We are excited to share that Search, the parent company of JJ’s List, has been featured twice in the news this October for NDEAM (National Disability Employment Awareness Month)!
Search CEO Beth Valukas was interviewed on the The Wintrust Business Lunch with Steve Bertrand on WGN Radio. She discussed Search’s core services, history, new initiatives, our biggest challenge, and our business relationship with Wintrust bank. Click here to listen to the full interview!
Second, Search was featured in Mariano’s instore magazine. Magazines will be available from Oct-Dec 2019. Visit your local Mariano’s store to pick up a copy!
In May 2019, Mariano’s was recognized as a Chicagoland leader in promoting inclusive employment strategies at Search’s signature annual gala, Search Trailblazers. Together, Mariano’s and Search have collaborated on job coaching and supportive employment services across six stores, in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Search has been thrilled to partner with Mariano’s to support employment for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and to recognize this partnership through being featured in Mariano’s Magazine.
Both Mariano’s and WGN Radio opportunities were offered in connection to National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), which happens every October. This year’s theme is “The Right Talent, Right Now.”
We believe individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities make important contributions in the workplace and their communities. Search’s employment team works hard to find employers throughout Chicagoland that are enthusiastic about diverse hiring. Our employment partners include businesses like Marshall’s, Home Depot, Petsmart, Joseph Academy, Rivers Casino and Mariano’s.
ADVANCING COMMUNITY EMPLOYMENT
Over the last five years, Search has been sharply focused on growing its competitive employment initiatives. Community Employment Services (CES) at Search assists individuals with disabilities to find gainful, integrated employment in their communities. CES is part of the Career Services department at Search. In FY 2019, CES Employment Specialists supported 47 individuals to with employment training and placement services.
Businesses like Mariano’s benefit from the skills of its team members with disabilities and hardworking employees benefit as well. Mariano’s employees with disabilities gain more than just a paycheck, they gain an opportunity to feel valued for their talent and hard work. Employment can be transformative.
John, an individual receiving services at Search, was hired by Mariano’s in 2018. With support from his job coach, John has been successfully working at Mariano’s for over a year. At Mariano’s, John does maintenance, bags groceries for customers and gathers carts. His favorite things to do are bag and help customers, because he “likes talking with people.”
“The reason why I wanted a job is to have my own money and buy things that I need. When I first heard that I got the job at Mariano’s, I was so happy. When I told my friends at Ignite, they were so happy for me too, and my cousin was also excited,” says John.
People with disabilities like John still face many barriers to employment, including the assumption that they are not able to perform as well as their peers without disabilities. This National Disability Employment Awareness month, we would like to thank our community partners for all that they are doing to support employment of people with disabilities.
Search is committed to empowering individuals with disabilities to take on important roles in their communities, especially through employment. We could not do this work without our employer partners.
As John says, “Businesses should hire people with disabilities because we want to work just like everyone else. We’re often more loyal and will stay longer.”
WHAT YOU CAN DO
To support Search’s important work, including employment services, please consider making a donation during our #GivingTuesday campaign. Your gift will be matched during the month of November!
Visit our Career Services page to find out more about job training and placement services at Search.