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Who We Are – AccessAbility

Who We Are

Our Mission

AccessAbility is one of 403 Centers for Independent Living in the country.  We are a federally funded, non-residential, not-for-profit, for-purpose organization in South Carolina. AccessAbility is a 501(c)(3) organization  The organization has been serving the counties of Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester, Orangeburg and Williamsburg since 2001.  AccessAbility promotes the full integration of people with disabilities in their communities. We strive to empower people with disabilities to realize their full potential. AccessAbility provides consumer-controlled services.  That means YOU are leading the way! Your determination is key to your independence. The board of directors and staff consist of 51% people with disabilities. Another unique feature of AccessAbility is that we provide services on a cross-disability basis. Our mission is to offer individual and group life skills coaching programs for people with disabilities.

Employment First Position Statement for SC Centers for Independent Living:

As a Center for Independent Living that is grounded in the disability rights movement and run and operated by the majority of individuals with disabilities, we are united in the belief that community-based, integrated employment for individuals with all types of disabilities should be the only option when it comes to employment.  Individuals with disabilities CAN work and should have the freedom, support, and opportunity to achieve competitive, integrated employment. We advocate for systems where funding for employment programs shift away from sheltered workshops and other non-competitive employment and move towards a system that promotes equal employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, regardless of the severity of the disability.

We establish an “Employment First” position by adhering to the following practices:

  • Assist individuals with disabilities to explore and obtain employment opportunities based on the individual’s interests and goals.
  • Advocate to remove employment barriers for individuals with disabilities.
  • Advocate for a systemic and collaborative approach between all partners and stakeholders.
  • Provide employment information in a variety of accessible formats.
  • Ensure work incentives counseling is made available so individuals can understand the impact of income on benefits and the opportunities for asset accumulation.
  • Provide training to employers regarding hiring and retaining individuals with disabilities.
  • Continuously evaluate, adjust, and improve employment services and operations.

Staff Members

Julia Martinelli, Executive Director jmartinelli@abilitysc.org
Kurtis Whitehead, Program Manager kwhitehead@abilitysc.org
Jason Torres, Advocacy Specialist jtorres@abilitysc.org
Kelly Torres, Information and Referral Specialist ktorres@abilitysc.org
Brentney Simon, Youth Leadership Coordinator bsimon@abilitysc.org
Katie Hurley, khurley@abilitysc.org
Elizabeth Bloom, ebloom@abilitysc.org                      

Board Members

[one_fifth]
Board Chairman
Rod Duell
[/one_fifth][one_fifth]Vice Chairman
David DeRhodo
[/one_fifth][one_fifth]Treasurer
Teresa Wise
[/one_fifth][one_fifth]Secretary
Lydia Cotton
[/one_fifth][one_fifth_last]Members
Kenneth Fox
Deanna Douglas
[/one_fifth_last]

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