Podcast: How to Bridge the Gap Between Disability & Employment

  • How to Bridge the Gap Between Disability & Employment

How to Bridge the Gap Between Disability & Employment
April 28, 2021
Podcast: How to Bridge the Gap Between Disability & Employment

Dirk Bakhuyzen
Dirk Bakhuyzen, Executive Director

Dirk Bakhuyzen

Beyond26 [https://beyondtwentysix.org/] began in 2018 by a group of community members who noticed a lack of opportunity for adults who are over the age of 26 and have developmental disabilities. This group, comprised of parents of adult children with disabilities and individuals deeply connected to these families, understood that 26 is a critical age for an adult with disabilities; this is the age of discovery, and also the year they age out of Michigan’s education system. While the next step should likely be employment, these opportunities are, unfortunately, few and far between for adults with disabilities. We aim to bridge this gap between local businesses and a community of job seekers by using positive engagement through employment and volunteer opportunities.

Upon opening its’ doors, We had an immediate outpouring of adults with disabilities coming forth and seeking job placement services. Additionally, after consulting a variety of local agencies who also work

with individuals with disabilities, it was undeniable that this service was much needed in our West Michigan community. We are proud to have placed six job seekers within the first year and more than tripled that number in the following nine months! As these numbers continue to increase, we are rising to the occasion to successfully support individuals with developmental disabilities and connect them to meaningful employment so they may thrive as individuals, and thrive within our community.


Executive Director Dirk Bakhuyzen shares the “WHY” Beyond26 is making a difference

Exploring Beyond26′ gives new purpose to people in West Michigan

13 On Your Side
Employed jobseeker Bobby and Executive Director Dirk are featured on 13 On Your Side’s “Volunteer Wednesday” program to talk about how you can get involved with Beyond26 and our mission!


13 On Your Side
13 On Your Side visits the Beyond26 Document Shredding site to highlight this growing branch, and the hardworking document shredders who are employed there!


FOX 17
FOX 17 hosts jobseeker Joe and former Director of Development, Will, to talk about our mission and how Joe’s journey with Beyond26.

Meet Bobby at J&H Oil
“I love working here, it’s just amazing. The best part of the job is… being friendly and smiling at people… it’s just really awesome. I have a really great experiencehere”

Beyond26: Jason’s Client Story
Beyond26 shares the story of its client Jason Jordan II and how he was able to gain employment after unsuccessful attempts in the past.

Meet Robert at Document Shredding
Robert has moved on from our Document Shredding program to a job in his community, but he wanted to let everyone know, “If you need a job, ask Dirk. He’s my man. He will help you if you need the help.”

Rev. Bill Gaventa
Rev. Bill Gaventa

Rev. Bill Gaventa is the Director of Community and Congregational Supports at the Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, and Associate Professor, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.


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