Posted on October 11, 2022
Baltimore, MD – Penn-Mar Human Services , the region’s leading provider of services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), is proud to celebrate National Disability Employment Month (NDEAM) during the month October. NDEAM celebrates the contributions of persons with disabilities and highlights the value of a workforce limited only by the opportunities that are presented to them.
As workforce shortages persist, Penn-Mar works with local businesses by matching eager and qualified candidates in positions that complement their strengths, interests, and abilities. Penn-Mar’s workforce development program specializes in allying IDD individuals with careers they love- not just a job they can perform. Penn-Mar’s team of job developers and employment staff follow proven strategies that ensure a successful employment partnership between the individuals and local businesses. From developing job skills and identifying areas of interest, to providing interview and mentoring support, and even education training and transportation, Penn-Mar’s team is committed to every individual who wants a job, finding one they love, regardless of their disability.
“Most of us with career ambitions take it for granted that once we finish with our schooling we will move on to the next logical step: getting a job,” says Penn-Mar Human Services CEO Greg Miller. “But for a person with a disability, just getting a part-time job can be a full-time effort. October is a chance to showcase the incredible abilities of people who are not only able to work in, and support the community, but eager to showcase the same abilities, commitment, and pride that we all have for a job we love.”
Currently, Penn-Mar supports more than 100 individuals across Maryland and Pennsylvania in careers ranging from retail, customer service, data processing, culinary services, manufacturing, animal caretaking and even craft brewing. Penn-Mar has even helped several people start their own business.
Despite increased awareness and support from groups like Penn-Mar, labor participation statistics for those with IDD are still painfully low. A study from National Core Indicators, found that only 14.7% of adults with IDD are employed, while 71.4% of adults without disabilities are employed, and just 44% of adults with IDD aged 18-64 are in the labor force compared with 83% of those without disabilities.
But even though most adults with IDD are unemployed or underemployed, many experience excellent job stability. 62% of adults with IDD in a competitive setting (working alongside others without any disabilities) have been employed at the same job for three years or more and 82% say they enjoy what they do.
Miller reiterates this statistic, adding that once an individual from Penn-Mar finds a job, it’s one they typically have for years to come.
“We have people who’ve been thriving in the same career, with the same business, for 10 years or more,” adds Miller. “In fact, our best advocates in the business community are employers who have the people we support working for them. It’s a testament to the incredible dedication and commitment individuals with IDD have and our goal to find jobs that help people live courageously.”
About Penn-Mar Human Services
Penn-Mar Human Services is a nonprofit that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to Live Courageously, whether that’s securing a job, being an active member of their community, building independence, or developing new relationships. Penn-Mar accomplishes this by supporting people on their own unique personal journeys. Founded in 1981, Penn-Mar operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in northern Maryland and southern Pennsylvania. They support 500+ adults with disabilities daily through an array of customizable services. www.penn-mar.org.