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Wednesday, Feb 21, 2024

Combating 85% Unemployment with Social Enterprises

People with developmental disabilities face a staggering 85% unemployment rate, but when you talk to Mychal’s Learning Place founder Ed Lynch, “it’s not because they don’t have the abilities.”

“Our students are capable and able of accomplishing nearly anything with the right support,” said Lynch.

Mychal’s Learning Place creates programs to help youth and young adults with disabilities to learn to live a more independent life that includes gainful employment.

Mychal’s quickly realized that corporations needed help seeing what students abilities truly are, so they created two social enterprises. Mychal’s Print & Embroidery and Mychal’s Bakery & Coffee are those businesses, designed to create on-the-job training opportunities for Mychal’s Learning Place students to build their experience and also determine what their passions are. Eventually these social enterprises will not only create enough revenue to support the Mychal’s Learning Place organization, they will create employment opportunities and train hundreds of students who will then be able to seek out gainful employment with corporate partners.

Mychal’s has already created numerous partnerships in a variety of industries including ones with Kinecta Federal Credit Union, South Bay Ford, Centinella Feed and Modernica among others.

“These corporate partners are key to making meaningful impact when it comes to reducing the 85% unemployment rate that our students and other young adults with developmental disabilities face,” said Lynch.

With support from Mychal’s Learning Place staff, corporate partners open their doors to students, work with MLP staff on the job requirements, and then the Mychal’s staff work with students to train and help them learn the skills necessary to complete the work. In the end as students continue to learn and eventually thrive in the business environment, the ideal scenario would involve the business offering the student an official employee position.

Lynch added, “our students are capable and able, and we just need the support of the business community to help spread the word. Ask any of our current partners and they will tell you that having an employee with autism or down syndrome has led to an improved corporate culture and these employees have become an integral part of the organization.”

If you are interested in partnering with Mychal’s Learning Place to fight the inequity of the 85% unemployement rate for young adults with developmental disabilities, visit mychals.org, reach out to Ed Lynch at ed@mychals.org or call (310) 297-9333 for more information.


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