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Metro Detroit nonprofit helps people with barriers to employment get jobs

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Posted at 1:36 AM, Mar 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-05 09:16:12-05

(WXYZ) — Metro Detroiters with intellectual disabilities are learning job skills through art and music in new programming at Gesher Human Services. The nonprofit agency helps people with barriers to employment get jobs.

  • Participants in Gesher’s Skill Building Program are attending the College for Creative Studies one day a week, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra one day a week, to explore varying disciplines of art and music in a semester-long program. The initiative is part of Creative Expressions, a multi-disciplinary arts program run by Gesher for adults with who live with mental health challenges or disabilities.
  • The Skill Building Program provides metro Detroiters with intellectual and developmental challenges vital skills for them to become more integrated into the community through meaningful volunteer and other work.
  • The collaboration with the College for Creative Studies Community Arts Partnership lets participants explore fields of art such as fine arts, industrial design, interior design, graphic design, entertainment arts and video game design.
  • A photojournalism class in the afternoon offers a chance to learn presentation and other skills by displaying photographic images they have taken that morning.
  • At the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO), participants meet with a certified music therapist along with DSO musicians. They learn about music as a profession and how to play various instruments.
  • Participants also choose music that they would like to perform, and plan for a performance where they will be accompanied by DSO musicians in front of an audience.
  • The new initiative came about after disabled adults who attend a different, non-vocational program run by Gesher, joined a fashion design class in 2022 at CCS. Skill Building Program participants wanted a similar opportunity, to explore jobs beyond more traditional jobs like meals on wheels and janitorial work.
  • Participants in the art and music programs come from Gesher Human Services centers in Detroit and Southfield.
  • Benefits of the programming include: better hand and other motor skills, learning to express ideas in a variety of ways, expansion of team-building skills, learning about careers in the arts.
  • Visit shopcreativeexpressions.com or geshermi.org for more information.