Arc of Greater New Orleans

Project Name: Louisiana Green Corps

Contact Information:
Jonny Orlansky
(504) 837-5105
925 South Labarre Rd.
Metairie, LA 70001
Jonny@lagreencorps.org
http://www.arcgno.org

Project Goals

  • 45% of enrolled participants will continue with some type of post-secondary or technical training;
  • 75% of enrolled participants will be placed into a job. 50% of those placed will retain their job for at least six months; and
  • 75% of enrolled participants will demonstrate a higher level of independent living within the community (with or without supports).

Project Description

The LA Green Corps works with local high schools in Orleans and Jefferson Parish to co-enroll youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities into the LA Green Corps while they continue with regular academic school work. In addition to co-enrolling high school students, the LA Green Corps has also enrolled a cohort of 17-24 year old youth who have either dropped out of school or who are over 21. LA Green Corps recognizes this second category of individuals as a high risk group who require structure and support in order to make a successful transition to work and independent living. Both cohorts and undergo Life Skills training (whereby learning self care and independent living), work adjustment and readiness training, and have the opportunity to receive certifications in technical curriculums (alongside peers without disabilities). The second cohort is also enrolled in the LA Green Corps’ Adult Education enrichment classes.

Twenty percent (20%) of the participants’ time is spent in an interactive classroom environment and the other eighty percent (80%) of their time is spent on paid work experience on service project sites. Through participating in technical education and service projects, Corps members are able to experience vocational education and gain a broader perspective on the type of work activities they prefer. Participants are enrolled as AmeriCorps Members and are eligible for an AmeriCorps Education Award upon successful completion of the program, emphasizing the feasibility of post-secondary education.

Through the development of an Individual Development Plan (IDP), each Corps member works on transitional planning from the very beginning of the program term. Corps members benefit from a close network of peers with and without disabilities, staff members who serve as mentors and teachers, and parents who are engaged from the beginning of the term. Graduating participants receive supported employment assistance provided by Arc of Greater New Orleans Employment Services division. Once individuals are registered for support, they receive ongoing support in individual jobs. Throughout the program term, participants are encouraged to direct their own behaviors and becoming involved in their own life decisions and transition process.