US (MO): Lettuce Dream moves toward more customized employment services

Their mission statement may have changed over the years, but the fundamental values of Lettuce Dream, a non-profit focused on growing opportunities for people with disabilities, have remained the same. “All people should be included, valued, and provided with opportunities to do something that is meaningful to them,” Lettuce Dream Director Jennie Moore said.

“Everyone’s career journey looks different,” Moore said, who has been a director since June 2021 and previously served as board secretary since its inception in 2013. “It might take someone three weeks to find a job, and the next person might take six months. What’s most important is that it is a good fit for everyone.”

Moore said the greenhouse was previously used to create a training program so people with disabilities could gain workplace skills and experience. They were called interns and would go through a set of modules based on their skill level and ultimately graduate after mastering the modules.

“There was a lot of good, but we realized some issues,” Moore said. “The greenhouse is a controlled environment. The program wasn’t personalized to each person’s interests, preferences, and abilities, and it lacked inclusivity.”

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