Breaking Barriers to Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities
The Regional Employment Collaboratives are Riverside-led partnerships of state agencies and human service providers, employers, workforce development organizations, and employment service providers. The Collaboratives work across these groups with the common goal of increasing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
Their efforts focus on broadening the types of employers providing opportunities for the individuals we serve, and enhancing access to career-oriented training and resources.
Riverside started the Collaborative program in 2009 focusing on the Central MA area as a way to streamline the process of finding and hiring individuals with disabilities. After award-winning success in that region, we were asked to expand the program in four additional parts of the state. We are incredibly proud of this program and the impact it has in the communities we serve. In 2017 alone, more than 700 individuals have found employment through these services.
These initiatives focus on a collaborative approach to engage a wide variety of employers in a given region. The Collaboratives regularly partner with businesses throughout the state that are seeking to enrich their organization and communities through a diverse and inclusive workforce. Thus, employers become connected to an untapped market of candidates and can begin developing their pipeline of qualified, reliable, and skilled candidates.
Employer Liaisons meet with employers to discuss their hiring needs and requirements. Together they come up with a plan on how to best fill their current job openings. This service comes with no cost to the employer and can be a tremendous help to streamlining the hiring process.
We work with companies large and small, and there is not always a one-size fits all approach. Most recently the Collaboratives have partnered with CVS Health to develop a training program for individuals in an effort to help develop their talent pipeline. They are also working with Sodexo to create a statewide hiring program to help them reach their hiring goals as well.
The Riverside Employment Collaboratives collaborate with many non-profit organizations which vary by region. Our partners include employment service providers, state agencies, and workforce development organizations. We all share a common goal of expanding employment opportunities for individuals who face barriers to entering (or re-entering) the workforce. We represent a wide range of disabilities, including physical, mental, cognitive and visual challenges. As a group, we commit to connecting the people they serve with companies looking for qualified job applicants.
Conveniently, each regional Collaborative works with a localized set of partners and employers. To learn more about this service for your area and for individual contact information, please visit the appropriate website:
- South Central Massachusetts: Central Mass Employment Collaborative (CMEC)
- Metro Boston and areas within Route 128: Greater Boston Employment Collaborative (GBEC)
- Essex and Northern Middlesex Counties: NorthEast Employment Collaborative (NEEC)
- Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden Counties: Western Mass Employment Collaborative (WMEC)
- Boston MetroWest area outside of Route 128: MetroWest Employment Collaborative (MWEC)
The Employment Collaboratives are funded by the Department of Developmental Services and partially funded by the Department of Mental Health.