City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Paving the Way to Employment

Easterseals Offers Individuals With Disabilities a Path Forward in Greater Cincinnati

In 1907, Edgar Allen of Elyria, Ohio lost his son in a tragic streetcar incident. Because a lack of local medical resources contributed to the death, Edgar rerouted his career and opened a hospital in his hometown. He quickly realized there was a stigma surrounding children with physical disabilities, as they were kept hidden from public view. This inspired Edgar to launch the National Society for Crippled Children in 1919, later renamed Easterseals during a highly successful campaign where donors placed artistic seals on envelopes during Easter to raise program funds. 

Today, Easterseals is America’s largest nonprofit healthcare organization. With a network of 75 locations in the U.S., each year they serve over 1.4 million people with physical and mental disabilities and special needs. 

According to Easterseals Serving Greater Cincinnati (ESGC) Marketing Manager, Michael Beauchat, the local affiliate annually assists approximately 7,000 people in need. About 85 percent of those people live at or below the poverty line, which is less than $13,000 a year for an individual or $26,000 a year for a family of four. 

“People living with a developmental disability are often paid one-third less than a typical employee, which makes it harder for them to find sustainable employment,” Michael states.

Many Easterseals affiliates focus on the needs unique to their community. ESGC primarily tailors to those needing employment like veterans, the disabled, those who lack necessary resources and skills, and especially teens entering adulthood after high school. 

According to Michael, ESGC’s Career Connection program assists those ages 16 to 24 with disadvantages including leaving high school before graduation, homelessness, transportation issues, language or literacy barriers and more. This program provides training, tutoring and work experiences.

Another ESGC local program is Work and Grow, providing participants with different levels of mental acuity paid employment and social activities that promote health.

“In some cases, we’re partnered with a local organization,” says Michael. “For example, in Butler County, Easterseals provides job supports for Project SEARCH, which is a collaboration with Butler Tech, UC Health [West Chester Hospital], Miami University, Atrium Medical Center and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities.

“This program provides education, job support, interview training, and transportation to interviews for students with developmental disabilities who are preparing to transition from high school to work,” he adds.

One unique aspect of Easterseals is the level of individual care it gives.

“When someone is referred to us, our case managers work directly with the person, accessing all the available benefits to that person to ultimately help them receive employment and the care that they need,” Michael explains.

Easterseals is not just for teens. One of Easterseals’ adult-based service programs is Cincinnati’s Building Value store in the Northside neighborhood. Crews of people who are facing economic disadvantages are taught construction skills to salvage reusable materials from local homes undergoing renovations. These donated materials are then sold to the community at a storefront for up to 75 percent off retail value and the profits go back into the program. 

“We’re helping people become more independent through employment,” says Michael. “For people with disabilities, it’s the pride in earning a paycheck and being a part of something bigger. It’s helping them become more in charge of their own destiny.”

Easterseals of Greater Cincinnati, 2901 Gilbert Ave, Cincinnati, 513.281.2316,