Massachusetts is home to a number of collaborative efforts to improve employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. This year, with funding from the Department of Developmental Services and the Department of Mental Health, these collaboratives will be 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). A new collaborative is being launched in the Northeast.
Employer liaisons will be working with each of these collaboratives, and the South Shore Collaborative on Employment has added an employer liaison through its partnership with the Institute for Community Inclusion. An additional collaborative staffed by an employer liaison will be launched in the Hampden and Franklin/Hampshire area in October.
All of the regional employment 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 last year.
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 email@example.com.
- Northeast Employment Collaborative: Kristianne Widman, Project Coordinator/Employer Liaison, (617) 352-2040, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Greater Boston Employment Collaborative: Marsha Knight, Project Coordinator/Employer Liaison, (617) 429-3695, email@example.com
- South Shore Collaborative on Employment: Dave Urban, Employer Liaison, (617) 287-4366, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Central Mass Employment Collaborative: David Beccia, Project Coordinator, (781) 686-8144, email@example.com
- Greater Merrimack Valley Employment Collaborative: Heather Mantell, Project Coordinator/Employer Liaison, (617) 512-3983, firstname.lastname@example.org