October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month! HabCenter Shines Light on Accomplishments of Special Needs Community!
How long have you been with HabCenter?
What makes HabCenter so unique for those with special needs in our community?
The unique and personalized approach to each client. Each client is treated as an individual with specific needs, goals, and strengths. The HabCenter staff takes the time to learn this important information about each client in order to support them appropriately.
Why did you choose to become involved?
I believe in the HabCenter’s mission. I want to be a part of a community that helps people with disabilities receive access to services that promote independence and increased quality of life.
What are your goals?
I want to change the employer’s perception that hiring someone with a disability is a liability, or that they will not work as hard as the next person. It is also important that people become comfortable with disclosing any disability they may have, so that in turn, they receive the accommodations that they are legally entitled to. No one deserves to be mistreated, especially for something that is out of their control. This begins with education. I want to educate employers so that they are knowledgeable and promote inclusion within the workplace.
What is your favorite aspect of HabCenter?
The staff and clients feel like an extended family to me. I believe that this sentiment is reciprocated, as clients seem to feel comfortable approaching both myself and other staff.
What would you want the community to know about the clients, programs and/or services at the HabCenter?
There is a widespread stigma about people with disabilities that they cannot work, be independent, or make decisions for themselves; not to mention the prejudice and discrimination they face in the workplace. It is important for the community to be aware of their own implicit bias, whether it’s subtle or overt. I want the community to be aware of how productive our clients are and how they are leading very “normal” lives. They are educated, can drive, be in relationships, and hold down jobs like everyone else.
Is there a specific memorable moment that stands out to you that made you think, “this is why I’m involved with HabCenter”?
I am fortunate that this happens frequently to me. When a client is successful in their job and they are appreciative and thankful for the help they received from the Supported Employment program at the HabCenter, it is very rewarding. It gives me hope and joy that they can continue on their path of independence and self-advocacy and that maybe I was a small part of that process.
About Supported Employment:
Launched in 2017, HabCenter has successfully placed 50 adults with disabilities in competitive, well-paying jobs. We have cultivated strong strategic partnerships with the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) to provide an intensive and responsive supported employment program that is effective in finding quality employment for adults with disabilities who want to work.
Our program includes job placement, on-the-job training and support, along with counseling to ensure clients are successful. Clients are in the program anywhere from 90-180 days; their cases are closed when they are hired and ready to take on their job responsibilities without support.
When we successfully place a client in competitive employment, we effectively increase their household income. Higher income results in an improved standard of living, including:
- Improved housing situations
- Access to better quality food (i.e. fresh meat, vegetables, fruit)
- Ability to afford cell phones/technology to communicate with loved ones
- Ability to afford toiletries and house/cleaning products
HabCenter’s Supported Employment program includes access to our holistic social services to help clients address personal and/or mental/behavioral challenges so they can be successful at work. Our staff are highly credentialed and supported by about 30 interns from local universities specializing in mental health. Also, our team takes the time needed to find jobs for clients that truly match their interests and strengths. We partner with local businesses committed to inclusion including Publix, GMS Connect, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, HomeGoods, French International School of Boca Raton, Costco, Eddy CPA Advisory & Solutions, and National Billing Institute.
If you would like to learn more or partner with us please contact us at 561 483.4200 or email us!