By Kevin P. MacDonald, Chief Executive Officer of The Arc – Los Angeles & Orange Counties
It is an exciting time in Southern California for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD)! On July 20, we celebrated the opening of a franchise to further our mission of employing people with I/DD. With an unemployment rate of 85% for people with developmental disabilities and state funding at a standstill for years – we decided to find a creative way to employ people with disabilities in our community.
Partnering with a New York based franchise called “Just-A-Buck” and with the assistance of a local benefactor we were able to make this dream come true.
The store employs 5 people with I/DD, each of them earning a salary at or above minimum wage, working alongside employees without disabilities. The employees participate in all aspects of making the store a success. The new store will also provide an added bonus: to have people come into the store and see our workers and what they are capable of instead of their disability, you just can’t measure that! We believe that work gives everyone, especially those with disabilities, purpose and dignity and it helps them achieve independence and economic self-sufficiency.
To learn more about the store visit our website: www.thearclaoc.org. Also, if you live in the Los Angeles area stop by and visit us: 141 E. Willow Street in Long Beach at the Wrigley Shopping Center (Willow & Long Beach Boulevard).