Steps to Independence & Ready 2 Work Employment

Steps to Independence & Employment is programming for adults 21 and older

Ready 2 Work Employment Programs

People with Down syndrome are able and ready to work!

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.

Ready 2 Work Employment Academy

The Employment Academy is for adults ages 21+.  Students will explore and identify their passions, learn about opportunities, practice employment skills, and learn how to apply for the perfect job. It also gives our staff the opportunity to get to know what type of job might be a good fit and potentially find a match!

To sign up, download and complete the application and send to RSVP@dsagsl.org or mail to 8531 Page Ave, Suite 120.  St. Louis, MO 63114.  Please contact Employment Coordinator, Makini Anwisye with any questions. Makini@dsagsl.org

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.

If you are a self-advocate that is interested in being an employee of the Pop Up Snack Shop, please download and fill out the application and send to Andi McCormick at Andi@dsagsl.org or 8531 Page Ave, Suite 120. St. Louis, MO 63114.

If you are interested in having the pop-up snack shop at your business, please contact Andi McCormick at 314-961-2504 or Andi@dsagsl.org.

DSAGSL Office Internship Program

What better way to get work experience than an internship! The DSAGSL offers 1-year internships to adults with Down syndrome through our formal internship program. Interns will be paired with a staff person to work on various projects and events that take place throughout the busy DSAGSL year. We will set goals and have regular evaluations to ensure our interns are getting the most out of the program. At the end of the year, we hope to have found our interns paid, meaningful work in the community. 

To apply, please fill out the DSAGSL Office Internship Application and send to Makini@dsagsl.org or mail to 8531 Page Ave, Suite 120. St. Louis, MO 63114.

Social Events & Community Involvement

Socializing and networking with peers is important and fun! DSAGSL organizes group volunteer or a social events for adults from time to time, including events through the 21 Club, a group created by the DSAGSL Young Friends Board.  Check our calendar to find out what’s coming up soon.

Steps to Independence Classes

Classes focused on what it means to be a self-advocate, what it means to be a responsible adult, and what it means to have healthy relationships.  Check the calendar to see what we have coming up! You can email our Adult Services Coordinator, Makini@dsagsl.org with any questions.

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 information about our upcoming summit above.

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.

More Resources on Employment

Hiring People with Disabilities – It Just Makes Good Business Sense!

  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.