EmployABILITY is giving people with disabilities a chance to shine!
You can help us expand!
(One of a series of articles on National Grid’s commitment to people with disabilities)
Last November, National Grid’s Enabling Disability Confidence employee resource group (ERG) partnered with the Jewish Child Care Association (JCCA) to host National Grid’s first Disability Mentoring Day in the US. The event was a huge success, and as a result National Grid hired two part-time interns who have been with us ever since: Avraham (‘Avi’) Kalban in Corporate Affairs and Joseph Feldman in Gas Materials and Standards/Gas R&D. Now they are looking to expand—see how you can help by reaching out to the Enabling team leaders in your local area and by contacting HR’s Nina Ryabicheva.
This is the EmployABILITY pilot program: an initiative that was started in the UK by Mark Pickles and has since won the 2014 Chairman’s Award for Inclusion & Diversity. Enabling Disability Confidence’s original Executive Sponsor Jon Donleavy decided to bring the program to the US business, and worked with Mary Holzmann, current chair of the ERG, to do so.
The objective of EmployABILITY is to provide valuable work experience to those who may not have been afforded equal opportunity due to a disability. Many people with disabilities, despite being qualified for a certain position, are underemployed or unemployed, and often struggle with getting a foot in the door. EmployABILITY works to offer that crucial first step.
The program helps both the intern with a disability and their supervisor get the support they need for success. Enabling Disability Confidence works with the disability employment support system at the state level: the interns who come in through EmployABILITY will be those paid for through state-supported and approved vocational rehabilitation agencies. The services provided by those agencies may include job supports such as a job coach (either short or long term), skill building, help with applying and interview practice, and other needs.
Joseph’s mother shared her joy at her son’s experience at Enabling’s recent annual lunch ‘n learn meeting in Hicksville: “You can’t imagine what this experience has done for Joseph. I see in him things I didn’t realize he could have achieved. I see tenacity, motivation and drive. And I see him exceeding goals – our expectations and his.”
The EmployABILITY program will allow National Grid to provide supported internships for those who need to build their resumes in their field and help them on their way to becoming permanent employees, either with National Grid or elsewhere. Watch for part two of this article soon and meet the interns!
Check out previous articles in the series: