ROCKFORD — The Regional Access & Mobilization Project Inc. of Rockford received a $20,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois for its innovative PETS program.

Pre-Employment Transition Services is aimed at helping people with disabilities reach their full potential by encouraging college enrollment, helping clients find employment while in high school, and preparing them to live independently. The ultimate goal is to give students the skills needed to transition to higher education or better employment.

RAMP’s PETS initiative was one of 79 in Boone, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago counties to receive $1.9 million from CFNIL. The foundation announced the award winners on Jan. 10.

RAMP has been helping people with disabilities in the Rockford area since 1982. The organization’s mission is to “promote an accessible society that allows and expects full participation by people with disabilities.” It’s an important mission. According to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, the jobless rate for people with disabilities in 2016 was 10.5 percent, more than twice that of those with no disabilities (4.6 percent).

Thinker has been working with RAMP for the past several months on a strategic plan for sustainable funding. Congratulations to Julie Bosma and her group.