Overview

Prepared for success

Vocational rehabilitation agencies and counselors want what’s best for their clients. We can help. As a world leader in the blind and visually impaired community, we know the unique barriers your clients face.

Career Launch prepares your clients with the training, connections and confidence they’ll need to pursue a career with a future. We limit class size for individual attention and provide ongoing support. And through working with our diverse employer partners, we make sure your clients are ready to compete with industry-specific and transferable skills relevant to customer and client engagement.

In addition to industry-specific skills, program participants are also exposed to the social dynamics of office life, and learn how to become comfortable with the everyday camaraderie that is a part of having a job.

An instructor, wearing dark glasses and holding a mobility cane, stands behind a student wearing a headset and working on a desktop computer
Program participants smile while sitting at a conference table, working on laptops

Technology. Access. Inclusion.

In today’s working world, technology is key, and for our participants, that means it needs to be accessible. At Career Launch, we ensure that our trainees are skilled at navigating the right software in order to succeed in a job. This means not only working with access technology tools to support them as employees, but also the workplace software they’re most likely to be exposed to, such as Microsoft Office and Google Docs.

Our curriculum also includes extensive training on Salesforce.com, one of the most widely used customer relationship management (CRM) systems in companies today.

A participant’s perspective

Jessie, Illinois Spring 2021 virtual participant

“Before Career Launch, I felt like I was always a step behind or couldn’t complete things fast enough because of my visual impairment. Now, I have the tools and knowledge to be successful in my future career and advocate for myself when needed.”

A man talks with someone sitting across a table from him.

Hands-on experience

Career Launch includes a two-month internship with support from program staff. Many young adults who are blind or visually impaired haven’t had many opportunities for internships or entry-level jobs. Employers need to know that they’re hiring people who can do the work, and these internships give our participants the chance to show off their skills, be successful in a real-life working environment and start their careers with a resume designed to land them on their feet.

Simply put, Career Launch empowers candidates and positions them for a life of competitive employment and independence.

Skills and activities

Career Launch students participate in a rigorous curriculum to prepare them for success in the workplace.

Job exploration counseling

  • Learning about the labor market
  • Learning about a diverse range of customer interaction roles across industries
  • Assessing their own professional skills, aptitudes and preferences and learning how to identify customer interaction roles in alignment with those skills
  • Making site visits to area employer partners to learn about work environments and job responsibilities
  • Participating in training on informational interviews
  • Learning about specific assistive technology skills needed for specific jobs

Work-based learning experiences

  • Attending workplace tours and job shadowing opportunities
  • Participating in on-campus customer interaction simulations to build interpersonal and technical skills
  • Participating in a two-month internship
  • Developing and practicing an ability statement
  • Learning how to utilize public and para transportation options to navigate independently to work sites
  • Learning about common workplace software and technologies
  • Following workplace guidelines with respect to attendance, punctuality, professionalism, professional attire and productivity

Workplace readiness training

  • Receiving individual and small group instruction on soft skills, including how to interact with supervisors and co-workers
  • Receiving technology training in workplace applications (e.g., Gmail, etc.) along with common accessibility software programs (e.g., JAWS, etc.)
  • Participating in group activities designed to promote leadership, teamwork, problem-solving and decision making skills
  • Developing hiring documents including a resume, cover letter and online presence
  • Creating, developing and executing a plan to cultivate their personal network
  • Practicing mock interviews and responding to common interview questions
  • Setting goals and creating action plans for achieving them
  • Learning to identify causes of conflicts and finding resolutions
  • Learning skills to navigate to and from work independently

Development of self-advocacy skills

  • Learning about their rights and responsibilities as an employee
  • Engaging in experiences designed to improve their self-awareness and self-management
  • Receiving instruction that introduces, practices and reinforces constructive mindsets
  • Practicing how to discuss their disability and advocate for necessary accommodations with peers and potential employers
  • Learning about their skills, interests and abilities
  • Gaining experiences and acquiring skills to build their confidence and sense of self
  • Having opportunities to ask for help or decline assistance in various professional scenarios
Two co-workers chat in an office hallway

Assessments

To evaluate the efficacy of the program and guide instruction, participants of Career Launch are evaluated at baseline, midpoint and upon completion of the program. Following these assessment points, each participant and their counselor receive a final report providing a detailed description of their growth throughout the program, as well as an action plan for continuing toward their goals.

Is Career Launch a fit for your client?

Get in touch and let’s explore their options.