Search and JJ's List Join Forces to Provide Innovative No Boundaries Program
Search is pleased to announce a merger with JJ's List effective July 1, 2013. JJ's List is an Evanston-based purpose driven 501(c)(3) that helps businesses incorporate disability-aware practices into their core business strategies, while providing experiential training for career paths in Internet technology, communications and digital marketing for people with disabilities. The merged organization will operate under the Search, Inc. banner.
"Search and JJ's List share a commitment to innovative models of service that support the community integration of people with disabilities, which inspired the merger," said John Lipscomb, CEO, Search, Inc. "We each share a track record of success in developing and running social enterprises that have opened doors to employment and community-based resources and businesses. JJ's list has distinguished itself by networking deeply into the business community through jjslist.com and the Disability Awareness Players and we are looking forward to incorporating these advocacy tools into our current programs for the benefit of over 500 people with disabilities annually."
"Through the merger, we will work to advance our shared belief that people with disabilities should be integrated into all aspects of the community as productive, participating citizens," said JJ Hanley, Founder & Executive Director of JJ's List. "The JJ's List consumer-review website jjslist.com has created a uniquely powerful model that gives people with disabilities a strong advocacy voice." Moving forward, jjslist.com will continue and increase its strong collaboration with other agencies, service providers, schools, families and individuals to use the website as a tool to promote advocacy, employment and community integration of people with disabilities.
At Search, Ms. Hanley will assume the role of Associate Director, Ventures. In this new role, Ms. Hanley will be responsible for the launch of a first-of-its kind workforce development, training and community integration program for people with disabilities. Called No Boundaries and scheduled to launch in the fall of 2013, the program will offer a "train for work" track and a "community life" track, both of which will include technology and communications training, mentoring and community-based internships and volunteer opportunities.
"The future of service for people with disabilities in Illinois will focus largely on employment. There is a significant need for innovative and flexible models of service that focus on skills building for the workplace," Hanley said. "No Boundaries will leverage the innovative curriculum, training programs and advocacy tools of JJ's List with the organizational structure, programmatic resources and capacity of Search." The program will help individuals with disabilities build essential communications skills, using the JJ's List signature "on-land & on-line" teaching philosophy so that participants can obtain and keep employment, achieve personal goals, form social connections and participate more fully in their communities.
Internships from No Boundaries will feed into paid work opportunities for qualified participants at several Search-sponsored social enterprises, including jjslist.com (technology, website management, digital marketing, advocacy) the jjslist.com Disability Awareness Players (training for businesses in disability-aware communications), Planet Access Company (third party logistics, warehouse services), Planet Access Company Store (retail) and other community-based employment.
No Boundaries will provide unique work opportunities for young adults transitioning out of the school system as well as adults seeking full participation in the community.
With a core on-line fan community of 23,000, JJ's List is a leader in the integration of people with disabilities in Illinois and beyond. For more information please visit www.jjslist.com, twitter.com/@JJsList.