Corporate Partnerships are an integral part of the success of Birch Family Services. There are a variety of ways that corporations, committed to social responsibility and people with disabilities being a part of their diversity and inclusion initiatives, can get involved with us and have an impact. Our education and community support programs offer opportunities for corporations to become involved in literacy and community integration initiatives. Our New Frontier program, which supports men and women on the autism spectrum who have aged out of school or graduated from college and find limited services available to them, has benefitted from corporate engagement. There are opportunities for corporations throughout New York City to leverage their expertise, network, and resources to significantly impact the lives of the young adult population of individuals with autism and developmental disabilities through internships, employment and other corporate education. The following are ongoing initiatives that we encourage you to consider.
Birch Family Services Corporate Advisory Network
Through our Corporate Advisory Network of diverse corporate and organizational leaders, we aim to increase support for New Frontier, help create job opportunities for young adults (21 or older) on the spectrum who have completed appropriate training programs, and eliminate misconceptions and biases about working with people with disabilities with the ultimate goal of removing barriers to employment for the community we support. The network also provides professional development, training, and mentorship opportunities for New Frontier individuals.
The Corporate Advisory Network, meeting 3-4 times a year, is committed to the principles of diversity and inclusion in the workplace for individuals with autism and developmental disabilities. As such, it serves as an advisory body and strategic partner committed to sharing best practices, expertise, and opportunities that will help facilitate employment and internship opportunities for individuals.
Stay Tuned for Info on the Next CAN Meeting. . .
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE LAST MEETING:
Birch Family Services convened the Corporate Advisory Network meeting on Tuesday, November 30, 2021. We welcomed PNC Bank’s Carmen Bruce, VP of Diversity Recruiting Advisor, and Greg Pollack, Accessibility Officer, who presented on the bank’s accessibility and disabilities hiring strategy.
Additional presenters included:
- Matt Sturiale, President & CEO of Birch Family Services, who provided an update on the state of employment for people with autism and developmental disabilities at this stage of the pandemic as New York City and its businesses begin to reopen; and
- Ludovica Alcorn, Employment Specialist Manager, New Frontier, who updated the network on how members of our employment and social skills development program are shaking off lockdown furloughs and layoffs and jumping feet first back into the job market!
Birch Family Services Mentorship Program
Corporate mentors assist New Frontier participants to develop and fulfill their full potential by providing expert knowledge and professional advice. Mentors engage mentees in discussion about workplace etiquette, networking, and navigating work norms as well as help them to clarify goals and individual needs. For their part, mentees share what they hope to achieve through the mentorship and the areas that they feel are in need of improvement. Mentees also take advantage of any opportunities for job shadowing presented by the mentor and take part in mock interviews and resume discussions.
New Frontier Volunteer/Internship Program
Through corporate partnerships, the New Frontier Volunteer/Internships Program provides New Frontier participants with the opportunity to learn about workplace norms and allows them to gain workplace skills in an area of interest (i.e., museums, zoos, finance, technology, or schools). It also offers participants opportunities to enhance their “soft skills” (i.e., time management skills, communication skills, and ability to accept constructive criticism). Through the program, corporate partners assist New Frontier participants in developing their executive functioning skills, such as organizational skills, understanding others’ points of view, and staying on task.
For more information about the Corporate Advisory Network or other partnership opportunities, contact Nicole Thornton, Deputy Director of Development, at Nicole.Thornton@birchfamilyservices.org.