Greenspring Advisors Donate to Rebuild Employment Services

Unified’s employment program is committed to helping people with disabilities choose, find, and keep jobs that they like by connecting them with occupations that fit their individual personalities and skills.  Gainful employment is a vital step to achieving independence.  Our employment services, including on-the-job training, are provided to individuals at places of employment in Washington County such as Marshall Street School, Hagerstown Airport, Walmart, Tony’s Pizza, and Green Turtle. 

Our staff conduct vocational assessments to help individuals define their strengths and areas of interest.  We provide supports and assistance with job readiness and selection, job applications, resumes, and interviewing for both paid and volunteer positions within the community.  We also assist with accessing transportation to and from places of employment.  Our goal is to provide appropriate levels of support to all individuals receiving this service to ensure they thrive in the workplace. 

Like most of the world, our employment program came to a halt in March of 2019.  Working with one of the community’s most vulnerable populations when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, our number one priority became the health and well-being of the individuals in our programs – which meant sheltering in place.  We had to close down our day habilitation centers, put a hold on community outings, and like everyone else, adapt and learn to operate our programs virtually.  As COVID-19 restrictions have started to loosen up we have started to safely and cautiously re-open our doors and allow the individuals in our programs to re-enter their community, including participation in our employment program. 

Unified is grateful for the Greenspring Grant Program and their gift of $10,000 to help us invest and rebuild our employment program.  The first step in this process will be to apply for a yearly Provider Network membership within Maryland Works then enrolling our staff in their trainings and workshop sessions. 

Although there are currently lots of opportunities for people to work in food service, retail, and service industries for people with mild to moderate barriers to employment, unfortunately we are now seeing people with more significant barriers to employment struggling with these types of positions and often having reduced hours and destabilized career paths.  In order for our staff to stay up to date and current on the latest job development strategies it is crucial that they attend trainings and workshops.  New and more creative tactics are needed for higher levels of success.  We know this program fosters independence, confidence, and opportunities for individuals with disabilities to enjoy and participate in life because we’ve seen it.  Now we need to bring it back to life so we can offer that gift to more people.  With the support of the Greenspring Grant Program we are excited to do that.