Fall Issue 2021
across the board
Across the Board
03 Support Employment Family Style
05 Transitioning Disabilities into
07 Ticket to Work, IRWE and
PASS it on!
09 Entering the Workforce What to Say
(or not) about a Disability
11 Supported Employment
13 Customized Employment
15 Minding Your Own Business
17 Competitive Employment
19 Job Roundup Chicago
21 At Your Service
Susie Redfern, is the parent of a special
needs child who recently “aged out”
of the public-school system.
She developed Milestones Magazine
to help individuals with disabilities
and their families achieve and celebrate
events and milestones in their lives.
Many folks, including people with disabilities, get their first job in the family
business. Some of these individuals stay with, and eventually take over, the
business. For individuals with disabilities, the term “supported employment”
is often used in association with these family work settings.
A publication, “Building Bridges to the future” (created through a grant from
the Coleman Foundation, and distributed to Illinois families of teens, ages
14-21 enrolled in transition programs at their school), describes supported
employment this way.
“In this program, organizations seek employment opportunities in the local
community for the individuals they serve. A job match is conducted to pair the
right job for the right individual. Full and part tie employment opportunities
are developed and the individual is provided training and support by a job coach
hired by the organization.”
In Illinois, supported employment is available for individuals with significant
disabilities who have an open case at the Division of Rehab. Services (DRS) and
referred to a (typically) non-profit organization (every state has its own procedures
on how this is done).
However, not all individuals with disabilities can, or wish to, receive this
assistance. For those folks, “natural supports” are the norm, usually supplied
by the employer (often a family member) and co-workers (as applicable). This
is especially true when a business has been created by/for the individual
(sometimes called a micro-enterprise) based on his/her interests and talents.
On that note, I am pleased to introduce Terri
Jordan, co-author of the article “Let’s Get
Cooking”, which appeared in the last issue of
Milestones Magazine. Terri’s son assembles The
Color-Coded Chef kits for shipment. I invite her
to write about the supports she provides her son
while on the job.
I brought my friend’s daughter into work to
move along the path from following directions
to giving directions. My son had to tell and
show her the steps needed to clean the room,
assemble the kits and restock merchandise
without help from an adult. We are now
adjusting the job from following instructions to
learning communication skills rounding out the
“A couple of years ago, when my son and I
started this process, the first task was determining
the best method of communication to do the
individual. While the tasks may be repetitious,
we are developing the thought processes in the
individual by expressing the work in a new way.
job. Verbal prompts work to a point, but they
also teach the employee to wait for a prompt
before moving to the next task. To help my
son be a bit more independent, I chose visual
communication. I created a task sheet with
simple pictures to provide the steps needed to
complete the assembly of the kit. However, in a
The next stage in developing job skills will
empower the individual to recognize obstacles
and encourage them to improve the job position.
One step at a time, taking the challenges
of work and making them opportunities in work
will be the cornerstone of success.”
job setting, a person does not just come in and
do this one task and leave. Additional sheets
are used to provide the steps needed to
complete before and after the kit assembly,
Terri Jordan can be reached by phone at
636-422-1515, on Facebook, www.facebook.
com/thecolorcodedchef, or through her
like wiping down the tables and disposal of the
wipes into the proper receptacle, restocking
the merchandise on the shelves for the next day
of the assembly.
I created a task sheet
with simple pictures
to provide the steps needed
to complete the assembly
of the kit.
Disabilities into the Workforce
My one heartache as a special education teacher is when I find
Lead-In to Employment:
High School Transition
out that my students that have graduated are home; not working
or in a program. My goal for them is dignity and quality of life.
For most students in a public-school setting, even with severe
disabilities, there is something for them after graduation. In
Preparing for adult life is a process that, in some ways,
can start as young as infancy. But the largest portion of
this process usually occurs during a child’s teens and
young adult years, when they often get their first job,
stretch their legs, so to speak, with extracurricular
activities, and prepare for college or other post-secondary
experiences. For students with disabilities, their high
the case of my students, it does take more planning than their
I teach a self-contained special education class of students with
severe disabilities. They all have an Intellectual Disability and
most are comorbid with Autism, ADHD, Speech and Language
Impairments, and Orthopedic Impairments. Their IQs are all
60 and below.
school experience may include extra supports, which
can extend beyond the traditional graduation at age 18.
I am pleased to introduce Linda Gilmartin, a special
education teacher from New York, to give a glimpse
into her high school transition classroom.
Our classroom is a fun, family type setting where academics and
social skills are learned. These students are treated as I would
treat my own children. They have responsibilities and are
expected to act appropriately. My vision for them when I get
them in 9th grade, is how can I prepare this student for their
particular future? It is different for each student.
I ensure that they reach their individual potential academically
to give them quality of life. They are expected to do most things
themselves and learned helplessness is not an option. The only
way to fully achieve this is when the parents are totally on board.
When that happens, magic happens. Then the student knows
this is real life, not just school life, and it becomes second nature
I have a book on Amazon entitled, “Transitioning Special Needs
Teenagers”, which goes more into detail about everything I have
outlined above, including some real-life stories. In addition, I
have a Facebook group, entitled, “Transitioning Teens/Adults
with Disabilities Life After High School”. It currently has almost
3k members and I research valuable resources and post them,
other people do the same and it gives parents a chance to see
what is out there. I started that group when I realized it is not
We also have a school to work study program. When the
students turn 16, they can participate in this program. They go
out 2 days per week for 2 hours at different job sites throughout
the year. When they are seniors, they go out for 4 days. This is
every special education teacher’s job to do the transitioning
preparation that I do. It is my vision that the Facebook group is
doing that. I archive those resources on my website,
to help the individuals experience the work force and their
options for post-graduation. For some students they can be
enrolled in the Employment Training Program and be paid by
It truly is an honor and a privilege to be a part of this process for
these wonderful teens.
the state for 2 years in the hopes that the student will prove
themselves worthy to be hired outright by the employer.
The other part of this is the application process for state
services. This begins in 9th grade we fill out the application
for OPWDD which is the state service for New York. I gather
Special Needs Teenagers
the necessary documents to attach and it gets sent to the state
for review. Then it is something that needs to be checked up on
constantly to be sure they are not lost in the system. It can take
a good 2 years before a student is qualified. Then they receive a
Care Manager. This Care Manager will have their finger on all
the state services that the student can utilize to be productive
after high school.
Editor’s Note: In Illinois, transition programs for qualifying
students end at age 22 (or, with recent legislation, the end of the
school year in which a child turns 22). Vocational services are
available for those deemed eligible with the Division of
Rehab. Services (DRS), who contracts their case out to, typically,
a non-profit agency that serves adults with disabilities. Another
side of this coin is Home-Based Services, a Medicaid-waiver
program, which helps families find and pay for community
My job is all about collaboration with parents, Care Managers,
and Job Coaches. When we are all on the same page. I know that
students will be busy 5 days a week after high school. Even if it
is one or two-days part time, with the others in a program or
activities, vocational training/employment, housing options,
and so on, according to each family’s circumstances and needs.
These supports sometimes come right when a teen has “aged
out” of the school system, making for a seamless transition,
volunteer work, they are productive members of a community.
but more often than not, there is a years-long gap.
Ticket to Work,
Finding/keeping a job, especially the first
job, can be a struggle for anyone. That old
“Catch-22”, “you can’t get experience without
a job; you can’t get a job without experience”
can be an obstacle for anyone. This can be
especially true for people with disabilities.
In addition to the usual obstacles to
employment, some folks with disabilities
are concerned about losing government
benefits, in particular with Medicaidwaiver
programs and/or Supplemental
Security Income (SSI) if their assets (income
not spent in any given month) goes over the
typical $2000 limit.
There are a number of strategies to deal with this
obstacle. I am outlining a couple here, courtesy of
“Ticket to Work (TTW)
The TTW Program is an innovative program that
can connect you with free employment services to
help you decide if working is right for you, prepare
for work, find a job or maintain success while you
are working. It is a free and voluntary service. If you
choose to participate, you will receive services such
as career counseling, vocational rehabilitation, and
job placement and training from authorized Ticket
to Work service providers.
Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWE)
Social Security can deduct the cost of certain items,
such as transportation services, medical devices, etc.,
that are directly related to your disability and you must
have to work. This means that when Social Security
measures your income compared to the benefit limit,
they will subtract the cost of these expenses.
Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS)
A PASS allows you to set-aside expenses related
to achieving a work goal. These expenses may
include start-up funding for a business, a
vocational assessment, training, etc. Social Security
does not count the income you set aside when they
calculate your SSI payment amount or eligibility
for SSI. For example, a PASS Must be specific to
achieve a detailed work.”
Thanks to Autism Speaks for this information. You can
access the complete article, and further information
at this link: www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/
ENTERING THE WORKFORCE
What to say (or not) about a Disability
For teens or adults who have a condition or disability
that is not obvious to a potential employer, the issue of
whether to disclose it can be paramount. An employer is
not legally permitted to ask, but also is not obligated to
offer any accommodations for a condition he/she
doesn’t know about.
To address this complicated question, I am pleased to
introduce Jim Hasse, ABC, GCDF, owner of Hasse
Communication Counseling, LLC, who, as a person
with cerebral palsy, served for 10 years as a vice
president in a Fortune 500 company during his
29-year career in corporate communication. He’s an
Accredited Business Communicator, certified as a
Global Career Development Facilitator and author
of 14 Amazon books about disability awareness
and disability employment issues.
This is an abbreviated version of his article, which
appeared in an earlier issue of Milestones Magazine.
“When to disclose disability (on a job application, on a resume,
before a job interview etc.) is a key issue you need to discuss with
the job applicant.
Strategy 2: Disclosing your disability as soon as possible
Include a “Personal Statement,” a few paragraphs in length on a
separate sheet or document, with your resume. In this statement,
briefly describe your condition and explain what adaptive
As a career development facilitator, I tell my clients this:
strategies you use to get your work done.
“When to tell prospective employers about your disability
depends on your disability, your job opportunity, your
personality and your prospective employer.”
Strategy 3: Positioning your disability as a competitive edge
Instead of selecting an option for when to reveal your condition
to a prospective employer (as though your disability always has
In other words, this disability disclosure issue goes far beyond
the job application. And there are no easy answers. Yet, every job
seeker with a disability eventually needs to personally come up
to be a negative factor), turn the table 180 degrees. Position
your disability experience as your competitive edge and target
employers who claim to be disability friendly.
with a strategy for addressing this matter.
Those are the options I believe your high school student with
Remember, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),
your child is not required to disclose his or her condition to an
employer, even though it may just be a mom or pop candy store
down the street. And, if and when your child does disclose, he or
condition faces as he or she struggles with this sometimes-tough
disability disclosure issue that crops up as soon as his or her first
job application needs to be completed. Which to choose boils
down to personal preference and personal situation.
she is not required to tell everything about the personal aspects
of his/her condition. In other words, once your child discloses
But, here’s another wrinkle to this issue.
the condition. a potential employer can only ask for limited
information about that disability.
On March 24, 2014, new rules for Section 503 of the
Rehabilitation Act took effect, covering employers who are
Upon request, information about disability can be confidential.
federal contractors or subcontractors.
Your child’s co-workers do not need to know about his or her
condition or the need for accommodations.
The new rules require federal contractors and subcontractors
to aspire to, and track progress toward, employing individuals
With those guidelines in mind, consider these three potential
disclosure strategies, which are largely mutually exclusive. Each
option largely stands on its own, has important advantages as
well as disadvantages and should be applied only after careful
examination of your particular situation and of the potential
Called an aspirational goal, covered employers must now
attain, or show progress toward attaining, a workforce that
consists of at least seven percent of people with disabilities.
That new ruling may affect which disclosure strategy your
child eventually chooses.
Strategy 1: Getting your foot in the door first
Don’t reveal your condition on your job application, resume or
cover letter (even if you have gaps in your work experience due to
your condition) because it will potentially trigger preconceived,
inaccurate notions about disability among the people screening
So, choosing a course of action with personal capabilities, job,
employer and competitors in mind -- and following through with
that strategy -- is even more essential to getting hired in today’s
part-time job market (and tomorrow’s mainstream workplace).
resumes for the open position.
Editor’s note: Although this article is addressed to parents of high school students,
the same principles apply to individuals with disabilities of any age. M
Licensed to practice in
California and Colorado
for a Child with
Learn about the
Special Needs Trust
Email for your free
Family Asset Protection
Survival Guide or call for
your free consultation
with Diedre Braverman,
Finding/keeping a job, especially the
first job, can be a struggle for anyone.
That old “Catch-22”, “you can’t get
experience without a job; you can’t
get a job without experience” can
be an obstacle for anyone. This can
be especially true for people with
There are several terms bandied
around in discussions of resources/
services available to help people with
challenges prepare for, find, and keep
a job or career. One of these terms is
I am pleased to reference the website of Clearbrook,
one of many agencies in the Chicago area (and across
the country), who provide supported employment
services, to explain what supported employment is,
and what supports and techniques they use to help
their clients prepare for, find, and keep a job that
meets supported employment standards.
The length of time for which individuals are
supported, and the number of hours for which
Clearbrook’s Supported Employment Program helps
place individuals (age 18 or above) in a variety of
supervised work settings within the community.
Initially trained and supervised by a job coach, clients
receive the on-site training and support needed to
individuals are supported, depend on individual needs.
The goal is to phase out support so the individuals
can do their jobs independently and successfully.
Individuals receive at least minimum wage, and
transportation is provided by Clearbrook if needed.
be successful at their job.
For more info, please contact Ilene Rosenberg
The first step in the process is for individuals to meet
with a Job Developer, to find out about the clients’
by phone at 847-385-5395 or email at
interests and abilities. The Job Developer then works
closely with the individuals to identify and match them
with local openings, and helps clients through the
application and interview process. A Community
Employment Supervisor participates in, and oversees,
the proceedings. Job Coaches provide training and
Editor’s note: In Illinois, agencies (such as Clearbrook)
that provide free employment services typically
contract with the Illinois Division of Rehab Services
(DRS) to serve people who have an open case
with DRS. M
coaching for individuals on the job.
Finding/keeping a job, especially the first job, is not
always easy. That old “Catch-22”, “you can’t get
experience without a job; you can’t get a job without
experience” can stymie your efforts. For people with
disabilities, that can be
especially true. Some folks
in this situation (and their
families/supporters) may try
to get around this by creating
(or carving out) a job.
That’s where “Customized
Customized Employment is
one strategy to help people
with challenges prepare for,
find, and keep a job or
career. In the world of
the first name that comes up
Associates. I am pleased to
reference their website to explain what customized
employment is, and what supports and techniques they
use to help their clients prepare for, find, and keep a job
that meets customized employment standards.
Griffin-Hammis Associates is a consulting firm that
partners with government agencies, employment
providers, and business leaders. They offer Discovering
Personal Genius. training to organizations, who then
use the customized employment approach in their own
work with individuals and families. They also mentor
Once jobs are created, Griffin-Hammis also supports the
employment specialists in building company cultures
that are inclusive to employees with challenges.
In 2012, TotalLink was the recipient of a grant from
the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities in
partnership with the Northern Suburban Special
Education District (NSSED) and Griffin-Hammis
So, cutting to the chase, just what, exactly, is
Discovering Personal Genius.. Based on information
on the Griffin-Hammis website, it is a process that starts
with meeting people in their homes to understand what
they’re all about: their skills, interests, and supportive
relationships. From there, opportunities are identified to
create or individualize jobs in ways that help both the
individual and employer. Once a job match is made,
Associates (GHA). The Everyone Works! Initiative
utilized best practice strategies of Customized
Employment to develop competitive and integrated
employment for students and young adults with
intellectual and developmental disabilities within
the NSSED catchment area. Since that first grant,
TotalLink has helped place over 150 job seekers in
jobs in the community.
GHA mentors the employment specialist to provide
training and coaching on the job site as well as
long-term career development tools.
TotalLink2 Community believes that community
workplaces can and should reflect the makeup of the
people who live in our communities. People with
GHA has additional resource materials (links below)
available on the topic of Customized Employment. They
can be contacted by phone at 470-223-3936 or by email
at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are on Facebook:
developmental disabilities need and want to work.
They want to be paid real wages and feel valued as
employees. The TotalLink2 Community vision of
inclusive employment means that every person with
a disability who wants to work is employed.
Here are some PDF links.
For more information about TotalLink2 Community and
its services, please visit their website at www.totallink2.
• Bringing Fidelity to Customized Employment Processes
org or contact them at email@example.com.
• Customized Not Customized
• Developing Vocational Themes Workbook v2
• Rural Routes to Employment Manual
• What’s Customized About it
Editor’s Note: I am also pleased to share this
announcement and resource, from the website of
Connect to Community, another agency involved in
customized employment initiatives.
There have been folks, in the Chicago area, and across
the country, who have taken the customized employment
ball and run with it. One such organization is TotalLink2
Community. Here’s their story:
“Thanks to community funding from Palatine Township
and support from the Hoffman Estates Commission for
People with Disabilities, CTC is happy to be able to share
video recordings of our Friday Forum and Transition
TotalLink2 Community is a Northbrook, Illinois-based
non-profit focused on ensuring young adults with
intellectual or developmental (I/DD) disabilities can
thrive by working, socializing, and contributing to their
Summit seminars in the hopes that those who are unable
to attend, can still access the information at their
convenience. For more information about CTC seminars
and events, visit https://ConnectToCommunityInc.org” M
communities – and making their workplaces and
communities better for it. TotalLink was founded in 2008
by six strong moms with a shared vision. They realized
that their children with disabilities would need the best
services and support in order to realize their hopes
your own business
Some folks, with or without disabilities, look
to “hang out a shingle”, so to speak, and create
a business of their own, using their own talents
and interests. These can be in “white collar”
professions (such as doctor, lawyer, accountant),
“blue collar” trades (electrician, plumber,
advice did not come with any practical suggestions
for starting a micro-enterprise and making it into a
profitable, enjoyable, and fulfilling venture for all
involved. So, like the Little Red Hen, I will do that
myself (but don’t expect a loaf of bread at the end of
carpenter), creative/performing arts (artist,
writer, photographer, musician), and a host
of other possibilities.
The conception and birth of a micro-enterprise
can start with four one-word questions: who, what,
where, and how (not necessarily in that order).
Whatever direction you go, for an aspiring
entrepreneur (with or without disabilities),
you need more than a wing and a prayer. The
following article, written several years ago by
Milestones Magazine publisher Susie Redfern,
provides some tips and resources.
What do I plan to do or make, produce, distribute,
and sell? Some people base a business on a talent or
skill for which they have an interest, maybe even a
passion, such as painting. Others design or invent a
product that solves a problem affecting them or
The Birth, Care, Feeding, and
Maintenance of a Micro-enterprise
Entrepreneurship (as in owning/operating a
business) is a milestone/goal to which some aspire,
and one to which some people with disabilities
regard as preferable. Its potential for income
coming from something you like to do and are
good at without having to be hired and fit into an
established workplace can be attractive.
a family member; such as an easy-fastening
mechanism for people who have arthritis. Still
others base a business on a service that businesses
and individuals need: lawns have to be cut, papers
shredded, attics cleaned, and so on. And some
people and businesses don’t have the time, ability,
or desire to do these things themselves, so they’re
willing to “outsource” them (which is where you
As the parent of a child with a disability, this option,
suggested for my son from school district transition
personnel, basically amounts to “go forth and
micro-enterprise”. Though I know it’s probably
grammatically (though perhaps not politically)
incorrect to use micro-enterprise as a verb, this may
not be such bad advice, especially for the more
To whom do you plan to sell your product/service.
Some, by their very nature, are local, so potential
customers or clients are folks in your neck of the
woods. Lawns cannot be exported to China. Others,
with the help of computers and the internet, can be
regional, national, or even global in scope.
entrepreneurially minded among us. However, the
Where will the product be displayed or sold?
Artistic work typically shows up at art galleries,
“flea market” type events and websites such as
Etsy. Writers can blog. Clothing products can be
sold at retail stores (usually distributed through
Life’s Plan Inc. Pooled Trust Services,
Life’s Plan Inc. Pooled Trust Services periodically
offers Micro-industry grants of up to $2,000 for
adults with disabilities or mental illness who meet
Social Security’s disability eligibility criteria under
Social Security’s Supplemental Security Income
program. This is a one-time award for individuals
How will the product be displayed or sold? This
question is similar to the where question, and can
often produce the same answer.
or partnerships (less than 4 people). Details about
proposal requirements can be found at Life’s Plan’s
website and questions/inquiries can be emailed to
Scott Nixon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you may have realized by now, answers to these 4
questions often overlap, and collectively can provide
the underpinnings of a business plan. A business
plan, whether informal or professionally done, helps
you focus on the essentials of your business. It is
required if you will approach a traditional loan
source, such as a bank, for financing. And it may
be necessary for types of creative financing, such as
venture capital, whether from an established fund or
Local (Chicago Area) Micro-Enterprise
The Perk Center Cafe is a not-for-profit business
enterprise created through Great Potentials, Inc.
and by four parents and one sibling of an individual
with intellectual/developmental disabilities. It is a
collaboration with the Glenview Park District, who
donates the space for the Cafe. The Perk Center
Cafe’s goals are four-fold: to provide employment,
volunteer, and vocational training opportunities to
individuals with developmental disabilities; to offer
good quality food to customers; to build positive
The following resources are both based in the
Chicago area. Life’s Plan Inc. Pooled Trust Services
can help with financing for individuals who meet
their criteria. Perk Center Café can serve as an
example or inspiration for folks looking to start
their own micro-enterprise.
relationships in the community; and to serve as
model to others who might wish to create businesses
for the purpose of employment of people with
disabilities. Feel free to visit the website:
perkcentercafe.org or contact Gail Metrick at
Finding/keeping a job, especially the first
job, can be difficult, even in the current job
market, where many more jobs are there
just for the asking. That old “Catch-22”,
“you can’t get experience without a job;
you can’t get a job without experience”
can still hold true, especially for some
people with disabilities.
There are several terms bandied around
in discussions of resources/services
available to help people with challenges
prepare for, find, and keep a job or career.
One of these terms is competitive
employment. I am pleased to reference
the website of Aspire for information about
their Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Career
Academy, which helps clients prepare for
and launch a career focused on jobs that
meet competitive employment standards.
Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Career
Academy is set up for adults with
disabilities to discover and pursue
rewarding jobs. Curriculum includes
exploring career interests and strengths;
learning the specific skills needed for jobs
they’re interested in; and finding a good
employment fit that allows their careers to
take off. Training and coaching are at each
The Academy is an innovative solution that helps enhance job
readiness for persons with disabilities as well as provide training
and consultation with companies to bolster their diversity, equity
and inclusion initiatives. By working with job-seekers and
forward and pursue meaningful employment
safely during the current pandemic
and completely eliminates physical access
as a barrier.
employers, Aspire works to create sustainable employment
opportunities in communities across Chicagoland.
For more information about Aspire’s
Competitive Employment programs and
Industries in the scope of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Career
Academy include (but are not limited to) Food Service, Hotel and
Hospitality, Healthcare, Health Clubs, Information Technology,
Office Management, and Retail Warehouse.
services, please contact Herbert Washington,
Chief Innovation Officer at Aspire, by
email at email@example.com.
Herb is in charge of Aspire CoffeeWorks,
Community Employment, Inclusion
Aspire has a Virtual Training Academy that can serve clients age
Consulting, Life on My Own, and
16 and older through Zoom. Individuals with learning disabilities,
autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or other disabilities are
eligible. This virtual option allows individuals to push their skills
Milestones Magazine is pleased
to provide a sample of companies
in the Chicago area whose
workforce consists, in whole or
part, of people with disabilities.
Please contact each company
directly with any specific,
individual questions you have
about hiring practices, work
accommodations, or any
Trains and employs adults with autism to do QA,
software and hardware testing (90% of workforce is
neurodivergent and on the autism spectrum). Statistics
from the “Autism in the Workplace” article, courtesy of
Aspiritch employee Matt Hemauer, which was published
in an earlier issue of Milestones Magazine.
The Bazaar, Inc.
The Bazaar, Inc. specializes in branded wholesale closeouts.
Long-term goals involve hiring 50% of the workforce with people
with diverse backgrounds, including those with disabilities. Currently
30% of the company’s workforce comes from diverse backgrounds.
(Information for this synopsis comes from the company website and
a collaborative article published in the Spring 2021 issue of
Aspiritech, Chicago, 550 W Van Buren, Ste 330,
Chicago IL 60607, 312-546-0750;
About The Bazaar Inc.
1900 5th Ave, River Grove IL 60171, 267-265-8172
Aspiritech, NFP: 1893 Sheridan Rd, Ste 103,
Highland Park IL 60035, 312-945-8378.
Bradley Nardick, CEO;
Garret Rosiek, Director of Employee Experience and Engagement,
Brenda & Moshe Weitzberg, Co-Founders;
Reanin Stone, Employment Support Specialist
job Roundup Chicago
Aspire Chicago: Social Enterprises -
Coffee is roasted by Metropolis Coffee Company and then
labeled, scooped and packaged by a team of adults of all
Dave Friedman, father of a then-student at LADSE (a special
education coop) in 2012, AutonomyWorks was created to
use the unique skills and talents of people with autism in
disabilities. All net proceeds support Aspire’s services.
Visit their website for details or to make a purchase.
from the website of AutonomyWorks (paraphrase)
A professional studio, providing possibilities for people with
AutonomyWorks takes over the process of design, staffing, and
management of repetitive operational tasks for client companies.
disabilities to become professional artists. The studio offers its
artists the chance to build a career in the arts by selling their
artwork, while serving as a platform for disability awareness
and inclusion in communities.
The Douglas Center
The Douglas Center provides machine sewing training and
employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
Many tasks related to sewing are learned, such as cutting,
ironing, measuring as well as sewing. The Douglas Center,
in partnership with the AbilityOne program, has held sewing
contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), in
addition to an increasing number of sewing contracts from
the private sector.
The Perk Center Cafe
from the Milestones Magazine article “The Birth, Care,
and Feeding of a Micro-Enterprise”
“The Perk Center Cafe is a not-for-profit business enterprise
created through Great Potentials, Inc. and by four parents and
one sibling of an individual with intellectual/developmental
disabilities. It is a collaboration with the Glenview Park District,
who donates the space for the Cafe. The Perk Center Cafe’s
goals are four-fold: to provide employment, volunteer, and
from a Feb. 2020 article posted in Patch
“The North Suburban YMCA has announced it will open Café
Voca, a new coffee bar that will provide vocational training and
employment for individuals with intellectual and developmental
challenges. Scheduled to open in September, Café Voca will
vocational training opportunities to individuals with
developmental disabilities; to offer good quality food to
customers; to build positive relationships in the community;
and to serve as model to others who might wish to create
businesses for the purpose of employment of people
be located in the Y’s lobby and serve coffee, other hot beverages,
and packaged snacks. Café Voca’s trainees will be recruited
from the Wheat Mission, Y membership, and the community at
Feel free to visit the website: www.perkcentercafe.org
Contact Gail Metrick at firstname.lastname@example.org”
large; hands-on training will be provided by Autism Workforce,
the employment training arm of the Exercise Connection”.
Clearbrook has a document destruction (shredding)
North Suburban YMCA Special Services Coordinator,
business enterprise, which serves the community and offers
job opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities.
Community clients include doctor and lawyer offices.
847-272-7250 Ext. 1239,
Location is 746 S. Vermont St in Palatine. Drop-off is
accepted. This enterprise currently has eight clients who
from the Sept 2018 blog by Karrie Pece, of AutonomyWorks
AutonomyWorks is a for-profit social enterprise located in
Downers Grove, in the Greater Chicago area. Along with
work in document destruction.
At Your Service
Finding/keeping a job, especially the first job, can be a struggle for
anyone. That old “Catch-22”, “you can’t get experience without a
job; you can’t get a job without experience” can be an obstacle for
anyone. This can be especially true for people with disabilities.
Milestones Magazine has “thrown its hat in the ring” towards the
goal of decreasing unemployment among people with disabilities
with this employment-themed issue of the magazine; and with a
section of the website called the Work-Around Registry.
The registry is intended, first and foremost, as a vehicle for
families who have one or more members with a disability (any
type, any degree). They can use the registry for a variety of
1. They would like to hire a person with a disability to do a
needed household chore or errand, such as grocery shopping
or yard work.
2. Their child with a disability is looking for work with flexible,
seasonal, or temporary status.
Some folks (including those with disabilities) are not necessarily
looking to make a lot of money or work a ton of hours in any
given day, week, month, or year. They may feel they risk losing
government benefits (such as with Medicaid waiver programs),
they may have limited hours to devote due to other activities/
priorities in their lives, or they may simply want to try out a
few of what used to be (and may still be) called “odd jobs”.
Whatever their reasons, this registry is (or may be) for them.
Milestones Magazine is planning an online event/presentation
where we can answer your questions (about the registry), and
sign-ups can be accomplished (one-time $25 cost).
Questions, contact Susie Redfern: info@MilestonesMagazine.net.
Please visit the Work-Around Registry online!
Helping Individuals with Disabilities & their Families
Achieve & Celebrate Events & Milestones in their Lives
Connections child care
Child Care Connections links families to child
care suited to children with challenges.
Child Care Connections also provides informational
articles (referencing North Carolina University
Extension Service) about adapting child care
Features a registry that both parents and providers
can Sign-Up for when they are looking for, or offering,
care for children with various challenges, such as
programs to children with special needs. Once you
sign-up you’ll receive the article Adapting the Child
Care Environment for Children with Special Needs.
developmental disability, autism, hearing impairment,
vision impairment, and more!
Check out our website: milestonesmagazine.net