ROSELLE, NJ — Michele Ford, president and CEO, Inroads to Opportunities, was a recent guest on Business RadioX, with host Lee Kantor. Inroads is a Union County non-profit human services agency that provides programs and services to individuals with disabilities ranging in age from 16 to retirement.
During their discussion, Ford and Kantor discussed the programs and services offered at Inroads. The conversation ranged from vocational exploration and career planning to job development placement and a school-to-work transition for young adults.
“The disability community has a broad range of skills, just like the regular community,” Ford said. “We have college graduates who are nonreaders. So, every industry can benefit from having a diverse and rich workforce. That includes people who are facing challenges in their life.”
Her devotion to this line of work is motivated by personal experiences and her passion for serving as an advocate. The goal of Inroads’ mission is to lessen the unemployment gap for individuals with disabilities which currently stands at “34 percent unemployment for ages 16 to 64,” Ford said.
When speaking on her outreach process to businesses, she said, “We are in close contact with the business community and do task analysis with the employer to make sure we understand the full components of the job… we’re getting the best candidates for them.”
Throughout her years of dedication, Ford has formed valuable relationships with employers, past program participants, and the community.
Within the last year, Ford has been recognized as a “2022 NJBIZ ICON” by NJBIZ, the Shero Award given by the Union County Board of Commissioners, as well as receiving the “Inventive Leader in Adult Services, Courage and Compassion Award,” presented by the NJ Association of Mental Health & Addiction Agencies previously.
Photo Courtesy of Amy Delman