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Asians with Disabilities Outreach Project Think-Tank (ADOPT) was founded in 2010 to help connect working-age Asian immigrants and refugees with disabilities to culturally competent vocational rehabilitation (VR) programs throughout the Chicago area. VR services, to which all new immigrants are entitled by federal law, generally include employment-related programs and services such as remedial education, job training, and job hunting.

ADOPT also partners with dozens of organizations to help bridge the employment gap for other underrepresented, underserved minority groups. ADOPT has worked with and assisted people from all over the world, including Vietnam, China, Japan, India, Pakistan and many other countries as well as with those from Central and South American, African and Middle Eastern countries. The project works with a variety of stakeholders, including service sector representatives, governmental agency personnel and community-based organizations (CBOs) to understand and overcome the complex barriers that impede access to VR and other community resources.

ADOPT and the experience with them have helped me really have the experience with the deaf community because it’s really an invisible disability and it really helps to open it up and reveal it. So there’s been many years of oppression with people with disabilities, and we need to speak out. So adopt has helped us do that.

Manako Yabe  |  Testimonial/Storyteller

We continue to strengthen our partnerships with corporations and small businesses in order to match qualified, motivated job seekers with disabilities to industry needs. The project provides service delivery recommendations that emphasize culturally relevant outreach strategies and best practices to bridge employment gaps, for Asian Americans with disabilities as well as other ethnic and cultural groups. The background, strategies and information we offer are useful in not only Chicago but are also beneficial on a national scale.

An Introduction to ADOPT, part I Heading link

Discover how college students, with and without disabilities, assist in this Chicago-based, action-oriented research initiative.

An Introduction to ADOPT, part II Heading link

Three cases are shown in this video. The first case involves a woman from Bhutan and her family who had resided in a refugee camp in Nepal for 15 years before coming to the US. At the time of this video, she is living with her brothers in Chicago as a refugee. This woman is hard of hearing and is learning English at a local agency near her home. Learn how ADOPT helps her and her family.

In the second case, a Vietnamese man has been through a very unpleasant experience with DRS that has prevented him from accessing services. He had approached the DRS providers with an inquiry about how to obtain employment. However, he spoke in Vietnamese and no interpreter was available. Learn how ADOPT connects him to a community-based organization that helps interpret for him.

The third case shown in the video involves a young man from the Philippines. He is blind but was known in his home country for exceptional computer programming skills. In Chicago, he has been a student at UIC but struggled to complete his course work because he did not have a computer. ADOPT connects the young man to DRS and other community-based services that help him obtain the computer and software he needs. DRS is even able to provide him with tuition reimbursement.

We are thankful for our sponsors Heading link

logos of ADOPT partner organizations