Kessler Foundation Grants Prepare Jobseekers With Disabilities for Post-Pandemic Opportunities

Kessler Foundation has awarded nearly $1 million in Foundation-directed grants and Community Employment grants to nonprofit programs that expand job opportunities for people with disabilities. With these 2021 grants, the Foundation’s total investment in employment programs exceeds $50 million.

Kessler Foundation has awarded nearly $1 million in grants to support initiatives that promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace. For 2021, the Foundation allocated funding for two categories: Foundation-directed grants and Community Employment grants. Since 2005, the Foundation’s Center for Grantmaking has awarded more than $50 million to nonprofit programs that expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities striving to work, adding diversity to American workplaces, and boosting productivity.

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More than $200,000 in Foundation-directed grants was awarded to three organizations, according to Elaine E. Katz, senior vice president of Grants and Communications. Foundation-directed grants provide funding for projects targeting unemployment and other disability issues identified by the Foundation and collaborating agencies and are characterized by active involvement of Foundation staff. Length and dollar amount vary depending on the project funded.

The largest Foundation-directed grant was awarded to the SHRM Foundation, Inc., in Alexandria, VA, the non-profit arm of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), to develop its Employing Abilities @Work certificate program. With this program, the organization looks to strengthen the skills of human resource professionals so they can effectively recruit qualified people with disabilities for their companies. “Companies, and in particular HR professionals, often lack the necessary skills, tools, resources and capabilities to hire, train, and retain people with disabilities,” Katz explained. “This grant will help ensure that jobseekers with disabilities are considered among candidates for available job opportunities.”

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Two Foundation-directed grants funded organizations that support National Trends in Disability Employment, a custom report comparing employment statistics for people with and without disabilities issued semi-monthly by Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire (UNH). A grant for $72,478 grant to the UNH Institute on Disability funds the analysis of statistics published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, analysis of Current Population Survey data, and the collaborative production of nTIDE Reports and nTIDE Lunch & Learn Webinars. The Association of University Centers on Disabilities in Silver Spring, MD, received $25,000 grant to plan, develop, advertise, and participate in nTide Lunch and Learn webinars reflecting news, research, and statistics on disability employment.

The Foundation also distributed Community Employment Grants totaling $750,000 to 21 nonprofit organizations that serve New Jersey resident with disabilities.

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