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Welcome to the Massachusetts Employment First E-Newsletter

September 2014
In This Issue
Regional Employment Collaboratives are Expanding!

Massachusetts is home to a number of collaborative efforts to improve employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.  This year, with funding from the Department of Developmental Services and the Department of Mental Health, these collaboratives will be growing in size and scope. 


Riverside Community Care is supporting the expansion of the Central Massachusetts Employment Collaborative, as well as the relaunch of the Greater Boston Employment Collaborative and the Greater Merrimack Valley Employment Collaborative (formerly the Merrimack Valley Partnership).  A new collaborative is being launched in the Northeast. 


Employer liaisons will be working with each of these collaboratives, and the South Shore Collaborative on Employment has added an employer liaison through its partnership with the Institute for Community Inclusion. An additional collaborative staffed by an employer liaison will be launched in the Hampden and Franklin/Hampshire area in October.    


All of the regional employment collaboratives have a cross-disability focus, and welcome membership from the full range of employment service providers in their region.


How can you benefit from the collaboratives? The collaboratives work like a portal.  They contact and engage a wide variety of employers, determine their needs, and help them match potential job opportunities with qualified applicants with disabilities.  The employment liaisons work with employers who have a presence in multiple regions.  And collaborative members in each region join a job developers network to coordinate their efforts and share job leads.


This approach allows each collaborative to develop an expansive network of employers.  So if you're helping someone with a disability find employment, working through the collaboratives saves you time.  Also, your clients will have access to the diverse career opportunities available in your region.


Employers appreciate the collaborative approach because it creates a single point of access where they can go to find qualified applicants as well as increase the diversity of their workforce.


Most importantly, the collaboratives model works.  The Central Massachusetts Collaborative alone helped successfully place approximately 170 job seekers last year. 


To connect with your local collaborative, contact the employment liaison in your region (see the list below).  For general information, contact Stephanie L. Marks, MEd, Director, Employment Collaboratives, at Riverside Community Care, at (781) 686-8146 or smarks@riversidecc.org.


Regional contacts:

  • Northeast Employment Collaborative: Kristianne Widman, Project Coordinator/Employer Liaison, (617) 352-2040, kwidman@riversidecc.org
  • Greater Boston Employment Collaborative: Marsha Knight, Project Coordinator/Employer Liaison, (617) 429-3695, mknight@riversidecc.org
  • South Shore Collaborative on Employment: Dave Urban, Employer Liaison, (617) 287-4366, david.urban@umb.edu
  • Central Mass Employment Collaborative: David Beccia, Project Coordinator, (781) 686-8144, dbeccia@riversidecc.org
  • Greater Merrimack Valley Employment Collaborative: Heather Mantell, Project Coordinator/Employer Liaison, (617) 512-3983, hmantell@riversidecc.org
Training Opportunities: Comprehensive Employment Supports

This six-day, 36-hour training series incorporates state-of-the-art practices in career planning, job development, job coaching, and support.  This series includes six full-day sessions between October and November.  It is expected that registrants will attend all training days.  Participants also have the opportunity to earn an ACRE Certificate of Achievement in Employment Services.

Registration will open soon--stay tuned for details!

Upcoming Events

Transition Matters Conference

Registration is open for the Transition Matters conference, coming up October 29 in Marlborough.  This will be a wonderful chance to network with other school professionals, adult service providers, and families of people with disabilities.


Conference sessions will address topics such as:

  • Results-oriented transition assessment
  • Learning from common district mistakes
  • Supporting youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems
  • Effective practices that support career readiness


Dr. Mary Morningstar from the University of Kansas will be our keynote speaker.  She will also lead a breakout session about working with families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.


Limited space is still available. Visit our website to register:




Raise the Bar Hire: 2014 Conference and Career Fair

Don't miss the 2nd annual Work Without Limits Conference and Career Fair, October 30 - 31 in Norwood!  It will feature keynote addresses, exhibitors, networking opportunities, and breakout sessions for a full day of learning, sharing and engaging with industry leaders on October 30 and a half-day career fair on October 31.

Visit the website to learn more: 

Stay in Touch!

If you didn't receive this e-newsletter directly and you'd like to subscribe, please go to: http://employmentfirstma.org/signup. Remember to add ici@umb.edu to your contacts to make sure that each issue makes it to your inbox.  

Institute for Community Inclusion | 617-287-4300 voice | ici@umb.edu  |  www.communityinclusion.org
UMass Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125