KeyBank Foundation Grants $120,000 to New Abilities First School

LaGrange, NY (March 4, 2016) – Abilities First’s Chief Advancement Officer, Melissa McCoy, announces a $120,000 grant has been awarded by KeyBank Foundation, whose funding priorities focus is to help communities thrive through improved education and workforce development, to establish The Abilities First & KeyBank Foundation – Workforce Readiness Program at the new Abilities First School in LaGrange. The new Abilities First school and state-of-the-art facility opened in LaGrange in December 2015 and serves over 100 students from throughout the Hudson Valley.

The Abilities First & KeyBank Foundation – Workforce Readiness Program is designed to give high school age students with disabilities real work experience before graduation, which they can use to enhance their readiness for employment after graduation. By providing transportation and professional staffing, the program will allow students to engage in a variety of community work experiences. The success of the program will be seen by the growth and improvement of each student during the annual evaluation, as well as a post-graduation analysis.

Why is this program so important? State and Federal Governments are shifting priorities for adult programs away from congregate care models (i.e., group homes, day programs) and toward community living and employment. Therefore, students who age out of special education programs must be much better prepared for true independent living and competitive employment. “Both Abilities First and KeyBank recognize the need to be ahead of the curve by enhancing real work opportunities for students with disabilities which will help them maximize their readiness to compete in the challenging world that we all share.

Abilities First is extremely grateful for the partnership and leadership from the KeyBank Foundation as we work together to support the potential of students with disabilities with the essential skills needed to succeed in the workforce and in life,” said McCoy.

“At KeyBank, we believe it is important that communities come together to make a difference by developing and supporting programs and organizations that create pathways for all people from every background with any ability to succeed,” said Ruth Mahoney, president, Hudson Valley/Metro NY Market, KeyBank N.A. “This is why we at KeyBank is so pleased to support Abilities First’s new workforce readiness program. By offering students with disabilities the opportunity to prepare for real-world experiences today, in a structured educational environment, we improve their chances of being contributors to the community tomorrow.”

“In light of state and federal mandates for workforce readiness, grants such as this supports the resources otherwise unavailable, to offer first-rate transition planning and work experience for all students,” said Elizabeth Faison, Principal of the Abilities First School.

Download PDF Here