads.
This approach allows each collaborative to develop an expansive network of employers. So if you’re helping someone with a disability find employment, working through the collaboratives saves you time. Also, your clients will have access to the diverse career opportunities available in your region.
Employers appreciate the collaborative approach because it creates a single point of access where they can go to find qualified applicants as well as increase the diversity of their workforce.
Most importantly, the collaboratives model works. The Central Massachusetts Collaborative alone helped successfully place approximately 170 job seekers in 2013.
To connect with your local collaborative, contact the employment liaison in your region (see the list below). For general information, contact Stephanie L. Marks, MEd, Director, Employment Collaboratives, at Riverside Community Care, at (781) 686-8146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Northeast Employment Collaborative: Kristianne Widman, Project Coordinator/Employer Liaison, (617) 352-2040, email@example.com
Greater Boston Employment Collaborative: Marsha Knight, Project Coordinator/Employer Liaison, (617) 429-3695, firstname.lastname@example.org
South Shore Collaborative on Employment: Dave Urban, Employer Liaison, (617) 287-4366, email@example.com
Central Mass Employment Collaborative: David Beccia, Project Coordinator, (781) 686-8144, firstname.lastname@example.org
Greater Merrimack Valley Employment Collaborative: Heather Mantell, Project Coordinator/Employer Liaison, (617) 512-3983, email@example.com