Case Study: Greater Houston Disability Chamber of Commerce

2017 saw the resurrection of the Texas Partners in Policymaking program, and with it the founding of a number of initiatives which are designed to be impactful and sustainable; but most of all, to promote the inclusion, normalization and welfare of all Texans with disabilities.

One of the initiatives which was born out of the 2017-18 Partners class was the Greater Houston Disability Chamber of Commerce, also known as the GHDCC.

In a nation and state in which the unemployment rate of citizens with disabilities is as high as 78% and twice that of their able-bodied peers, there is much work to be done as it relates to disability employment. In addition to a disproportionate unemployment rate, the poverty rate for persons with disabilities in the United States and in the great state of Texas, is also double that of those without disabilities. Compounding these issues is the fact that many peple with disabilities earn sub-minimum wages, often pennies on the dollar, for any work that they do.

The GHDCC was established with all of these concerns in mind.

We serve 6 counties including: Brazoria, Fort Bend, Fulshear, Harris, Montgomery and Waller.

It is our primary purpose to increase employment opportunities for all Houstonians with disabilities, and to ensure that they have greater access to supported employment as well as competitive wages. In order to make this a reality, we will also serve businesses that have an interest in providing employment oppportunities to those with disabilities.

We believe that every individual deserves the opportunity to work in an inclusive environment and to enjoy the dignity of financial independence. We also believe that individuals with disabilities can contribute meaningfully to society and have skills, experiences and abilities that will enhance their communities. The GHDCC will establish for individuals with disabilities a pipeline that will present employment opportunities and increase their independence, self-determination and inclusion within the Greater Houston community.

Caroline Bordelon, Jaishree Ellis, Brenda Nelson, and Jan Brown are on the Board of Directors and are 2018 Texas Partners Graduates.

We measure our success by the impact made, in inclusion & integration; increased independence; productivity; and self-determination for all Partners participants and /or family members.