Wells Fargo Grants JFS $5,000 for Vocational Services

Posted on May 17, 2016

Jewish Family Service (JFS) has received a $5,000 grant from Wells Fargo to support the agency’s vocational services program, Project Aware WORKS.  This program enables young adults (18+) with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to gain valuable training, education and work experience with the goal of ultimately gaining permanent employment. Grant funds will also support the Financial Literacy School, a new component of the program.

“Addressing critical community needs in South Jersey and other areas we serve is a priority for Wells Fargo,” said James Newson, South Jersey Area President, Wells Fargo. “Thanks to this grant and the work of Jewish Family Service, young adults with ASD are receiving critical workforce training so they can find permanent employment, as well as financial education courses. We salute the non-profit's achievements with Project Aware WORKS and are proud to be a supporter.”

Studies show that individuals with ASD have much higher rates of unemployment and underemployment than both the general population and individuals with other disabilities. Project AWARE Works has weekly group classes that focus on social, communication, time-management and self-management skills. Each participant is assessed for their occupational interests, skills and abilities. Participants of the program work on-on-one with an employment specialist to find internships that best match their interests and abilities. With multiple employment specialists on staff, they assist participants with job searching, resume writing, interview skills and other important factors to help secure paid employment.

Financial literacy is a key component of Project Aware WORKS. Banking is often difficult for individuals with ASD as it combines math and finances with social interaction. In the Financial Literacy School, students will learn how to open a bank account, set personal financial goals, develop a spending plan as well as visit a bank to ask questions.

“We greatly appreciate Wells Fargo’s support of our Project AWARE Works program and the young adults we serve,” said Andrea Steinberg, JFS CEO. “It is wonderful to see that with a little help and guidance, individuals with ASD can utilize these tools to become successful in the workplace.”