The Pre-Employment Program (PEP) is an intensive one-week residential workshop that equips young adults with the skills necessary for workplace success. The 2018 program will begin at 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 18 and end at 12 p.m. on Saturday, February 24.
My teenager is so busy with school and homework. Why should I worry about employment preparation now?
Early work experiences are a key predictor of future employment success. The sooner young adults with blindness or visual impairment gain workplace experience, the better prepared they will be to compete for jobs with sighted peers. Many young adults work entry-level jobs in the summer or on weekends. If your teenager delays that experience, he or she is missing out on critical experience employers will look for after high school or college.
If workplace experience is so important, wouldn’t my teen’s time be better spent looking for a job?
Young adults with blindness and visual impairment need more preparation and hands-on experience than their sighted peers, because they miss out on the incidental learning that occurs naturally for people with sight. The PEP provides insight on resume writing, social etiquette in the workplace, transportation strategies and much more – critical skills and knowledge that will benefit any young adult, sighted or blind. Just as importantly, the PEP also teaches young adults how to keep that job once they land it.
How much of a time commitment is the PEP?
The PEP is a week-long program held during most Massachusetts schools’ February break. The 2018 program begins at 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 18 and ends at 12 p.m. on Saturday, February 24.
Will the PEP teach my young adult how to use accessible technology in the workplace?
Absolutely. Accessible technology is a critical tool in almost any work environment for people with blindness or low vision, and enables those individuals to perform almost any job a sighted person can do. We’ll discuss which tools – screen readers, braille notetakers, magnifiers, etc. – work best, and also cover accessible technology that’s built into mainstream devices like smartphones and tablets. We’ll also coach your young adult on advocating for him or herself in the workplace and having the confidence to ask for those tools to get the job done. Finally, PEP students interact during class and off weekends through Yammer, an online platform for sharing and learning.
How will I know the PEP has really prepared my student for the working world?
Our students exit the program with an action plan. That plan includes follow-up activities spelled out, such as leads to pursue and network connections to make. They’ll have a career portfolio that includes a personal data sheet, sample resume and cover letter, references and letters of recommendation in hard copy and on a USB drive. They’ll have practiced when and how to disclose their visual impairment to a potential employer, and they’ll have networked with real-world hiring managers and human resources professionals. And finally, they’ll have a network of peers and mentors they can call upon as they navigate the working world independently. The PEP will give your young adult the skills to compete and the confidence to pursue success.
Why is the program residential?
Living on campus is both convenient and a learning experience for PEP students. After classes are finished for the day, they’ll be able to work on their independent living skills and socialize with peers in one of Perkins’ fully accessible residential cottages. The residential component also allows students who don't live nearby to attend the program.
Is funding available for the program?