$380,000 Kessler Foundation Grant to Help Train and Certify People with Disabilities for Advanced Manufacturing Jobs

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Foundation’s Signature Employment Grant given to New England Business Associates, Inc. in Springfield, MA to enable participants to enter the manufacturing field in an entry-level position that offers opportunities for career growth and economic sustainably.

“Advanced manufacturing is an industry that has significant openings for entry-level employment. There are opportunities for advancement for production workers, computer-numeric controlled machine operators, machinists, as well as quality control workers.” - Elaine E. Katz, Kessler Foundation.

Kessler Foundation has awarded a two-year, $380,000 Signature Employment Grant to New England Business Associates, Inc. (NEBA) in Springfield, MA to support four cohorts of twelve youth with disabilities attain Level 1 and Level 2 advanced manufacturing training and OSHA Certification through an intensive eight-week instructional program. This will enable participants to enter the manufacturing field in an entry-level position that offers opportunities for career growth and economic sustainably.

The grant is part of over $2.4 million in grants awarded by Kessler Foundation in 2019 to organizations across the U.S. to support initiatives that create and expand job training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

“Advanced manufacturing is not typically thought of as a career path for people with disabilities,” explained Elaine E. Katz, MS, CCC-SLP, senior vice president for grants and communications at Kessler Foundation. “This is an industry that has significant openings for entry-level employment. There are opportunities for advancement for production workers, computer-numeric controlled machine operators, machinists, as well as quality control workers.”

Workforce investment and economic development partners have allocated funding and have built successful certification and degree programs that run from 12-weeks to two-years to prepare individuals to enter this high demand industry. However, these programs have not traditionally included individuals with disabilities

“As an employment service provider, we have had on-going conversations with local manufacturing companies who see and understand the benefits of including this population in their recruitment strategies,” explained Jeannine Pavlak, CEO of New England Business Associates. “However these organizations have yet had experience hiring individuals with disabilities.”

The Learn to Earn Initiative is a collaboration between the manufacturing sector, the Workforce Investment Boards, the Employers Association of the Northeast, the Vocational Rehabilitation Department, the Department of Developmental Services, Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and NEBA. This core group of partners will identify the requirements participants will need when applying to the program and recruit manufacturing companies willing to hire and accommodate youth with disabilities.

Upon completion of an intensive three-week program, an additional online platform offering 850 additional manufacturing courses will be available to each participant that matches the individuals’ and their employers’ needs. Each participant will also take part in NEBA’s Career Ladder’s program, receiving benefits counseling, interview preparedness skills, resume writing, soft skills for the workplace, and develop a plan to manage and reduce their public benefits.

NEBA employment staff will work closely with the participants and manufacturing companies to identify the appropriate match based on the participant’s long-term interests and goals as well as the overall fit for both the participant and manufacturing company.

About New England Business Associates, Inc.
NEBA operates with the belief and assumption that all people who wish to work can and should work. NEBA has successfully placed thousands of individuals in the workforce in a job/career of their choice over the span of 35 years. Employment provides more than a paycheck and a beginning towards self-sufficiency. It also provides an opportunity to contribute, a chance to participate and be acknowledged for a job well done, provides a sense of accomplishment, and an opening to develop meaningful relationships necessary for all individuals to thrive. The mission of NEBA is to enable people who face barriers to be fully included in community life through employment and become economically empowered. Our vision is that NEBA provides the best employment services that meet the needs of individuals with disabilities, local businesses, and have a positive impact on our communities’ economic and societal conditions. For more information, visit nebaworks.com.

About Kessler Foundation
Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit KesslerFoundation.org.

Apply Now
Kessler Foundation is accepting applications now for its 2020 grant programs. To learn more and to apply, please visit our website. Signature Employment Grants applications are due February 14, 2020. Community Employment Grants applications are due by April 6, 2020. Inquires accepted for Special Initiative Grants on a rolling basis.

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Contact information:
Kessler Foundation
Carolann Murphy, PA
973-324-8382
CMurphy@KesslerFoundation.org

Rob Gerth
973-323-3675
RGerth@KesslerFoundation.org

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