Membership Director Taina Sanon spoke with Fredda Rosen of Job Path, a member organization of Nonprofit New York. We will continue to highlight the work of our members, like Job Path, because we believe when your nonprofit is stronger, all of us are stronger.
Tell me about the organization and what you do.
Job Path’s mission is to support people with developmental disabilities as they make choices about their lives and play contributing roles in the workforce and their communities. We were established in 1978 by the Vera Institute of Justice to find ways to help people with developmental disabilities move into the workforce. In 1999, we spun off from Vera as an independent not-for-profit organization. We were pioneers: one of the first efforts of this kind in the country. Today our programs help people find employment, live in their own homes and become involved in community life. Sometimes we say that our job is to help people lead the kinds of lives we all want.
How many are on your team?
We have a staff of about 225 talented, energetic and dedicated people. If you come to our office, you won’t see many of us because most of the team spend their days supporting people on their jobs and in their homes and communities throughout the City.
Servicing how many of the nonprofit population?
We support about 350 young adults and adults with autism, intellectual and other developmental disabilities. Most are aged 21 and up, but we have a few projects that target special education students in their last years of school.
Where do you see your organization in the next five years or ten years? As the organization has developed, we’ve focused on growth, not by increasing the number of people we support, but by developing new ideas. For example, we created our Community Supports and Supported Living programs as alternatives to more traditional day habilitation programs and group homes. We are currently working on a project to help young people make a smooth transition from special education to adult life, with jobs and community connections in place. We also are piloting a career advancement project. Finally, we are expanding a technical assistance service to enable others to learn about the “customized employment” strategies that provide the foundation for our work. The need is great: fewer than 15% of the people enrolled in state-supported day programs are enrolled in employment services.
How has partnering with Nonprofit New York helped you succeed?
Our leadership team appreciates Nonprofit New York’s focus on best practices and the very specific information and guidance they provide to help us strengthen our board, our culture and our policies. And they do indeed run the best nonprofit conference ever!
What are you currently working on that you want us to mention to our membership?
If your operations are anything like ours, your staff is stretched thin and work is always backing up. Hiring one of Job Path’s skilled candidates can be an effective —and cost-effective —solution, particularly for nonprofits. For example, a nonprofit in the Bronx was having difficulty keeping their client database current. Their administrative staff simply couldn’t take time away from more urgent tasks. They hired a young man from Job Path to work eight hours per week and focus solely on data input. Problem solved.
Job Path has partnered with dozens of New York City nonprofits, schools and cultural organizations in a similar fashion. We would love to explore how we might help you. Just contact Aimee Althoff, Associate Executive Director for Employment Services: [email protected].