ECHO, Empowering Individuals for Life, believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to be an active member of their community. Since its establishment in 1974, ECHO has been committed to empowering adults with disabilities through vocational training, community integration, and comprehensive employment services. With its facility based in Leesburg, and outreach programming that serves businesses throughout Northern Virginia, ECHO has been instrumental in providing personalized support and training to help individuals with disabilities achieve their full potential.
“Our services are designed to empower individuals with disabilities to participate fully in the community, whether through volunteer work, social activities, or employment,” said Todd Goldian, ECHO’s Director of Community Outreach and Fundraising. “Our goal is to provide support so these individuals can achieve their optimal level of personal, social, and economic success.
ECHO’s Day Support Program is called LIFE: Learning, Independence, Friendship, Empowerment. This is a person-centered program where participants can decide what a meaningful day looks like for them and they are empowered to make that day their reality. A combination of group and individual activities offers their participants opportunities to enhance their skills in daily living, safety, communication, self-advocacy, and other areas. ECHO also offers transportation services, individual and group-supported employment where staff provides coaching, and in-house employment through their various enterprises: Blue Elegance, the ECHO Barkery, and Inclusive Solutions.
“Every person here has their own set of goals. Disabilities affect different people in different ways,” Goldian added. “Our staff works closely with our clients and their loved ones to help identify their strengths, interests, and goals, and provide tailored solutions to help them succeed in life.”
The team at ECHO is always looking for opportunities for clients, which is why it was particularly exciting when they added a third enterprise to their lineup of employment solutions: Inclusive Solutions. This enterprise is their in-house, onsite, employment program. ECHO contracts with local employers to provide services such as box assembly, kitting, and packaging for companies. These tasks are completed by ECHO program participants – Inclusive Solutions employees – and provide an opportunity for these individuals to earn an income.
“When the pandemic hit, we felt so lost when trying to find opportunities for our people,” Goldian said. “Prior to Covid-19, we had 96 jobs out in the community for our participants, we lost 72 of them and they never came back.”
The team at ECHO is looking for ways to bring this workforce solution to more companies in Loudoun and beyond. With the ongoing workforce shortage, Inclusive Solutions is a viable option for employers seeking to fill workforce gaps, especially in environments where repetitive tasks are required.
ECHO’s other two enterprises, Blue Elegance and The Barkery not only provide gainful employment for the program’s participants, but they also enhance math, science, and home economics skills as they have to calculate ratios with candle making, understand and use the concept of combustion when handling essential oils, and measure, combine, and bake ingredients when making dog biscuits.
Additionally, if companies are asking about workforce diversity or looking to create diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) standards, the team at ECHO can assist by developing material suitable for any scenario.
If your company would like to contact ECHO to learn more about its employment and workforce solutions, please contact Todd Goldian at email@example.com. To learn more about ECHO, please visit https://echoworks.org.