Vocational Education Programming

 

Our Impact

At Reed’s Organic Farm, we focus on abilities, not disabilities.  We provide employment opportunities to our community members living with cognitive disabilities, to engage them in meaningful work in the culinary and regenerative agriculture fields.  Working together towards the goal of nurturing the health of our community and our ecosystem enhances the lives of these individuals, as well as the culture and inclusion of Atlantic County.  Our mission is critically important to Atlantic County due to the following facts:

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of children identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder is 1 in 44 children nationally and 1 in 35 in New Jersey.

  • Less than 20% of people living with a disability were employed in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • The CDC reports that 10.8% of Americans live with a cognitive disability.

 

Objectives

To provide vocational education, community engagement opportunities, and meaningful employment to individuals experiencing underemployment due to cognitive disabilities, particularly the over-21 population who has aged out of the supportive school system.

 

Overview

Reed’s Organic Farm will provide employment and vocational education opportunities to individuals living with cognitive disabilities through our gardens, kitchen, and market space.  We work with local advocacy groups to provide a site for vocational education and community engagement, through hands-on work and volunteer opportunities for adults living with cognitive disabilities.
 

Current Partners

  • Jevs Human Services

JEVS Human Services provides career services to individuals with physical, developmental, or emotional challenges as well as those facing adverse socio economic conditions including unemployment.  A Meaningful Purpose has worked with JEVS Human Services since 2021 to host internship programs for their youth and adult clients, who benefit from vocational education and community engagement opportunities offered on the farm.

  • Kingsway Learning Center

Kingsway Learning Center provides an alternative educational environment designed specifically for the academic, therapeutic, social, and emotional development of students with multiple disabilities.  We host their students for internships during their extended school year as a part of their school-to-work program.

  • Y.A.L.E. School

Y.A.L.E. School serves students with one or a  combination of emotional, behavioral, social, or learning disabilities.  We have partnered with Y.A.L.E. since 2021 to host internships for their students and offer them vocational education and community engagement opportunities.  We also partner with their woodworking program at the Northfield Campus to construct items needed on the farm, as well as their Maker Lab in Cherry Hill to create printed merchandise for the farm.