Services and Service Innovation, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, I/DD, Developmental Disabilities, Access to Integrated Employment, ThinkWork
Organization Development | Rehabilitation and Therapy | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Work | Sociology
Progressive Employment Concepts (PEC), a community rehabilitation provider with several locations in northern California, was founded in 1995 to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to find employment in their communities. PEC currently supports 90 people in individual jobs. A core belief at PEC is that everyone it serves is job-ready and can work in competitive employment in their communities. PEC began Lending Works, a nonprofit organization, in 2007. Lending Works provides loans to people with disabilities interested in self-employment. Loans are usually up to $2,000, and people apply for them by submitting information about themselves and their business plan. Since self-employment ventures require start-up capital that the individuals do not typically have, Progressive Employment Concepts obtained grant funding ($20,000) for loans through the Alta Regional Center, a foundation that supports agencies serving people with developmental disabilities. In addition to this funding, a private donor contributed another $10,000 to get Lending Works going. At the same time, PEC hired Judy Odipo, a consultant with extensive background in business development. A volunteer board of directors, made up of individuals with IDD and advised by Judy and other staff, was convened to meet regularly and review loan applications. Board members receive eight months of training to evaluate applications for loans. They use a series of prompts to keep track of meeting agenda items and each board member has a template to assist with their responsibilities.
ThinkWork! at the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston, "Service Provider Promising Practice: Lending Works from Progressive Employment Concepts (California) - Helping Business Owners Find Start-Up Capital" (2014). ThinkWork! Publications. 50.