Our Mission and History
Expandability provides persons with disabilities access to adaptive technology and career transition services so that they can achieve their desired education and employment, and improve their quality of life.
Expandability was originally founded in 1980 as Disabled Programmers, Inc., by Thomas Puorro, a former IBM executive whose son was paralyzed in a diving accident. We adopted the name TransAccess and focused on School-to-Future services for students with disabilities, Computer Access Technology assessments and training for individuals with disabilities and work related injuries. Now as Expandability we have included Employment and Staffing services along with workplace training programs.
Nearly one in five Americans has a disability and sadly, for all of us, less than half of these individuals are gainfully employed. The assumption is they cannot or do not wish to work, BUT research shows that two out of three unemployed people with disabilities want and need to work! For those who work, the challenge is to be treated equally. Nearly one third of the workforce with disabilities earn an income below the poverty level and among those who work full-time, only 46% say that their work requires them to use their full talents or abilities. A disability can be acquired at any time in life, but youth and adults with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty and be dependent upon public assistance programs than their peers or any other minority group. But…hiring persons with disabilities is good business!
- Companies such as Walgreen’s, Home Depot, Marriott and Pizza Hut report that absentee rates are actually lower among their disabled workforce and Marriot experienced a 6% turnover rate among people with disabilities, vs. 52% overall.
- Consumers with disabilities represent an enormous market niche and employees with disabilities can help companies develop strategies to tap this valuable market. People with disabilities have a combined income of more than $1 trillion, with $220 billion in discretionary income. By comparison, the teen market, heavily catered to by businesses, controls $140 billion in spending power according to a 1998 estimate by Teenage Research Unlimited.
Computer skills are the gateway to an education, careers with competitive wages and long term growth. With the aid of computer assistive technology, persons with disabilities can access careers with competitive wages and achieve personal, academic, vocational and financial independence. Expandability is a one stop program that combines critical transition services from school to work and employment preparation, job placement, assistive technology, ergonomics and accommodation services for persons with disabilities of any age to be fully successful in achieving their life long goals.
What We Do
Expandability, a Bay Area nonprofit organization, helps youth and adults with disabilities to achieve their goals. In partnership with local schools, government agencies, and businesses, we provide individualized assessments, career and job placement assistance, adaptive technology, and more. Since 1997, Expandability has served over 14,000 youth and adults with disabilities through direct services.
Who We Serve
A disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life functions and can be obvious (such as a physical or sensory disability) or non-apparent (such as a psychiatric, medical or learning disability). Expandability assists individuals 15 years of age or older who have any type of disability and who can achieve competitive employment.