SkillsRI Introduces WorkABILITY Initiative to Close the Gap for People with Disabilities in the Rhode Island Workforce
In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, SkillsRI’s WorkABILITY initiative, piloted in partnership with Tiffany & Co. (Cumberland) and Cargill (North Kingstown), aims to help employers establish and meet their D&I goals
SkillsRI is thrilled to announce the launch of the WorkABILITY initiative to help break down employment barriers faced by people with disabilities across Rhode Island. In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the WorkABILITY initiative aims to drive awareness around the untapped pool of talent of people with disabilities and support a more inclusive workforce in Rhode Island through consultative services that will help employers establish and meet their diversity and inclusion goals.
“Today, approximately 25 percent of the population in Rhode Island identifies as having an intellectual/developmental, mental health or physical disability. Unfortunately, this same population experiences a disproportionately higher rate of unemployment at approximately 80 percent. Research shows hiring people with WorkABILITY leads to higher rates of retention, increased productivity for employees, increased profitability, better company morale and much more. The WorkABILITY initiative aims to better educate employers and collaborate to build programs that support hiring for this untapped pool of talent.”
Nina Pande, Executive Director of Skills for Rhode Island’s Future
Through SkillsRI’s WorkABILITY initiative, employers can:
- Access SkillsRI’s free consultative services to establish or meet diversity and inclusion goals, initiatives and education needs within their workforce
- Collaborate with SkillsRI’s team of hiring professionals to identify prescreened, uniquely qualified candidates to fill existing roles within an organization
- Build supported employment solutions and provide guidance in customizing roles as needed
- Access supportive services for candidates through SkillsRI’s broad network of community partners and providers
As part of the launch of this initiative, SkillsRI has partnered initially with Tiffany & Co. (Cumberland, RI) and Cargill (North Kingstown) to help offer candidates the opportunity for long-term, sustainable local opportunities.
SkillsRI’s WorkABILITY initiative is a result of a groundswell of support from the Person-Centered Supported Employment Performance Program (PCSEPP), a statewide initiative funded by the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals aimed at building a more inclusive environment with better-integrated services for individuals with disabilities. The program, led by Perspectives Corporation, represents a collaborative partnership among provider agencies including SkillsRI, AccessPoint RI and the J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center. WorkABILITY has also garnered the support of the State of RI Office of Rehabilitation Services.
“Perspectives Corporation, along with many employers from across our state, values the full inclusion of Rhode Islanders with disabilities in the workplace. At a time when employers are seeking committed talent, we are proud to partner with Skills for Rhode Island’s Future to connect job seekers with local businesses. Rhode Islanders with disabilities are ready to meet our hiring needs.”
-Kim Einloth, COO of Perspectives Corporation.
“CPNRI is thrilled with the launch of this initiative and we are eager to engage with SkillsRI alongside the many great employer partners. This is a long-awaited system-wide approach to advancing the interests of Rhode Islanders with disabilities in employment and creating a more inclusive community in our state.”
-Tina Spears, Executive Director of the Community Provider Network of Rhode Island
Employers interested in learning more about the WorkABILITY initiative and potentially getting involved can visit https://www.skillsforri.com/WorkABILITY.