A big thank you to Bank of America for awarding $20,000 to The Arc of Delaware in support of its employment program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
This grant will be used to bolster the placement and follow-along services we provide for employment success, including job coaching, goal setting and soft skill improvements. It will also enable support for individuals who need help building the skills that lead to employment through internships and volunteer positions.
“The Arc is committed to expanding and improving employment of adults with IDD so they can enjoy financial stability, community integration, enhanced self-esteem and a daily sense of purpose,” said Susannah Eaton-Ryan, executive director of The Arc of Delaware. ““We appreciate Bank of America’s generous award and continued support of the community.”
The grant is part of Bank of America’s philanthropic giving efforts in local communities. Awardees were selected for their commitment to addressing basic needs and workforce development for individuals and families, in particular during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The work that The Arc of Delaware does to support Delawareans with intellectual and developmental disabilities is essential and we are a proud partner,” said Chip Rossi, President of Bank of America Delaware. “With this support, The Arc will continue to foster workforce development initiatives in Delaware and offer vital job readiness support for unemployed individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”
Many barriers, such as insufficient training, low expectations, lack of transportation or lack of accommodations, result in people with IDD being unemployed or underemployed. Moreover, severe limitations on income and assets discourage some people with IDD from seeking job advancements for fear of losing their vital public benefits. All of these issues can lead to below-average earnings and a compromised standard of living.
The 2021 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium reports that just 37% of U.S. adults with disabilities ages 18-64 living in the community were employed in 2020, while the employment rate for those without disabilities was 75%. Narrowing the focus to those with cognitive disabilities, the Delaware employment rate in 2020 was 34.1%. We anticipate that next year’s analysis may show an even lower rate due to the impact of the pandemic on employment.
The Arc believes that people with IDD can be employed in the community alongside people without disabilities and earn competitive wages. They should be supported to make informed choices about their work and careers and have the resources to seek, obtain, and be successful in community employment.
The Arc works closely with the Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and the Delaware Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDDS) to identify jobs best suited to individuals. Based on skills, ability levels and choice, these jobs may be full-time or part-time, permanent or temporary.
Our program provides year-round services to about 150 people in settings as diverse as Bank of America, Wal-Mart, the State of Delaware, ACME Supermarkets, and Astra Zeneca. The average employee receiving our services has been working for 15 years.
We consider our success rate a reflection of the people we serve and a direct result of the intensive, individualized nature of our services. Employers know that The Arc is highly responsive when problems arise, and that they can depend on our staff to provide needed and effective interventions, when required.
Thank you, Bank of America
With the constantly changing landscape during the current health crisis, charitable grants, sponsorships and fundraising are critical to supporting The Arc’s work toward full inclusion and community participation for people with IDD. We appreciate the ongoing support from Bank of America today and for more than 20 years in working together to drive economic mobility for employees with disabilities.