COVID has forced parents of children with disabilities, caregivers and individuals with disabilities to take extraordinary precautions to protect themselves, many leaving the workforce. This compounded historically higher levels of unemployment for households with a member with a disability. Despite barriers, COVID introduced workplace accommodations that help balance caregiving, employment, and productivity.
Our project addresses barriers to employment experienced by parents of children with disabilities, caregivers, and individuals with disabilities by implementing a fully immersive employment training and counseling program. The unique life experiences of the disability community create employees who are creative problems solvers, responsive to change, and inclusive of diversity.
Our program will utilize the unique strengths of the disability community, and our network of resources to assist parents, caregivers, and individuals with disabilities to re-enter a post-COVID job market.
The mission of Families Helping Families of Acadiana is to assist and strengthen individuals with disabilities and their families through a coordinated network of resources, services, and support. As Lafayette Parish’s only family resource center assisting people with disabilities of all ages and disabilities and their families, our project will expand on our agency’s mission by empowering parents of children with disabilities, caregivers, individuals with disabilities, and potential employers through employment training, networking, and counseling.
Project funds will be utilized to create a fully immersive training program and facility to assist unemployed and underemployed parents of children with disabilities, caregivers, and individuals with disabilities in acquiring skills to become competitive job applicants and employees. For a holistic approach to employment, training for employers will also be provided to create a work culture that balances respectful disability etiquette with appropriate workplace accommodations.
Our project promotes sustainability and investment in individuals for a lifetime of competitive employment, financial management and goal setting, and the promotion of a diverse workforce. We will focus on four major components of the employment process: preparation, search, interview, and maintenance. Through our relationship with the Lafayette Parish disability community we identified four major barriers to employment: job search skills, access to technology, transportation, and employer disability education. By marrying the program components and the identified needs of the disability community, we hope to address the disparities present in the employment rate of the families and individuals we serve.
The Price Tag
Families Helping Families of Acadiana is requesting $1,500,000 to $2,000,000 which would allow us to operate this program for a minimum of 4 years. We have plans to develop a sustainability plan to ensure that the program endures past this funding.