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Bridging Service Gap for People with Disabilities

By Rae van Seenus on Apr 02, 2018 at 05:15 PM in UCP WORK, Inc. Blog

Introduction of Braided Services Program Leads to Inclusive Employment

The new UCP WORK Inc. Braided Services program will be under the same roof as the Applied Abilities Program at the Westside Community Center, which currently hosts 55 members.  Classes there now are taught in cooking, yoga, gardening, flower arranging, art expression, community integration, language, landscaping, singing, and work experience.  According to Matt Dursam, Director of Applied Abilities Programs South, “Traditional day programs are going to be obsolete in the near future. People with disabilities, their families and service providers are moving towards full integration programs, which offers free choice to all members, regardless of their disability. The goal is to find jobs for our members in the community and bridge the gap between youth services and adult services.” Matt also believes that California is leading the trend as more companies are hiring people with disabilities and using the resources available through programs such as his.  


People with intellectual and developmental disabilities make up the largest minority in the United States, yet they are also the most untapped workforce. UCP WORK, Inc. has been recognized as the leading provider of personalized job development and job placement services. UCP WORK, Inc. increases opportunities for people with disabilities by enabling them to become active, productive members of the workforce.  

It’s a win win," says Judy Linares, Executive Director for UCP WORK Inc., “businesses that have hired individuals with disabilities, can attest to the positive impact on their business, when they employ a person with disabilities who has completed the preparation for the workplace and has the support of job coaching; the results are long-term, dedicated employees. The average length of employment by a UCP WORK Inc. employment placement is 15 years”. The other benefits, Linares describes are, customers appreciate businesses with inclusive hiring practices. Positive interactions will leave customers and these employees feeling good.  On the on the job training and job coaching are at no cost to the employer.


One in five Americans have a disability. That adds up to 56 million people. Only 65% of students born with disabilities complete high school and 7% complete college.  Key barriers in some cities include the fact that once a person has transitioned out of youth services there are few services to bridge the gap once the individual moves out of the high school environment.