Ability Beyond, a Chappaqua-based charity, recently received a $50,000 grant from the nonprofit PwC Foundation. The grant will help Ability Beyond connect jobseekers with a disability to employers looking to hire. Ability Beyond provides job training, supported housing, educational and recreational enrichment programs, and cognitive and life skills instruction to more than 3,000 people in the tri-state area who suffer from physical or mental disabilities.
Ability Beyond plans to use this grant to produce free webinars for both jobseekers and employers, providing both with the skills required to meet one another’s needs. The webinars for the jobseekers will teach them how to use Disability Solution’s Career Center to connect with participating employers in an anonymous database.
“In this era of record-low unemployment, nearly 40% of employers are having challenges hiring qualified employees, while at the same time one in five people in our country have some type of disability and are facing challenges in getting hired,” says Tracy Conte, Ability Beyond’s VP of Development and Community Engagement. “Utilizing our expertise, we will produce free webinars for each group to give them the skills and knowledge to meet each other’s needs.”
The webinars for the possible employers will be mainly aimed at Fortune 500 companies and will educate them more on disability talent, hiring, accommodations, and employee retention.
The videos will be designed by Disability Solutions, a division of Ability Beyond, which, since its inception, has partnered with large companies — including IPG, PepsiCo, Center Point Energy, and Office Depot — to attract and hire talented employees with disabilities. Thanks to Disability Solutions, these companies have hired more than 400 employees with disabilities since 2015. Individuals with disabilities count for 20% of the job seeking population, and the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is double that of people without disabilities.
“Many of our resources are already in place as we have cultivated partnerships with a national network of nonprofits, veteran’s groups and workforce agencies,” adds Conte. “The PwC Charitable Foundation’s contribution will allow us to continue fostering more inclusive workplace environments, while decreasing barriers to employment for people with disabilities.”
Ability Beyond has said that the monetary grant will aid them in helping employers find, attract, and hire talent with disabilities and provide employers a better understanding of how much business value a jobseeker can bring to the table.
Jobseekers will know how to better navigate through the online job application process, and they will be hired to meaningful jobs after they’ve completed the webinars and created an online profile.
The success of this initiative will be measured through how many employers were trained, analysis of pre-webinar and post-webinar surveys, how many jobseekers were prepared for employment, and hiring outcomes either reported by program participants or through the Disability Solutions Career Center.