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01.08.20

Helping Boston MetroWest Employers Create a More Inclusive Workforce

Riverside Community Care recently launched the MetroWest Employment Collaborative (MWEC), the fifth Regional Employment Collaborative in Massachusetts facilitated by Riverside. This new initiative will connect businesses in 30 MetroWest communities to qualified job seekers with disabilities including physical, mental, cognitive, and visual challenges.

The Regional Employment Collaboratives are partnerships of state agencies, employers, workforce development entities, and employment service providers. Together, they accomplish a number of goals at once: finding and hiring individuals with disabilities, broadening the types of employers providing opportunities, and enhancing access to career training and resources.

Business owners – both large and small – in MetroWest will be able to meet with a MWEC Employer Liaison to discuss their hiring needs and requirements, and together they can plan on how best to fill current job openings. The Liaison acts as a single point of contact and can connect employers with dozens of nonprofits and state agencies that support people with disabilities. Current employers utilizing the service include CVS Health, Big Y, Sodexo, MGM Springfield, and TJX Companies.

Riverside helped to develop the Employment Collaborative model in 2009 focusing on the Central Massachusetts area. After award-winning success in that region, the organization was asked to expand the program to additional areas of the state. Through the efforts and activities of the Regional Employment Collaboratives, in 2019 over 850 individuals with disabilities found employment.

“We are thrilled that the Commonwealth recognized the contributions of the existing four Collaboratives and asked us to build upon that success,” said Stephanie Marks, Riverside’s Director of the Regional Employment Collaboratives. “With the unemployment rate so low, it is challenging for businesses to hire and retain qualified employees. Not only can businesses work with us to find qualified people – at no cost to them – but they will enrich both their organizations and their communities by hiring a diverse and inclusive workforce.”

Through her relationship with the Riverside-facilitated NorthEast Employment Collaborative, Suzanne Robertson attended a 12-week CVS Health Workforce Initiatives Training program and is now working at a CVS store. Said Robertson, “Working at CVS has helped me grow as a person in so many ways. My confidence, my independence, my self-advocacy. I feel like I am in charge of my life.”

The MetroWest Employment Collaborative will serve 30 communities: Ashland, Canton, Dedham, Dover, Foxboro, Framingham, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hudson, Marlborough, Medfield, Millis, Natick, Needham, Newton, Norfolk, Norwood, Northborough, Plainville, Sharon, Sherborn, Southborough, Sudbury, Walpole, Wayland, Wellesley, Westborough, Weston, Westwood, and Wrentham.

The MetroWest Employment Collaborative is funded by the Department of Developmental Services. To learn more about the MetroWest Employment Collaborative, contact Charlie Powderly, Project Coordinator, at (781) 801-8038 or cpowderly@riversidecc.org.

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