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12.02.13

Polanowicz Tours Wegmans to Learn More About Employment Partnerships for Individuals with Disabilities

Northborough, MA, – At the Wegmans in Northborough on Thursday, Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz toured the facility to gain insight into an innovative employment service being provided by the Central Mass Employment Collaborative (CMEC). As a result of funding from the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and the Department of Mental Health (DMH), this program provides a collaborative approach to job placements resulting in a win-win for businesses, providers and workers with disabilities.

Individuals with disabilities obtain positions through the placement work of the Central Mass Employment Collaborative (CMEC or ‘Collaborative’). CMEC, a project led by Riverside Community Care, is a network of employment service providers, state agency representatives, employers, and Workforce Development entities. CMEC promotes cooperation over competition and encourages improved coordination and communication in engaging employers through a partnership approach. They work with local DDS and DMH provider agencies to receive referrals and coordinate placements with local businesses. This prevents businesses from being approached by numerous agencies at once and facilitates the matching process to better the chances of a successful, long term job placement. CMEC also facilitates the sharing of active job leads between provider partner job developers in their bi-monthly Job Developers Network meeting whose motto is: “No job left unfilled”.  This past year, CMEC was responsible for the job placements of over 100 individuals with disabilities.

“The Patrick Administration is committed to the Community First principles of providing opportunities for individuals with all types of disabilities to live self-sufficiently, and this is a great example of how private-public partnerships can achieve this goal,” said HHS Secretary Polanowicz. “By partnering with community-based providers and local companies, we can promote increased integration, improved wages and benefits, and greater independence for people with disabilities, while providing the private sector with the benefits of a motivated and diversified workforce.”

In addition to Secretary Polanowicz, the following individuals joined the presentation: Rosalie Edes – Assistant Secretary, Health and Human Services, Larry Tummino – Deputy Commissioner, Department of Development Disabilities; Margaret Van Gelder – Statewide Director of Family and Employment Support, Department of Development Disabilities; Jeff Monahan, New England Division Staffing Coordinator, Wegmans; Jamie Pinto , Northborough Store Employee Representative, Wegmans; Dave Orlovsky – Northborough Store Manager, Wegmans; Don Hughes – Associate Division Director for Clubhouse & Employment Services, Riverside Community Care; Stephanie Marks – Central Mass Employment Collaborative Project Coordinator, Riverside Community Care.

About the Central Mass Employment Collaborative (CMEC)

CMEC in an innovative program which partners organizations and state agencies to improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.  This is accomplished by implementing a collaborative approach to engage a wide variety of employers. CMEC efforts are focused on job development, broadening the types of employers providing opportunities for these individuals, and enhancing access to career-oriented training resources. Their efforts have resulted in quality jobs throughout Central Massachusetts with employers committed to the success of these individuals. www.centralmassworks.org

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