How This Foundation Helps People With Special Needs Without Receiving Federal Grant

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald March 10, 04:00 am

A foundation in New Jersey has been helping people with special needs for over 40 years. The Foundation for the Handicapped employs workers with disabilities who do various sub-contracting jobs. The institution has existed all these years without federal grants or aid.

Currently, some 29 people with special needs report to the foundation from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to do assembly work like packing, filing envelopes and sometimes the occasional driving. The income these workers make from the contracts pay for two-thirds of the overhead cost of running the foundation. The rest of the funds come from donations and fundraisers coursed through Rotary and Lions clubs.

"When our founding fathers started they said they wanted to stay away from that," Executive Director Charles Grant said, as per North Jersey. "We've been able to survive so far," he added, citing several foundations with similar thrusts mostly rely on federal money.

Job opportunities at this foundation come and go but Grant makes it a point to score new business for those who depended on them. Some special needs workers have chosen to stay despite the seasonal opportunities, however, because many have built their family and lives around the foundation. Apart from the work, foundation workers also receive Social Security Income benefits and food stamps.

About 17.5 percent of people with disability were employed in America's labor force in 2015, according to the Department of Labor. Many of them have not completed a college degree, thus the likelihood of unemployment always went against their favor.

The jobs accorded to people with disabilities or special needs are usually under manufacturing, production and transportation. The jobs are also usually part-time or contractual minimum wage work. Many have a take home pay of at least $80 a week.

Do you know someone with a disability or special needs in the workforce? What have been your impressions about their opportunities? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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