KenCrest’s Ticket to Work NBI Program Helps People Earn More Money
The New Business Ideas Initiative funds programs that benefit the people we support, and our Ticket to Work program does just that.
By Sydney Kerelo
In 1997, KenCrest sold its 152-acre Rivercrest site for $6 million. Fast forward to 2019, when KenCrest’s CEO and President Marian Baldini began the New Business Ideas initiative that utilizes the funds from that sale to develop new models and products to benefit the people we support.
One program funded through the New Business Ideas initiative is the Ticket to Work program, connecting the people we support with free employment services to help them prepare to work and understand their benefits.
According to Allison Smale, our Director of Employment Programs, Ticket to Work is a federal program of the social security administration designed to help people best understand their social security benefits and help them no longer need those benefits.
“The people we support can earn more money through Ticket to Work,” she says. “There are fears around losing your social security benefits, and we should be supporting people with disabilities to earn more money and not rely on social security.”
Additionally, those involved in the Ticket to Work program have access to benefits counseling, a service funded by the Office of Developmental Programs, ODP, and Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, OVR. This service helps the people we support, and their teams understand their benefits and leverage those benefits to the best of their abilities.
“This program is essential because it helps the people we support understand that they would have to earn a lot of money before losing their benefits,” says Smale. “They can still live in Lifesharing and within a KenCrest house when their income is higher. If they don’t have a benefits counselor, they don’t know how to harness their benefits to their best abilities.”
Currently, KenCrest’s Ticket to Work program is partnered with Community Integrated Services (CIS), an established Employment Network (EN), to help further our organization’s understanding of the ins and outs of the employment world. KenCrest is an integral part of a person’s employment team that will help them on the journey to financial independence.
Those involved in the Ticket to Work program have access to career counseling, vocational rehabilitation, resume development, interview preparation, job placement, training, and benefits counseling.
To be involved in the Ticket to Work program, each person must be aged 18-64, received SSDI/SSI, and would like to find employment. Once that person and KenCrest begin working together, a plan’s developed to help them reach their work goals to have a financially independent life.