Summary of Pre-ETS Services
Job Exploration Counseling
Participants will receive job exploration counseling by:
- Completing a career interest inventory that provides insight into vocational paths.
- Responding to a work personality evaluation to determine the traits, characteristics, attitudes, and values that make up their work personalities.
- Completing a discrepancy analysis that compares their job interests and perceived abilities to the skills and qualifications necessary to be successful in various positions.
- Participating in training on informational interviews and conducting a minimum of five interviews.
- Learning about the labor market and trends in employment data.
- Receiving one-on-one consultations from staff to analyze and summarize results of evaluations.
- Making site visits to businesses and nonprofits in the Greater Boston area to learn about work environments and occupational responsibilities. Existing members of the Perkins Business Partnership include IBM, Uber, TD Bank, Tufts Health Plan, Wells Fargo, Winter Wyman, Museum of Science, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, and others.
- Connecting with a network of blind and visually impaired mentors who are in a variety of occupations and workplace settings.
Work-Based Learning Experiences
Participants will receive work-based learning experiences by:
- Attending workplace tours and job shadowing opportunities.
- Participating in internships (when determined appropriate by staff).
- Participating in service learning projects.
- Developing and practicing an elevator speech and ability statement.
- Utilizing public transportation options to navigate independently to work sites.
- Completing self-evaluations on their progress and performance based on criteria provided to them at the beginning of the program.
- Following workplace guidelines with respect to attendance, punctuality, professionalism, and productivity.
Counseling on Experiences for Enrollment in Comprehensive Transition or Post-Secondary Educational Programs and Institutions of Higher Education
Participants will receive higher education counseling by:
- Being part of activities that showcase the relationship between skill development and knowledge acquisition to outcomes in postsecondary education and workplace readiness.
- Visiting local colleges.
- Meeting with Offices of Disability Services at colleges and inquiring about the process for applying for accommodations.
- Requesting accommodations at Harvard Extension where students will take classes.
- Participating in up to three college classes at Harvard Extension.
- Receiving individualized advising on course selection, admission requirements (when applicable), financial aid, and degree guidance.
- Getting involved in campus activities both academically and recreationally.
- Developing their executive functioning skills and having opportunities to apply them in their classes.
Workplace readiness training
Students will participate in work-place readiness training by:
- Receiving individual and small group instruction on soft skills including how to interact with supervisors and co-workers.
- Participating in-group activities designed to promote leadership, teamwork, and problem solving/decision making skills.
- Developing hiring documents including a resume, cover letter, and online presence.
- Creating, identifying, and developing a plan to cultivate their personal network.
- Practicing mock interviews and responding to common interview questions.
- Having access to a network of blind and visually impaired individuals who are already in college or gainful employment for mentorship opportunities.
- Setting goals and creating action plans for achieving them.
- Learning to identify causes of conflicts and find resolutions to them.
- Enhancing their independent living skills by learning to cook, clean, and manage personal hygiene in their on-campus dormitory.
- Receiving formal training from a certified orientation and mobility specialist.
Instruction in Self-Advocacy
Participants will develop their self-advocacy skills by:
- Learning about their rights and responsibilities as a consumer at a university.
- Practicing how to discuss their disability and necessary accommodations with different audiences such as professors, 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 college scenarios such as in classes and the dining hall.
To evaluate the efficacy of the program and guide instruction, participants of College Success @ Perkins will be evaluated at baseline, midpoint, and after completion of the program. During the first week, trained staff will administer a battery of assessments including the Perkins Independent Living Skills Assessment-College Level and the Executive Skills Questionnaire (Dawson & Guare). A certified orientation and mobility specialist will assess students’ current skills to determine the extent and type of travel training needed for each individual. Also during the first week, staff will conduct informal assessments of students’ social skills, braille, and recreation and leisure activities. Students will be enrolled in the appropriate training based on these results. The same set of assessments will be administered again in December (midway through the program) and in May at the program’s end. Results from evaluations will be analyzed and summarized in a monthly report. At the end of the nine months, each participant will receive a final report, which provides a detailed description of their growth throughout the program as well as an action plan for how to continue towards their goals.