Our Vocational Rehabilitation Service is provided to those individuals who have been found eligible for state Vocational Rehabilitation funding and services.
To find the specific VR provider in your state, click on the appropriate link under “Our Locations” to the left. The services provided by state agencies include but are not limited to career counseling, job development, education, adaptive equipment, and job training. Work Opportunities Unlimited provides job placement and training services, including vocational evaluation for those individuals referred from these state agencies.
Unlike Supported Employment services, Vocational Rehabilitation is time-limited and is focused on job placement and training, not long-term support. However this does not mean that someone who will need long-term support will not be eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation funding and services. It means that in order to achieve long-term success on the job they will need Supported Employment funding once Vocational Rehabilitation has closed their case. For those individuals requiring Vocational Rehabilitation services Work Opportunities Unlimited provides the following Outcomes:
- Confirm Job Goal (within 2 weeks)
- Prepare Client for Job Search (within 60 days)
- Obtain a Job (within 90 days)
- Retain Employment for at least 90 days
- Achieve Plan Goals
Each customer working with Vocational Rehabilitation will work with his/her VR Counselor to determine a job goal prior to embarking on the job search process. Upon being referred to Work Opportunities Unlimited for job placement service, the representative from Work Opportunities Unlimited will work with the job seeker to confirm that the job goal matches his/her preferences, interests, and marketable skills. In some cases a situational assessment might be set up to allow the job seeker to experience the job first-hand. Once the job seeker, the VR Counselor, and the representative from Work Opportunities Unlimited agree on a job goal then the job search process will begin.
Upon entering services with Work Opportunities Unlimited, each customer participates in an Employment Preparation Assessment which includes evaluating a person’s ability to fill out a job application, their resume skills, interviewing skills. From there the customer is trained on the skills necessary to be proficient with job applications, interviewing and resume development. In conjunction with skill training, accommodations to be sought for securing a job are outlined. The purpose of these activities is to create an effective job seeking strategy that allows for the maximum participation of the customer receiving services.
In order to increase the chances for successful independence and achievement on the job, a job match must be developed. Work Opportunities Unlimited learns about the customer through Customized Service Planning. At the culmination of the planning process, WOU facilitates the achievement of the employment goals of the customer. This facilitation includes teaching the customer to fulfill their roles and responsibilities of the job search, as well as, fulfilling the roles and responsibilities designated for WOU.
The WOU team contacts companies that are relevant to the customer’s job goal and those that are specifically identified in the Plan. These companies are contacted with the intent of meeting with them to conduct an analysis of their jobs and to ascertain the hiring needs of the company. It is during this analysis that the staff person introduces the concept of “job carving” if job tasks will need to be added or omitted in order to facilitate a job match. In some cases, a job shadow might be utilized if the customer would like or would benefit from seeing the job and the company to determine if the job will be a suitable match to their interests.
Once a job placement has been secured, a Retention Plan is created which outlines the expectations of the employer, the skills of the customer and the intervention strategies to be implemented in order for the customer to meet the employer’s expectations. The staff person, customer, and the employer work together to identify interventions that will be implemented to raise the customer’s performance level to meet expectations.
Our goal is to progress the person to the highest level of independence possible to ensure the customer meets the expectations of the employer, which in turn provides opportunity for the customer within their company. It is during the first 90 days of employment that many strategies are implemented via job site supports and off site supports. Some of the strategies include: natural support development, adaptive equipment, training for coworkers, job site modification, task adaptation, and prompting strategies. In many cases, the details regarding transportation are also being worked out during the first 90 days on the job.
Once the customer has successfully transitioned into the work environment and they understand their responsibilities, the supports needed to insure the ongoing success of the job are implemented. WOU takes a pro-active approach to supports. WOU believes that the development of natural supports is necessary to the long-term success of each customer. Natural supports are a product of good communication and relationship building, both of which are positive outcomes. The development of natural supports has included the following: ASL, seizure training, and the learning style of the customer. The ultimate goal is to assist the customer in achieving their goals relative to work hours, pay rate, independence, transportation, and community involvement.
The ultimate goal is to assist each customer in the achievement of the goals and objectives identified at the beginning of the service. The customer’s job goal and the objectives to achieve that goal will be the primary focus, therefore data will be collected to measure progress. In addition, to the goal and objectives the customer will have identified his/her preferences regarding the following:
- Hours worked per week
- Wage earned per hour
- Method of transportation
- Supervision level
- Community hours per week
Once a job placement is secured, the job vitals are compared to the customer’s preferences cited above to determine the degree to which the preferences have been achieved. If the preferences have not yet been met, then additional services and action items will be identified in order to achieve those preferences.