By Daniela Trammell, director of marketing at MRC
Last week the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC), the City of Boston, and a number of local businesses assembled in Boston's City Hall to celebrate “Disability Mentoring Day.” This event affirmed the joint partnership between MRC and the City, both of which are deeply committed to providing mentoring and employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The event at City Hall honored the many accomplishments of 20 Boston area MRC consumers who completed summer-long internships and mentoring roles at City Hall.
The summer internships were made possible by the pledge of the Kristen McCosh, commissioner of the Mayor’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities for the City of Boston.
Commissioner McCosh emphasized to the group, “I was a former Mass Rehab client and they helped me with my van, schooling, and internships. MRC gave me the confidence to get back to work and they really changed my life. When I became Commissioner I really wanted to focus on employment for people with disabilities.” Commissioner McCosh has shown that abiding commitment throughout her tenure at City Hall and MRC’s Roxbury and Boston Vocational Rehabilitation offices were quick to seize upon the opportunity to both work with the City of Boston, and more importantly, provide quality work exposure and training opportunities for people with disabilities.
Last week’s celebration was emceed by George Mitchell, a job placement specialist at MRC’s Roxbury office, and was an opportunity for MRC to recognize participants in the summer program as well match MRC consumers with the agency’s ’s employer partners regarding work opportunities within their companies.
Mr. Wilfredo Montes, a former MRC consumer, delivered a keynote address, stressing that MRC was a key resource when he was looking for work. “I have a disability and I have dealt with many challenges in my life,” Mr. Montes said. “ I continue to work on my challenges – but there is hope and help. One of my resources was MRC. I went on many job interviews. But I didn’t give up and you should not give up. Be persistent.” After a year of working with MRC, and remaining proactive in his job search, Mr. Montes secured a full-time position as case manager at a local homeless shelter.
As part of the City Hall celebration, the MRC summer interns were paired with MRC business partners. A representative from each of the following companies met with the interns: Ace Employment Services, Bay Cove Human Services, City of Boston Credit Union, CVS Caremark, LaundroMax, Manpower Inc, Price Rite Supermarket and the University of Massachusetts at Boston. Following the breakout sessions, nine MRC interns were hired that afternoon by employers, delivering a total of seven MRC summer interns that have been hired into permanent positions.
Joan Phillips, assistant commissioner of MRC Vocational Rehabilitation division remarked, “MRC wants to educate employers that persons with disabilities represent an untapped and valuable employment resource. Today is a testament of the commitment of our employer partners and their willingness to not turn this into a PR event but to make real efforts to hire our consumers. This means a lot to me and to MRC.”
The celebration at City Hall concluded with Commissioner McCosh and the MRC Employment Specialist team handing out certificates of completion to MRC consumers that participated in the internship program this summer, with the collective pledge to continue the joint partnership and expand it to other city departments. MRC consumers, staff and City of Boston colleagues came away feeling both gratified and grateful for their experiences.
The following summer mentees and interns were honored at City Hall on October 11:
City of Boston – Summer Mentees
City of Boston – Summer Interns