December 29, 2011 Leave a comment
This time of year is my favorite. It’s a natural time to reflect on the past year, thank those who have supported our mission, and celebrate those who have met their goals. NEBA is privileged to employ 60 very talented and dedicated staff who assisted many new job seekers to become employed this year, and helped many more maintain their jobs despite difficult economic conditions.
This year was particularly challenging due to fiscal uncertainties and natural disasters. Although trying, these did not deter us from meeting our mission: “To enable people with disabilities whose rights and freedoms are most likely denied them to be fully included in community life, primarily through employment.”
Despite the difficult times, NEBA expanded services into Connecticut and became a vendor of the Department of Developmental Services and the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services. NEBA is now assisting 42 individuals to find jobs in their communities, and we plan to increase our capacity to serve more individuals in 2012.
The NEBA Business Development Center (BDC) served 40 individuals this year interested in being self-employed; eight of whom completed their business plan in the past quarter. These new businesses are now off to the implementation phase and one business has already seen the need to hire an additional employee. The BDC also became an affiliated member of the MACDC which is committed to community and economic development and received funding from the People’s United Community Foundation and the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.
As the economic challenges continue, the tasks and challenges become more urgent for all of us. More than ever we need to work in partnership, recognize that we’re all bound together in a social and economic struggle, and remember that employment needs to be the priority for individuals with disabilities. Although NEBA has always partnered with local businesses, partnering with other non-profits was and will continue to be fundamental to our being able to reach more individuals and strengthen our service delivery. Chapel Haven in Connecticut, FutureWorks Career Center, and the Scibelli Enterprise Center in Massachusetts were new partnerships formed/strengthened this year specifically to increase the number of individuals with disabilities who become employed or self-employed.
We look forward to these ongoing partnerships as well as forming new partnerships that will assist us in serving many more in 2012.
- Jeannine Pavlak, Executive Director, NEBA