Internships pave job road for people with disabilities
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Internships pave job road for people with disabilities

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MetroWest ABLE (Access, Belonging, and Life Enrichment for People and Families with Special Needs) is the community’s network of agencies and community leaders that serve and advocate for individuals with special needs and their families. MetroWest ABLE is making connections within our Jewish community to raise awareness and support meaningful inclusion of people with special needs and their families in every aspect of Jewish life in MetroWest. MetroWest ABLE is funded by the UJA Campaign, the Linda Bunis Haller Foundation, and the Joyce and Leonard Kulick Fund for Special Needs. For more information, contact Rebecca Wanatick, community coordinator, at 973-929-3129 or rwanatick@jfedgmw.org or visit metrowestABLE.org

Many job seekers are putting internships on the top of their “to do” list as they strive to find a job in today’s tough labor market. Internships give them the opportunity to work with professionals in their chosen field and showcase their talents to prospective employers. 

More and more employers are increasingly using internships as a tool to fill their open positions and some of these interns happen to be people with disabilities who have discovered the many advantages that come with the right internship.

Job seekers with disabilities at JVS of MetroWest are learning first-hand the power of the internship and how it can give them an opportunity to test the waters. Do I like this job? Am I good at it? What is going to be expected of me? These are all questions that can run through any job seeker’s mind and maybe more so if you are a person with a disability who has never worked before. 

A 26-year-old Rutgers University graduate with a learning disability recently interned for four months at a boutique Parsippany law firm. This experience helped him to clarify his career goals, learn job expectations, and build his work history. He came away from this experience with excellent references and a renewed focus on his job search. 

Another JVS client, a 23–year-old woman with a passion for music, landed an internship at a music store near her home in Livingston. The employer was initially a little hesitant about bringing onboard an intern with an autism spectrum disorder; however, she performed so well, she was quickly hired to assist with all aspects of the business including sales, stock work, and even tuning instruments. 

Both of these individuals with disabilities state that without a doubt their internship steered their job search in the right direction.

JVS provides internships and a variety of job placement and supported employment services to individuals with disabilities. To refer a candidate, or to list a job opening, contact Rebecca Shulman, manager of rehabilitation services, at rshulman@jvsnj.org. 

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