Teaching Together Chicago launches Paid Internship Program for Adults with Disabilities in Chicago Catholic Schools

  • Erin (left), an intern at St. John of the Cross Parish School, reads with a St. John of the Cross student. Erin was offered a full-time position following her Teaching Together Chicago internship.Jennifer Amdur Spitz

    Erin (left), an intern at St. John of the Cross Parish School, reads with a St. John of the Cross student. Erin was offered a full-time position following her Teaching Together Chicago internship.Jennifer Amdur Spitz

 
Kristin Tassi

Teaching Together Chicago, a partnership among the Archdiocese of Chicago and several social service agencies, today launched a paid internship program for adults with disabilities within Chicago Catholic schools.

 

Adult interns, principals, teachers, and social service agency partners gathered at Old St. Patrick's Church to kick off the program, which provides hands-on, practical work experience to adults with physical and mental disabilities, placing them in support roles within Chicago's Catholic schools, where their assistance is greatly needed.

 

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, adults with disabilities have the highest unemployment rates (24%) of any population. Teaching Together Chicago provides access to much-needed employment experience, providing opportunities to secure a first job and reference for adults with disabilities. 

 

"Disability and poverty go hand-in-hand," said Patti Herbst, executive director for the Center for Independence. "Only through employment will people pull themselves out of poverty. Our goal is to open doors that lead to permanent employment." 

 

Following a successful pilot in 2016, 10 of the 12 adult interns were offered full-time positions within the schools.

 

Working with local social service agencies and made possible through grants by The Coleman Foundation, Teaching Together Chicago places adult interns in support positions within classrooms, in clerical or maintenance functions, or with extracurricular programs, depending on the interns' interests and abilities. The social service agencies provide ongoing assistance to interns and schools through job training, mentoring, and follow-up.

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Paid internships run 10 weeks, but may be extended, up to and including permanent employment.

"Our Catholic schools truly are centers of hope within our communities," said Cardinal Blase Cupich. "Teaching Together Chicago helps us live out our calling as Catholics: to help others and welcome all. My hope is that this program will allow people to appreciate their own gifts as well as the gifts of those who serve them."

 

For more information, please visit http://www.teachingtogetherchicago.org.

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