The Five Work Competencies
Tips on How to Find the Best Professional Help
Often a family becomes aware too late that school will not always provide a support during the day. Generally, in Utah, students are eligible for special education until they turn 22, once the student turns 22 they exit the public school system. If the family has not prepared for this it may mean that a parent or sibling must stay home and become a caregiver during the day.
One resource available from the time the student turns 16 is the school transition program. This program is a valuable resource in the search for a career. Sadly, some families do not use this resource or the opportunities it provides. School transition can provide work sampling and career exploration, specific job training and development of work skills. The supports are tailored to each student?s needs through the Individual Education Plan (IEP).
Improper IEP planning and use of the school transition resource may result in the student graduating without a plan for getting a job. As people sit at home with nothing to do they lose work skills, friends, associations with peers and employment prospects. Proper planning, however, will help to identify a path to adulthood and provide volunteer and real work experiences before graduation, a valuable career after graduation, a place to go during the day, and opportunities for social interactions with others.
Not everyone will go directly to work after graduation, some students will attend vocational or college programs before moving on to a career. The important thing for a family to remember is that proper planning and partnering with the school transition program will minimize negative experiences when transitioning from school to adult life and can assist people to make meaningful contributions as adults.
Maintain an open mind and believe that you/your family member can have a successful career - work should always be a goal. For almost everyone, getting a job is a real possibility, even for people with the most severe challenges. Do not count your family member out before you try. Talk to other families who have had success for motivation and ideas. When an individual does not want to work, be sure that it is not due to being unprepared or a lack of information, but is truly a free and informed choice.
Do not hurry to find a job. Take the time it takes to find a job that meets your/your family member?s needs. As you pass by businesses in the community where you shop, ask questions about how the business is doing, chat with the owner about when they need extra staff and other needs the business may have. Take the opportunity to introduce yourself/your family member to business owners, in your role as a customer. Ask what criteria they use to hire people in their field. If you do this consistently, you will have a vast knowledge of the needs that exist among businesses in your community and can more easily find a place where you/your family member can be an asset.
A family helps people believe in themselves through offering love, care and understanding. Remember people cannot grow through shame, blame, or criticism. When difficult challenges come along and someone is there to offer understanding, people find ways to change the situation in a positive direction.
Note: There may be several professionals helping in the job search at once. For example, there may be an employment counselor from Workforce Services, a support coordinator from the Division of Services for People with Disabilities, a rehabilitation counselor from the Division of Rehabilitation Services, and a job coach from an agency that does job placement. Use these resources if they are available to you. Some of these resources also pay for comprehensive vocational assessments, custom fit training programs that target jobs in new technologies, self-employment opportunities, vocational training and even college.