Maryland State Senate Celebrates Melwood’s 60th Anniversary with Joint Resolution
January 30, 2023
For 60 years, Melwood has broken down barriers for people with disabilities through
expanding access to meaningful employment opportunities and promoting more inclusive communities
Upper Marlboro, Md. – In 2023, Melwood, a leading employer, advocate and preferred provider for people with disabilities, celebrates sixty years of service in Maryland, DC and Virginia. Devoted to creating a world in which people with disabilities are fully included since 1963, Melwood’s innovative strategies and programs empower people with disabilities to live, work and thrive in the community.
Senator Melony Griffith (District 25) led a resolution on January 25, 2023 from the Senate of Maryland, commending the groundbreaking, impactful work Melwood has done to advance policy, employment and inclusion for people with disabilities. Melwood has partnered with Maryland leadership on key initiatives impacting economic opportunity for people with disabilities for decades.
Melwood was founded in 1963 by a small group of parents and community supporters who decided to teach plant care to young adults with disabilities. Many considered these young adults to be unemployable, but Melwood’s founders had a goal that was almost unheard of – jobs for people with disabilities. Today, Melwood is one of the largest employers of people with disabilities in the country, employing nearly 1,000 people with disabilities and providing meaningful job opportunities across a wide variety of industries.
“Thinking back on Melwood’s impact over the past sixty years helps us put into perspective the value of the work that we do every day,” said Larysa Kautz, CEO of Melwood. “Melwood has been an innovator, an advocate, and a driver of change throughout its history, and every effort our organization has made has moved us closer to a more inclusive society for all members of our community. We look forward to the next sixty years of breaking down barriers for people with disabilities.”
The need for accessible employment for people with disabilities remains high. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Labor, one in four adults in the U.S. lives with a disability, while less than 20% of individuals with disabilities are employed. To help close this divide, Melwood offers career exploration, job training, and coaching programs that ease the transition into the workplace for employees with disabilities. Melwood also partners with employers to create pipelines for talent, break down barriers in the hiring process, and train leaders and managers on how to create a workplace where everyone can be successful.
In addition to its career services, Melwood also supports programming for people of all ages living with and without disabilities. Some of Melwood’s programs include the abilIT technical career training program, Camp Accomplish for children with and without disabilities, Operation Tohidu® counseling services for veterans with service-related trauma, the Building Paths skilled trades training program, the Workforce Innovation and Skills Hub (WISH), and more. To learn more about Melwood and the ways you can help support its many programs, please visit melwood.org/ways-to-give.
Melwood is one of the largest employers of people with disabilities in the country, employing more than 1,600 workers – nearly 1,000 of whom are people with disabilities. Melwood offers job placement, job training, life skills for independence, and support services to more than 2,500 people each year in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Melwood also has an inclusive summer camp program for children and provides employment and support services to veterans and active-duty military members who have experienced service-related trauma or injury. For more information, visit www.Melwood.org.
Vice President of Government and Public Relations