As the unemployment rate continues to drop in Elkhart County, ADEC works to help employers meet their staffing needs by welcoming people with disabilities into the workplace.

To make this a smooth process for both businesses and ADEC clients, ADEC Community Employment hosted quarterly workshops over the past year to introduce employers to ADEC and explain all the ways ADEC works to support the employment process from beginning to end.

This series will come to an end on Wednesday, Aug. 9, with a job fair from 12-2 at the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce (418 S Main St, Elkhart, IN 46516) for ADEC Community Employment clients. Local employers are invited to come and meet with ADEC clients who are actively looking for jobs or the opportunity to shadow employees for a day or two as they discover their talents.

“They’ve been sitting through our workshops, learning about our process, but this is a chance for them to meet our clients and [give our clients] that real world experience,” said Sara Howard, senior manager of ADEC Community Employment. “Most of our employers really get how this works now and are excited about the opportunity to reach out to our clients.”

Over the past several months, employers have learned how to navigate the Americans with Disabilities Act, how ADEC Community Employment’s process works and best practices for working with a person with intellectual or developmental disabilities. In the process, several businesses have already hired ADEC clients or started offering job shadow opportunities.

ADEC helped more than 40 employers in Elkhart and St. Joseph counties fill open positions with pre-screened, qualified and job-ready candidates in 2016. ADEC also provided employment services to more than 300 clients who were ready to find dignity and meaning in work.

“I have some very valuable associates thanks to ADEC,” said Melissa Armstrong, a Walmart store manager. “The staff is always willing to come in and work with their clients and consult with us when there is a problem.”

For businesses who have considered working with ADEC, but are unsure of how this process works, ADEC Community Employment staff members are available to provide this training on demand. Contact Sara Howard, senior manager of Community Employment, at [email protected] or 574-522-7752 for more information.

If you are interested in being a part of the job fair, please contact Sara Howard at [email protected] or 574-522-7752 by Monday, Aug. 7.

This workshop series has been made possible by a grant from the Arc@Work.