Current research indicates that 85 percent of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are unemployed, but ADEC is working to change that.

ADEC, a nonprofit that helps people with disabilities lead lives full of choice and possibility, is hosting a free lunch workshop on Feb. 1 for employers. The workshop is titled “Employing and Working with People with Disabilities: Misconceptions, Myths and the Benefits to You.”

Lunch will be catered for the workshop, which will run from 12-1 p.m. at the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce, 418 S. Main Street.

Sara Howard, ADEC’s director of community employment, said she hopes to show business owners and leaders that inclusion works and that people with disabilities have something great to offer in the workplace.

During the February workshop, Howard will make a case for why employers should tap into the underutilized labor market and share tips for working with people with disabilities.

Anyone interested in attending the workshop should contact Howard at or 574-522-7752 by Monday, Jan. 30.

Over the last year, ADEC has helped more than 40 employers in Elkhart and St. Joseph counties fill open positions with pre-screened, qualified and job-ready candidates. 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.”

Employers interested in working with ADEC are invited to attend an additional workshop on May 3. This final workshop in the series will explain ADEC’s community employment process and how employers can take advantage of ADEC’s services. ADEC provides job coaching, training, assistance and support for employees at no cost to the employer.

The workshop series is funded by an Arc@Work grant.