Today, organizations across the U.S. position themselves to speak on behalf of individuals with disabilities (diverseABILITIES) -- but data shows that those individuals are not represented as employees in an inclusive workforce. In fact, so many businesses have no viable avenues for these individuals to secure meaningful and competitive employment. That is where UNTAPPED comes in.
UNTAPPED is an occupational justice movement focused on empowering individuals, age 14 through adulthood, with diverseABILITIES towards a path of self-determination, self-advocacy, and financial independence. UNTAPPED is a transformative person-centered service aimed at establishing a viable, efficient, and successful job placement with indispensable supports throughout their career journey.
What makes our approach so transformative? In UNTAPPED, the individuals of the diverseABLED population are integrated into all stages of delivering services that lead to career success.
We are a committed group of job coaches/developers helping our clients grow and build the skills they need to be valued members of society through specific strategies based on our clients’ needs. We focus on locating fulfilling work as well as teaching local businesses how to create a more inclusive culture and all-around better community for everyone involved. We ensure thorough communication and support networks are a basis for our clients’ employment. Our goal is to provide our clients with the tools they need to live fulfilling, independent lives in their community.
LSG has 60+ passionate providers in 35+ middle and high schools throughout New Mexico, ready to assist with the transition process into higher education and industry. They include but are not limited to: Albuquerque Charter Schools, Bernalillo Public Schools, Central Consolidated, Chama Valley Public Schools, Cuba Public Schools, Deming Public Schools, Dulce Public Schools, East Mountain High School, Espanola Public Schools, Jemez Mountain Public Schools, Magdalena Public Schools, Moriarty Public Schools, Mountainair Public Schools, New Mexico BIE pueblos, New Mexico BIE Navajo Nation, New Mexico Schools Connections, Santa Fe Public Schools, and Taos Municipal Schools.
Please find below all the services LSG provides:
Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)
Speech Language Pathologist-Clinical Fellowship (SLP-CF)
Apprentice Speech Language Pathologist (ASL)
Occupational Therapist (OT)
Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant (COTA)
Physical Therapist (PT)
Board Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA)
Registered Behavior Technician (RBT)
Social Worker (LCSW/LMSW)
Special Education Specialist
Clinical Services: For DVR, DD Waiver, Mi Via, and other insurance payers for 1:1 or group clinical therapy services.
Social Skills Group: LSG & Associates invites you to our Social Skills Group for adults with diverseABILITIES where we target pragmatic, speech, and language skills in a social setting. We offer individual sessions to target goals and come together in a fun group setting to provide opportunities to engage in immersive, social experiences in the community.
UNTAPPED also makes it an integral part of its mission to be consistently engaged in diverseABILITY communities. We accomplish this goal by staying involved in each diverseABLED individual’s process through workplaces and school systems, whenever needed at any stage, and we also highlight the stories of those individuals and communities.
One of our major success stories is a young man named Jayson Sant, who came to LSG first as part of our Social Group and later became part of our UNTAPPED job coaching services. In the past, Jayson was able to obtain work but felt that his options were limited. He needed employment with an employer that was open to making accommodations for his individual needs. Through our program, we provided resume training and mock interviews and also worked with potential employers to provide supports to both Jayson and the employers themselves. Today, he is working at Explora here in Albuquerque and is finding a great deal of fulfillment in his position!
After years of unsuitable matches in the workforce, Jayson is thrilled for his new position at Explora!
I, Dr. Anderson, would also identify myself as another success of the UNTAPPED initiative. I was approached in 2022 to join the LSG team, particularly to apply my expertise in organization-based storytelling towards the UNTAPPED mission. Once I joined, I found myself in an employment position that was perfectly tailored to my personal skill sets and experiences. True to the UNTAPPED process, I have been able to utilize so much of my educational background and insights from previous work environments, and I have developed my blog and the call sign along with it, “a.k.a. A PhD on the Spectrum,” for the purpose of presenting the stories that truly matter for diverseABILITY awareness.
On that topic, every year LSG and UNTAPPED host two storytelling events, “Growing Our Future” in the spring and “Harvesting Our Stories” in the fall. These events provide opportunities for visitors of all ages to experience storytelling performances and engaging activities such as quilting and rock painting. Each event also concludes with our “RoundABLE” panel, where we gather several speakers to discuss relevant topics of diverseABILITY and society: wellness, mental health, disability advocacy, community inclusion, and so on.
I, Nathan Winham, joined LSG & Associates in March of 2023. I have come to this organization by way of Restoration Pizza/Bosque Brewing Co. I developed Restoration Pizza as an idea that employs individuals with disabilities in a competitive work environment with competitive wages and with needed supports built into the everyday aspects of the business.
With those things being said, I have also worked with most of the supported employment providers in the city of Albuquerque. I know what works and what does not for both the business as well as the client/placed employee into the competitive labor force. One of UNTAPPED’s aims is to provide the best service possible to not only the employer but also our client. In doing so, we will be able to provide the business with measurable standards and improvements for our client. We will provide wrap-around services that will benefit our client for the longevity of their employment.
There are several organizations with whom we have partnered:
Explora Science Center & Children’s Museum
NM Public Education Dept. (PED)
Rio Grande Nature Center State Park
Nusenda Credit Union
NM Department of Health (DOH)
NM Developmental Disabilities Council (DDC) – Center for Self-Advocacy and Office of the Special Education Ombud
ACE Leadership High School
Return on Investment (ROI): As an individual that has provided opportunities as both an employer as well as a client, I can attest to both sides of the ROI. From the employer/business’ perspective, the ROI is massive. Within your workforce, once you have incorporated individuals with diverseABILITIES you will soon recognize that the individuals working around and with your new employee will see higher job satisfaction. This is a plus on many different levels. You will see a higher team morale; you will see more people invested in their work. You will recognize that people begin to take on a different perspective to how they work as well. As a person that employed roughly 36% of my staff being individuals with diverseABILITIES, I recognized these benefits amongst my staff. You will also recognize a higher retention rate of employees. You will also see ROI with the parents and community partners of individuals with diverseABILITIES. They will be more supportive than just about any other group of people for your business.
For more information on UNTAPPED, contact Erin White-Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org, Nathan Winham at email@example.com, or Colin Baugh at firstname.lastname@example.org.