This session describes the Putting Faith to Work project, made possible by a Signature Employment Grant from the Kessler Foundation, which focuses on building the capacity of faith communities to support employment for members with disabilities. Putting Faith To Work focuses on enabling faith communities to address the employment needs of some of their members, by connecting people with disabilities to quality employment opportunities through the natural networks represented by congregational members. By adapting research-based strategies to congregations, this project will expand the reach of what faith communities do so well–addressing the gifts and needs of their members, maintaining strong connections to local communities, and addressing community social problems. An overview of the project and panelists from participating congregations will share their experiences.
1. After this session, participants will have a greater understanding of the employment landscape for people with disabilities across the United States.
2. Extend participants’ understanding of the possibilities and potential challenges of engaging congregations in supporting employment for people with disabilities.
3. Learn the steps necessary to replicating the practical and flexible model for congregations–working alone or in concert with local disability organizations and/or service providers–to address the employment needs of people with disabilities.