1. Successful Strategies

Transition to Community Employment

Concerned about lack of programs that really 'put people to work' in our community, and after searching nationally for programs that would address both the individuals' and employer needs, we looked at the top workplace employability skills that lead to success on the job and other areas of life, like communication, teamwork. problem solving, initiative and self-starting, planning and organising. self-management, learning and technology, and built a three semester curriculum to teach those skills in a dynamic and interactive style on a community college campus through continuing education, to individuals with mild to moderate intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorders, many with mental health dual diagnosis. The curriculum includes other critical training on subjects like self-advocacy, self-esteem building, conflict resolution, personal finance management, professional etiquette, employer expectations, technology in the workplace, and extensive assessments and workshops on personality type, transferable skills, interests and abilities, introversion/extroversion, communication style, and career exploration, along with two semesters of supervised work experience. The results have been astounding. Our program graduates enjoy a 70%+ placement rate within 90 days, and excellent job retention. The majority of those who graduated in the first year still work at the same employment. The majority of our program participants are transition age youth (min. age is 18 / no max). Applicants must have the goal of employment and commit to excellent attendance and hard work. In the last semester students finalize their individual career plans, begin the job application process, are connected with job coaching agencies, and graduate with very well crafted resumes, cover letters, elevator pitches, and job search and interview skills. We follow up formally for one year, and hold alumni meet ups during semester breaks - where many mentor/mentee relationships and friendships have been formed. This can be done - we have many, many success stories!

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Idea No. 17