Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors: Career Launch for Your Clients

Quote from Jay Dominick, Parent

Our youngest son, Thomas, is currently participating in Career Launch. They have a very interesting strategy for tackling the high unemployment rates for the blind and visually impaired. So far, Thomas has really been transformed by the program.

 

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

We ensure Career Launch @ Perkins fits your client’s needs and capabilities. We prepare them with the training, connections and the 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.

At Career Launch, program participants will become 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. 

In today's working world, technology is key, and for our participants, that means it needs to be accessible. At Career Launch, we'll ensure that our trainees are skilled at navigating the software they need to be successful in a job - not only tools to support them as employees, such as JAWS, 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.

Most importantly, 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 career with a resume designed to land them on their feet.

Simply put, Career Launch will empower candidates and position them for a life of competitive employment and independence. 

Types of Skills and Activities

Participants will receive job exploration counseling by:

  • 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 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.

Participants will receive work-based learning experiences by:

  • 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.

Trainees will participate in workplace readiness training by:

  • 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 to them.
  • Learning skills to navigate to and from work independently.

Participants will develop their self-advocacy skills by:

  • Learning about their rights and responsibilities as an employee.
  • Engaging in experiences designed to improve their self-awareness and self-management. 
  • 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.

Assessments

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