Linking Employment, Abilities and Potential


LEAP helps 20 consumers achieve individualized employment goals during pandemic

Posted on 10/29/20 in General

LEAP is excited to highlight the sustained success of our dedicated and talented consumer employment team as a capstone to our celebration of National Disability Awareness Month this October. Since COVID-19 was first identified in Ohio in March, LEAP has assisted 20 consumers achieve their employment goals.

“Helping Northeast Ohioans with disabilities find and maintain employment commensurate with their interests and talents is a core service critical to our agency’s mission of equality,” said Melanie Hogan, LEAP’s executive director. “Our employment services promote the independence and self-sufficiency of adults with disabilities and foster inclusive communities.”

Photo person facing computer w/person wearing mask on screen

LEAP’s Employment Services team creates opportunities for individuals with disabilities to achieve competitive, integrated employment where persons with disabilities are paid at a rate comparable to nondisabled workers performing the same tasks a in an environment that include employees with and without disabilities.

LEAP often works with employers to customize a job to meet unique employer needs that match a consumer’s skills. LEAP also provides job coaches, assistance in identifying assistive technology needs and specialized job training.

Since the pandemic’s onset, LEAP’s employment specialists have interacted with consumers and partner employers primarily remotely. This abrupt shift in service delivery combined with pandemic-related workforce changes have created challenges and opportunities.

While it is often more difficult to foster rapport and trust when engaging consumers virtually, our employment specialists reported having deeper, more thorough goal-setting conversations with individuals they are assisting because of the economic slowdown.

A similar paradox exists when examining how the pandemic has lessened, in some cases, the importance of transportation to achieving success in job-related tasks such as interviewing, while simultaneously placing a greater emphasis on the ability to access and effectively use digital tools. Likewise, the emergence of remote positions presents expanded opportunities for some and barriers for others.

“Despite much of our service delivery being transformed essentially overnight, our commitment to empowering consumers to chart their own path to employment success remains unchanged,” said Annie Jones, manager of LEAP’s Employment Services. “I’m proud of our team’s ability to adapt, in real-time, to the evolving needs of our consumers.”

Most of LEAP’s job placements during the pandemic have involved essential businesses, such as distribution centers and grocery and retail stories. In addition, several consumers have secured remote employment, performing duties such as scheduling appointments and conducting surveys.

“Thank you to our employer partners for their continued partnership,” said Jones. “They’re helping set the standard for inclusion within the workplace.”

This year marks the nation’s 75th observance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

Become a Job Coach

LEAP is actively seeking qualified candidates interested in helping our consumers achieve their employment goals by serving as a job coach. Visit the career section of our website to access a complete job description and instructions on how to apply.

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