The Arc Jacksonville, a local non-profit organization that helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities achieve their full potential, has launched “EmployMeFirst,” an initiative that connects employees with disabilities to employers who are seeking greater diversity in their workforce. Endorsed by JAX Chamber, EmployMeFirst.org is the community’s first and only online resource that helps people with disabilities find jobs that match their skills and interests.
“Our goal with EmployMeFirst is to help remove barriers and create opportunities, as people with any type of disability often experience much more difficulty in trying to obtain gainful employment than people without disabilities,” said Jim Whittaker, president/CEO of The Arc Jacksonville. “Hiring an individual with a disability creates diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and because it provides someone with the ability to generate income, it’s an economic driver as well. Overall, it just makes good business sense.”
Americans with all types of disabilities continue to struggle to find work, evidenced by less than 30 percent of working-age people with disabilities participating in the workforce, according to a 2014 U.S. Senate Committee report. The report further stated that twice as many people with disabilities live in poverty as compared to those who are typically developing.
“This is an important step toward helping employers and employees find the right fit,” said John Delaney, JAX Chamber chair and president of the University of North Florida. “Many local business and organizations have committed to hiring employees with disabilities and found some of their most hard-working, beloved employees. This site will help employers in their hiring and be a tremendous benefit to our community.”
EmployMeFirst.org is a resource for both employees with disabilities and employers. For employees, if provides a forum to post a resume and search job postings. There is also a resources section with tips and organizations that can help with the job search, perfecting the resume, building new skills, and other assets. For employers, there are resources that outline the tax, diversity and other benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities, and provide a forum to post job descriptions, accept resumes, and review tips on hiring people with disabilities.
“The Arc Jacksonville’s focus is to serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, but we expanded EmployMeFirst to serve people with all disabilities. This is a community-wide effort and with the help of businesses who employ people with disabilities to encourage their business peers to do the same, I believe we can make an impact on the people of Jacksonville,” added Whittaker.
EmployMeFirst was funded by the City of Jacksonville’s Public Service Grant program.
For more about EmployMeFirst, please visit www.employmefirst.org.
About The Arc Jacksonville
The Arc Jacksonville is a charitable non-profit organization founded in 1965 that is dedicated to helping people with intellectual and development disabilities become physically, mentally, socially and economically independent. Their mission is to serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to achieve their full potential and to participate in community life. Visit www.arcjacksonville.org for more.