Work Without Limits is an initiative of the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Disability, Health and Employment Policy Unit, whose mission is to create solutions that maximize employment opportunities and improve the health and well-being of people with disabilities served by public programs.
Since its inception in 2009, Work Without Limits has worked alongside a multitude of stakeholders including employers, employment service providers, state agencies, individuals with disabilities, and family members to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
Employers and businesses become members of Work Without Limits through the Massachusetts Business Leadership Network (MABLN). Community based organizations and state agencies become partners through formal memorandums of understanding that support a mutually beneficial and collaborative relationship, and optimize employment programs, services and outcomes for those who are seeking them.
Work Without Limits also provides training, consulting and capacity building services to employers and businesses as well as employment service providers and state agencies. Through our BenePLAN program, we support individuals with disabilities to move toward their employment goals by providing information on how working and earning or increasing wages will affect public benefits such as SSI or SSDI, Medicaid and Medicare, subsidized housing, TANF, SNAP and others.
In 2008 and in partnership with key stakeholders and members of Massachusetts state government, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, funded by the federal Medicaid Infrastructure and Comprehensive Employment Opportunities grant, undertook a broad-based strategic planning effort to create a plan to maximize employment opportunities for people with disabilities in Massachusetts and to address the many challenges that contribute to unemployment and under-employment of people with disabilities. One of the results of this process was the creation of Work Without Limits.
In anticipation of the end of the federal funding in 2012, the team at UMass Medical School developed a plan to continue the programs and services of Work Without Limits. Much had been accomplished under the grant yet the employment rates still lagged greatly – we were not done yet! Fueled by a strategic business development plan and the unwavering support of the medical school and our twelve founding corporate sponsors, we transitioned from a sole source of government funding to a diversified portfolio of revenue that provides a solid foundation for WWL to continue toward achieving its goal.
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