Work Proudly Program to Help 15 CF Patients or Caregivers Find Flexible Jobs

Inês Martins, PhD avatar

by Inês Martins, PhD |

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The nonprofit Claire’s Place Foundation has launched a pilot program to help 15 adults with cystic fibrosis (CF) or caregivers of patients acquire flexible employment, enabling them to continue working while dealing with the disease’s daily needs.

The Work Proudly Program aids people in choosing careers and gaining the skills to be competitive in the job market, enabling them to find flexible at-home or hospital work so they can provide for themselves even during hospital stays.

It will cover the cost of certificate job training and, because even tools and equipment can be too expensive for people who are struggling financially, participants may have free access to computers and other equipment essential for their training and remote jobs.

“CF caregivers and adult patients both need flexible, mobile jobs that allow them to continue working while dealing with the intense regimen of CF care,” Melissa Yeager, Claire’s Place Foundation executive director, said in a press release.

“To meet this need we have created the Work Proudly Program to provide financial support and expertise needed to gain and maintain meaningful, remote employment,” added Yeager.

Parents of CF patients often struggle to keep their jobs while attending to their child’s needs. Likewise, as the overall health and life expectancy of CF patients keeps improving, more patients are losing their Social Security Disability Insurance income and needing to find ways to provide for themselves.

Acknowledging these difficulties, Work Proudly will select 15 CF caregivers or adult patients, referred to the program by a social worker, to guide them into more flexible employment.

The program was recently awarded a Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) Impact Grant, given in support of virtual programs for the CF community. It was inspired by Claire Wineland, a CF patient, activist, author, and philanthropist who encouraged others to “live a life you are proud of.” Wineland, 21, died in September 2018.

“Claire personally experienced how difficult it was as a young adult with CF to find flexible employment that would provide her with a sustainable income,” said Yeager. “We are committed to carrying on her legacy by helping CF patients and caregivers live proudly and that includes having a fulfilling career.”

After being accepted to the program, participants will meet over phone or video conference with a case manager to find positions that better suit them in terms of their work history, education, health status, and interests. In this step, participants and their case managers will devise a career and education plan, and identify the skills needed to meet them.

The foundation will then connect participants with training resources for skills useful in flexible and mobile work fields. These include graphic design, customer service, medical transcription, data entry, accounting, and interpretation or translation.

Training and certificate costs will be covered by the program. Local or virtual training will be started within a month of acceptance, and is intended to be completed within six months. This pilot program will run until June 2021.

For those who cannot afford their own equipment, the foundation will provide computers, headsets, transcription machines, software, and other tools needed to support participants in their training and jobs.

Participants will regularly meet with their case manager for up to a year after first being accepted into the program. After completing their courses, they will be certified to “work proudly.” Each person will also submit a video testimonial about their journey in the program.

To find more about the program and how to enroll, click here.