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Search Recognizes NDEAM & Commits to Expanding Employment Options

 Did you know that October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)? NDEAM is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many contributions of America's workers with disabilities. President Obama recently released a proclamation declaring the 2014 NDEAM theme to be "Expect. Employ. Empower."

NDEAM's roots go back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In the nearly 70 years since, the United States has expanded the recognition week to a month and broadened its purpose to include individuals with all types of disabilities. Upon its establishment in 2001, the Office of Disability Employment Policy assumed responsibility for NDEAM and has worked to expand its reach and scope ever since.

At Search, we are dedicated to improving employment options for people with disabilities and are currently building a Career Services program with a focus on competitive, community-based placements. As part of this work, Search is partnering with the Division of Rehabilitation services to implement an Employment Demonstration Project that blends best practices from the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model with an innovative supported education program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our unique approach integrates on-land (in-person) and on-line (Internet) skills building, which are essential for the 21st Century workplace.

Search's IPS project operates out of its newest site, in Evanston, alongside its No Boundaries - Train for Work, Train for Life program. IPS is a model first piloted in the mental health community, with a focus on frequent employer contact, a collaborative, team approach to service delivery and rapid placement (among other features). The IPS project at No Boundaries draws on community and business connections with direct links to employment opportunities. The program incorporates a dynamic mix of instruction, guest lecturers, experiential learning and hands on interaction that expands participant contact with potential employers in the community, thereby increasing prospects for employment. Please contact Nicole Heimdal, Employment Manager, at 847-869-0000 if you are interested in learning more about this exciting new model!

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