Vocational Rehabilitation Services

workerWe serve the areas of Kalamazoo, Allegan, Berrien, Van Buren, St. Joseph, and Cass counties with Vocational Rehabilitation Services including Vocational Evaluations, Situational Assessments, Work Adjustment Trainings, job development, Career Camp, and Job Coaching services. We also operate the Helping Individuals Re-Enter Employment (HIRE) and Y Work programs in Kalamazoo County. Our headquarters in Kalamazoo contains a manufacturing area, retail store and commercial processing division which can be used in for assessment and work experience opportunities; our retail stores throughout Southwest Michigan provide front and back of the house retail environments that can be used for assessment and work experience opportunities as well.

Referrals for our rehabilitation services are typically made by Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies, and provided on a fee-for-service basis. The programs available include:

Vocational Evaluation

The purpose of a Vocational Evaluation is to assess the achievement levels, vocational aptitudes, physical capacities, work behaviors, and interests of evaluees in order to make specific recommendations to the referral source and participant regarding realistic vocational objectives and further services needed to obtain those objectives. Services activities may include: Psychometric Testing, Work Sampling, Interest Exploration, and Vocational Guidance. Referrals to Vocational Evaluation should include specific referral questions to be addressed.

Examples of rehabilitation problems that may be remediated through Vocational Evaluation programming may include: lack of feasible vocational objectives; lack of knowledge concerning evaluee performance abilities; lack of occupational information; lack of previous work opportunities that would demonstrate work abilities; necessity to change career direction due to injury or illness.

Brief Evaluation

The purpose of a Brief Evaluation is to provide a combination of a Vocational Evaluation and Situational Assessment. This allows for the assessment of achievement levels, vocational aptitudes, physical capacities, work behaviors and interests using paper and pencil assessments as well as information from various simulated work environments. This information is then used to make specific recommendations regarding realistic vocational objectives and further services needed to obtain those objectives. Referrals for Brief Evaluations should include specific referral questions to be addressed. Rehabilitation problems that may be remediated through a Brief Assessment are similar to those remediated by a Vocational Evaluation—lack of feasible vocational objectives; lack of knowledge concerning performance abilities; lack of occupational information; lack of pervious work opportunities to demonstrate work abilities; and determination of vocational options.

Situational Assessment

The general purpose of the Situational Assessment program is to provide a complete hands-on simulated work evaluation in a specific work environment. It is feasible for the Situational Assessment to occur in either our Goodwill facility and/or a community based work environment when available. The Situational Assessment can assist in identifying specific work readiness skills and employability limitations. It is helpful to have a participant complete a vocational assessment prior to the referral of a Situational Assessment. Some facility based assessment sites available at this time include custodial/landscaping maintenance, light duty clerical/reception, contract production, material handling, and retail.

Work Adjustment Training:

The general purpose of the Work Adjustment Training program is to increase vocational potential of trainees through the provision of vocational and work behavior training. The Work Adjustment Training program may be facility based or community based. Service activities include: Individualized case management, work readiness, soft skills and employability skills training. Each participant receives individualized goal directed facility or community based remunerative (paid) employment while participating.

A Vocational Evaluation is beneficial prior to the start of most Work Adjustment Trainings. Participants demonstrating progress towards, but not attaining their primary training objective during the initial training period may be recommended for extended period of Work Adjustment Training.

Examples of rehabilitation problems that may be remediated through work adjustment programming may include: difficulty in learning new tasks; slow production rates; inconsistent work quality; poor attendance; inability to stay on task; low tolerance for stress.

*** Following the successful completion of 12 weeks in the Work Adjustment program, an individual can be moved into a Work Experience which is short-term (up to 16 weeks), paid (minimum wage), productive work intended to lead directly to a better job in the community. The idea of Work Experience is not so much specific skill development as it is demonstration of the ability to work. Individuals must have the ability to work independently within normal supervisor-employee ratios. A weekly fee is charged to the referring organization to cover minimal case management; this will be consistent with the work adjustment program fee (please see below for program related fees). Wage reimbursement will be required of the referring agency.

Career Camp

The general purpose of the Career Camp program is to increase the vocational potential of participants through a combination of hard and soft skill training. Combining work experience in a variety of work departments with classroom based soft skill based learning amongst peers; participants gain the skills necessary to enter the modern workplace.

Topics including workplace conflict, interviewing and how to be a successful employee are covered. Participants are paid for the work they perform, and receive paychecks; as a result, discussion about paychecks and what to do with them is also included in the camp curriculum. Job Coaching is also provided on the work floor, to assist participants in getting the most out of the experience and help them identify anything that may help make them more successful. Career Camp is a great program for youth in transition who have never worked, or for young adults who have little work experience.

Career Camp runs for three weeks, Monday-Thursday 9:00am-2:00pm. Lunch is provided every other day, and participants are expected to provide their own transportation to and from the work site.

Job Coaching

Job Coaching services assist participants with disabilities and employment barriers by providing on-site support to employers and co-workers to train, develop and increasing employability skills allowing participants to maintain employment.

Job Coaching refers to the training of a participant by an approved specialist, who uses structured intervention techniques to help the participant/employee learn to perform job tasks to the employer’s specifications and demonstrates the soft- skills necessary to be accepted as a worker at the job site and in related community contacts. In addition to job-site training, Job Coaching includes related assessment, job development, counseling, advocacy, and other services needed to maintain the employment.

A Job Coach may accompany a participant to a job site for training and instruction to assist the individual in meeting and maintaining an employer’s specifications. The Job Coach may also help the participant in the development of specific job skills and in learning the work culture. The Job Coach is able to provide flexibility to work with employees, employers and referring agencies to meet their individual needs. The Job Coach provides assistance to the employer and co-workers with the development of accommodations as needed and may observe a participant’s production, quality and interpersonal skills. The Job Coach may reinforce successful attainment of job skills and develop a plan for skills/areas that need improvement. The Job Coach may also facilitate the development of natural supports in the workplace.

Job Development and Placement Services

The overall purpose of the Goodwill Job Development and Placement Services is to assist individuals in obtaining competitive employment in order for them to achieve self-sufficiency for themselves and their families.

Services are provided on a one to one basis utilizing the results of previous assessments; beginning with an in-depth intake to determine overall aptitudes, strengths, work history, education and training background, and vocational interests. Staff will assist in identifying area employers who may be interested in the skill set presented by the individual client. Staff will provide supports and feedback in application completion, resume development and the interview process.

Helping Individuals Re-enter Employment (HIRE) Program

The overall purpose of the HIRE program is to provide work experience, case management, job development, placement and job coaching services to participants with disabilities who also have barriers to employment related to a criminal background.

The HIRE Program provides participants with 12 weeks of part time (20 hours/week) work experience in our commercial, production and/or retail facilities, receiving job coaching, case management and other supports during this time. When participants are ready for outside competitive employment, they begin participating in job development services, including resume creation, mock interviews and other work readiness activities; staff work with area employers to match a participant’s skills with a need they have in their workforce. Once placed in competitive employment, participants receive support through their first 90 days on the job.

Y Work Program

The overall purpose of the Y Work Program is to provide work experience, case management, job development, placement, and Job Coaching services to youth with disabilities who are transitioning out of school.

Y Work program participants complete up to 180 hours of work experience at our Milham & West Main Goodwill retail stores, receiving Job Coaching, case management and other supports during this time. When participants are ready for outside competitive employment, they begin participating in job development services, including resume creation, mock interviews and other work readiness activities; staff work with area employers to match the participant’s skills with a need they have in their workforce. Once placed in competitive community employment, participants receive support through their first 90 days on the job.

For more information about any of these programs, please contact:

Name

Program(s)

Phone Number

Brenda Conlogue

Data Management Specialist

Mission Services Billing

My Free Taxes, Vouchers, Data Management

382-0490 x251

Sarah Hutchison-Chee

Director of Mission Services

Vocational Rehabilitation, FOC, Beyond Jobs, Siemer

382-0490 x245

Ed Keeter

HIRE Program Manager

HIRE Program

382-0490 x237

Shawn Malec

Placement Specialist

Job Development, Beyond Jobs

382-0490 x270

Cathy McNeill-Miller

Employment and Retention Specialist

Job Development

Job Coaching

Situational Assessment , Work Adjustment Training

Career Camp

382-0490 x248

Stasia Taverna

Y Work Program Coordinator

Y Work Program

382-0490 x247


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