Goodwill NYNJ Celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the ADA

This year on July 26, Goodwill Industries of Greater NY and Northern NJ (Goodwill NYNJ) marks the 30th anniversary of the signing of the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, education, and public accommodations. While the ADA has provided the disability community with increased access, Goodwill NYNJ recognizes that much work still needs to be done to ensure equitable access for all.

Since its founding in 1915, Goodwill NYNJ has supported employment opportunities for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment. Currently, Goodwill NYNJ provides:

  • Customized job placement and support services
  • Supported employment services
  • On-the-job training
  • Community-based work assessment and evaluation
  • Behavioral health services to assist individuals with emotional and psychological recovery
  • Occupational skills training through our partnership with for-profit companies
  • Job retention and/or career advancement services
  • Transitional services to prepare youth for life after high school
  • Psychosocial clubhouses with opportunities for temporary employment to build skills and confidence

Goodwill NYNJ partners with private companies and public agencies like the NYS Office of Mental Health, the NYS Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities, the NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene, NJ Department of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Hudson County Office of Disabilities and Division of Developmental Disabilities to deliver cutting edge employment services of the highest quality. In 2019, we provided employment services for more than 7,000 people with disabilities and helped nearly 800 individuals to secure competitive jobs.

Goodwill NYNJ is a leader in providing a full range of job readiness, placement and support for persons on the spectrum in multiple locations in the New York City metropolitan region. For instance, we help high school graduates like Ying Zheng, who knew where his interests lied: Technology. He had taught himself at home how to use computers, and smart phones and boards.

Ying Zheng

Still, after graduating from high school with an IEP (Individualized Educational Program) diploma at age 21 in June 2012, Ying, a man with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), came to Goodwill NYNJ seeking help in securing a job. He needed someone who would help him make the connection between technology and a career. Our staff assessed him skills and noticed that he was good at memorizing -that's how he learned the steps to research online.

So when the time was right, our team found paid internships for him to explore job options. He worked in diverse companies and positions. These internships were an eye-opener -he enjoyed the job responsibilities. Soon, our placement team helped him apply for a data entry specialist position at St. Francis Xavier High School.

But Goodwill NYNJ goes beyond finding jobs – we want to ensure individuals with disabilities have a well-rounded life outside work. Last year, Ying was transferred to one of our programs for adults with severe disabilities who are working. Next Steps offers recreation and socialization

activities, as well as activities focused on helping workers with disabilities make the next steps in their lives. Ying continues to receive support during his days off of work, socializes with his peers and is working on achieving a more self-sufficient life. He wants to live on his own – that is: True independence!

The vision of Goodwill NYNJ is to creating a world with no employment barriers and opportunities for all. We are dedicated to making community-based work at family-sustaining wages a reality for every person who seeks a job.

For information about our programs for job-seekers with and without disabilities, please email services@goodwillny.org.