Advancing the Employment of Professionals with Disabilities: Pathways to Careers

7/16/2020

| By Tatiana Peralta |

July 26, 2020 marks 30 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. The ADA is a landmark legislation that opened the door to more employment opportunities for professionals with disabilities in the United States.  

In honor of the commemoration, SourceAmerica is highlighting one of its key employment programs. The Pathways to Careers program offers people with disabilities guidance on the road to work. Through Pathways, individuals are empowered with the knowledge of various employment options so they can make informed decisions about their careers.   

What is the Pathways to Careers Program? 

In 2012, SourceAmerica launched the Pathways to Careers program with a single member nonprofit agency. The program was designed to expose professionals with disabilities to a wide range of jobs and work settings through multi-week paid internships. In 2015, the success of the Pathways to Careers program led three additional member nonprofit agencies to build the program in the Boston, Detroit and Washington, D.C. areas.  

In 2020, SourceAmerica revamped the Pathways to Careers program to offer a more agile and flexible service to support member nonprofit agencies in developing customized or supported employment and job matching. Through this effort, we can support member organizations across all 50 states to connect more people with disabilities to meaningful job opportunities.  

Once our member nonprofit agencies establish a Pathway that meets their needs, SourceAmerica provides technical assistance to support them. This includes an initial phase in which SourceAmerica and a partnering organization develop a career plan that leads an individual to a paid internship or customized self-employment. Upon completion of the program, many individuals have been hired as full-time employees.  

Pathways to Careers Highlights 

One of the individuals who has found employment through the Pathways to Careers program is Boston resident Matthew, who began his journey in 2018 with member nonprofit agency WORK, Inc. Prior to joining the Pathways program, Matthew had no previous employment experience. Dedicated to creating unique animation, he was set on finding a career where he could put his passion to work.  

In the fall of 2019, Pathways offered him the opportunity to intern with Alex Salsberg, owner of PokeGravy Studios. Since then, Matthew has worked hard on multiple projects for the studio. Matthew is admired for his distinctive background creation techniques and the efficiency in which he can produce the animations. One of his favorite projects so far is Bote, a Spanish language educational video. Matthew finds motivation in seeing his finished products and sharing them with others. 

Learn more about another Pathways to Careers participant, Zane Goshorn. 

The Pathways Program plays an important part in our journey to create more job opportunities for professionals with disabilities. Likewise, the ADA has been instrumental in the growth of these programs. SourceAmerica looks forward to continuing to expand its research on the future of work and the use of emerging technologies that enable people with disabilities to demonstrate the unique value they can bring to the workplace. 

For more information about the Pathways Program, contact Amy Stapley at astapley@sourceamerica.org