Riverside Community Care developed and manages four Employment Collaboratives in Massachusetts funded by the Department of Developmental Services and partially funded by the Department of Mental Health. These Collaboratives were designed to organize and coordinate organizations and state agencies so that they have one entry point with employers rather than dozens of organizations each knocking on the door, hoping to find work for the people they serve. The Collaboratives cover much of the state and help people with mental illness, developmental disabilities, or physical disabilities, find good jobs in their communities. The Collaboratives meet with employers to assess their needs, and then work with the nonprofit agencies to find employees who have the right interests and skill sets. Here are three success stories.
Four years ago, when she was hospitalized and recovering, Ericka started thinking about helping people in situations like herself. With a lot of perseverance, she started her first job with the Salvation Army in 2017. This job gave Ericka confidence, helped her become responsible and reliable, and gave her the ability to move forward into other jobs. Last January, Crossroads Clubhouse and the Riverside Employment Collaborative helped Ericka land a different position doing maintenance and administrative duties with the Milford Regional Medical Center.
While working at the hospital, Ericka became friendly with the certified nursing assistants, who saw potential and encouraged her to take a CNA certification course. Thanks to scholarship funds from the Riverside Employment Collaboratives, Ericka will graduate in December with a CNA certificate from the Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School. This certificate will open up many career opportunities. “First people might look at a disability as a disadvantage, but in the last couple of years as I’ve accepted my disability, I’ve been able to see the benefits,” says Ericka. “I can easily relate to people who have gone through what I’ve gone through and that has inspired me to pursue a career in the medical field.”
Eric began working at the Walgreens in Downtown Crossing in November 2015. Eric is admired for his hard work and friendly demeanor and has been the recipient of the prestigious Employee of the Month Award. He receives stellar performance reviews, and the store manager says that Eric is one of the best employees, not only at the downtown location of Walgreens, but within the entire company! Eric, who is a member of Center Club (a program of Bay Cove Human Services), trained two other members of Center Club when they were new Walgreens employees at his location.
Stephanie’s employment goal was to work someplace where her hard work would be recognized. In August, Stephanie, who is supported by our colleagues at the nonprofit Lifeworks, accepted a position at a brand new Home2 Suites by Hilton in Foxboro near Gillette Stadium. As a new employee, there has been a lot to learn. Stephanie has been flexible as her schedule has evolved so that she can be there when the guest’s needs are the greatest. Stephanie is a team player, she’s committed to the hotel’s success, and is excited to pitch in and help in housekeeping whenever it’s needed.
~Stephanie Marks, Director, Riverside Employment Collaboratives