HOPE Hires Landscaping Firm Urban Edge That Employs Adults with Developmental Disabilities
by IAN NEVAREZ
Adults with developmental disabilities have the capability and desire to work. Just like anyone, they strive for respect and they aspire to live as independently as possible. Despite these desires and abilities, many remain unemployed or underemployed in today’s economy. HOPE wants to be a catalyst in changing this reality.
In partnership with the forward thinking venture Urban Edge Gardening Services, HOPE is now helping to employ members of this important segment of our community. Founded in April of 2016, Urban Edge is coordinated by Diverse Journeys, a 501(c)3 public charity. Speaking on the origins of this entrepreneurial enterprise, Executive Director Amanda Gerhardt explained, “Our goal was to develop a small business that was owned and operated by regional center clients. This business model provides real work experience, real business ownership, and the clients are earning real paychecks.”
For HOPE and Diverse Journeys, implementing a model that includes hiring adults with developmental disabilities makes business sense. We understand the research that points directly to the many clear benefits of employing these ready and willing workers.
In the article “The Employer's Perception: Employment of individuals with developmental disabilities,” authors Robert Morgan and Melina Alexander found that companies identified several advantages to employing from this population at a higher rate. “The most frequently identified advantages were consistent attendance, workforce diversity, long-term employment, and co-worker partnerships.”
Currently, Urban Edge Gardening Services has two teams made up of three clients each. And the business owners are Westside Regional Center clients who live in Diverse Journey’s Family Teaching Homes. One currentUrban Edge employeeshared his feelings about this new job, "I really enjoy getting up and going to work every day; I get excited when I get my paycheck." And we can all relate to the increased peace of mind that comes with stable employment.
HOPE is happy to announce that for the past 10 months we have received outstanding service through Urban Edge at five of our properties in Los Angeles and Hawthorne. Due to this successful partnership, we are looking into additional ways we can employ and contract with firms that prioritize hiring adults with developmental disabilities in the future.
We couldn’t continue our mission without the support of our community. To assist HOPE in covering our operational expenses, like renovations, property management, and landscaping of our more than 80 homes, make a donation today.