Thanks to a $300,000 grant from the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity, JARC will be able to continue its Community Works Program for another year.
JARC is a nonprofit, non-sectarian organization that provides programs and services to educate and empower individuals with intellectual and development disabilities.
In its fifth year, the Community Works Program, allows JARC clients to work at a partner business as a trainee.
They have worked at businesses including Farmer’s Table, TJ Maxx, Boca Raton Marshall’s, Delray Beach Marshall’s, The Cheesecake Factory, Grand Luxe Café, The Polo Club, Woodfield Country Club, Addison Reserve Country Club and KMART.
“There is no question that the clients bring a lot of pride and a lot of spirit into the kitchen. And humor; they bring life, a lot of life,” Bart Messing, Executive Chef at Woodfield Country Club said.
Currently, there are 56 clients working in the community thanks to the program.
Clients complete tasks like portioning food, folding napkins and learning how to work various jobs.
They are paid minimum wage by JARC through the grant and donations. The businesses don’t pay anything and in exchange help train the employees.
President of JARC FL Debra Hallow said the program provides clients independence and empowerment.
“This program also educates the employers as to the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities. We have heard from employers that our trainees have motivated their employees because when they see how diligently our clients are working to learn those skills, they in turn become better employees.”
Other components of the program include learning how to complete an online job application, interview skills and how to dress on the job.
“It’s a real opportunity for our clients as they are challenged but at the same time comfortable being surrounded by their peers and other JARC clients just like them,” Director of Program Services at JARC Nancy Freiwald said. “They are able to ease into the new environment and excel at their own pace.”