Ready 2 Work! DSAGSL’s New Employment Initiative

The DSAGSL has heard from parents and community agencies about the trials and tribulations people with Down syndrome face when looking for and retaining employment.Our goal is to develop an initiative that involves agency support, employer relations, community engagement, and parent and self-advocate education. We can only succeed with your help! Below are ways that you can support us so we can support YOU!

Ready 2 Work Academy -Enroll your son or daughter in our Employment Academy.  It will enable them explore and identify their passions, learn about opportunities, practice employment skills, and learn how to apply for the perfect job.

Ready 2 Work Jr. Academy- Establishing a partnership with families when students are in high school is key to getting a start on job-readiness for post-graduation.  Volunteer work and internships are a great way to get started, as well as summer classes, job-site visits, and one-on-one mentoring.

Pop Up Snack Shop Micro-Business – A food truck without the truck! This mobile snack shop is run by individuals with Down syndrome, from marketing decisions, to assembly to, direct sales.  Individuals receive job skills and communication skills training, as well as learn the ins and outs of running a small business.  This portable shop moves from business to business selling “snack-packs” to hungry staff.

Advocacy- There are easy ways for you as parents and support persons to advocate for our loved one’s with Down syndrome regarding employment:

  1. Share the following facts about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities with a business you know.
  2. Join our Corporate Advisory Board which meets quarterly by phone for networking and strategic brainstorming. Email Erin@dsagsl.org.
  3. Invite your company or a business you frequent to attend our Employer Summits held throughout the year to meet our newest Employment Academy grads and learn about hiring. Our next summit is coming up soon and we have an amazing guest speaker.  Check out the flyer below.
  4. Ask if your spouse’s office, neighbor’s office, or your own office building will host our Pop-Up Snack Shop.  E-mail Makini@dsagsl.org for more information.
  5. Share your son/daughter’s success story with us! The more we can help our members shine, the more businesses will believe that this mission is possible!
  6. Volunteer to mentor and coach folks in our Academy and Jr. Academy. Like anyone else, our grads need support in networking, practicing skills, and brainstorming job ideas.

Employment Summit-

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Hiring People with Disabilities – It Just Makes Good Business Sense!
(From ThinkBeyondTheLabel.com)

  1. It is a return on investment: By hiring people with disabilities, a business can access new markets, improve productivity through innovation, reduce hiring and training costs, and increase retention.
  2. New and exciting marketing opportunities: Customers with disabilities and their families, friends, and associates represent a trillion dollar market segment. A large number of Americans also say they prefer to patronize businesses that hire people with disabilities.
  3. Think innovation: Employees with disabilities bring unique experiences and understanding that transform a workplace and enhance products and services. People with disabilities can help create more efficient and effective business processes, use technology in new ways to increase productivity, and stimulate new product and services development.

Other Employment Resources for Job Seekers and Businesses

Small Business and Disability Employment: Steps to Success

The DSAGSL Ready 2 Work Program is generously supported by: