The world of work is where we grow and contribute. It is a way to belong. Kelvice, came to AADD seeking employment services so he could attain stable employment, help care for his family and feel good about his accomplishments.
Kelvice received employment skills training at AADD and worked with his employment specialist to find a job that matched his interest and skill set. Today, Kelvice works at Georgia Spice where he helps fill and label seasoning packets. “Some of my favorite people are my coworkers,” says Kelvice. “Working is important to me because it helps me to pay the bills, take care of my son, and meet new people.”
Since he started working at Georgia Spice, Kelvice has received a Golden Goals Achievement Award from Georgia Community Support & Solutions and recently got a raise. At AADD, we help open doors for people so they can earn fair wages, contribute and gain a sense of pride, like Kelvice has.
However, more than 1,300 students with a primary disability diagnosis of Intellectual / Developmental Disability left high school in Georgia last year, yet only 400 people received waivers that would offer employment services. Some 7,500 individuals remain on the waiting list and will experience an average wait of nine years. If we don’t provide supported employment opportunities, the likelihood that these individuals will ever become employed decreases each year and the skills they have achieved in school decline.
While AADD is lobbying for an increase to state funded employment programs, scholarships for our private-pay program are needed for us to expand our reach to individuals who are not able to access state services.
The key to gainful employment for young adults with developmental disabilities is job identification and matching for each individual, job training, job modification, mentoring and support. These elements make up the essence of the supported and customized employment models our employment services provide. People with developmental disabilities are no different. They want to work and with your support, we can help Kelvice and others do so.