What does employment mean to you?
What does employment mean to you? How has it affected your sense of purpose and broadened your community? Beyond money, how has employment changed your life?
Or has employment remained out of reach to you?
Today, the majority of people with developmental disabilities are under-employed or unemployed, despite their ability or desire to work. They’re excluded from an institution that enriches people’s lives in so many ways.
As a community here in Portland, we talk a lot about our EDI work: equity, diversity, and inclusion. Yet people with disabilities still get left out—of these conversations, and the workplace. There is so much work to do on this front, but equity and inclusion for people with disabilities is possible, and the time for change is now.
At PHAME, we don’t generally focus on employment. The heart of our organization is in arts education and performance. But every day we see the impact that employment has on our students, both the students we employ here at PHAME and those employed outside of our school. Employment builds confidence, skills and a sense of community for everyone, as well as providing a paycheck. To that end, once a year we gather business leaders and community partners together at our One Community event to share practical advice for making change. We connect business leaders with supported employment specialists; we help lay a road map for making workplace inclusion a reality.
There’s a lot of work to be done, but the good news is you don’t have to do it alone. Join PHAME on May 22 for our One Community Breakfast and say yes to employment inclusion for people with disabilities.
We’d love to see you there.