Transition Programs and Employment Opportunities – by Liz Hickey, DSAGSL Summer Intern

Finding a job can be one of the most important foundations for a quality life and having a job can improve one’s happiness and well-being. There are many resources that exist to assist those with disabilities to receive a job that is a perfect fit. The St. Louis Arc has employment services that assist people with disabilities search for a job that is a good fit. These services provide initial and on-going coaching, maintenance coaching and works with the employees and their supervisors to ensure successful job placements. The employment counselors work one-on-one to discuss the person’s individual career goals. The counselor will also help the individual test out different jobs at the worksites to experience whether or not that position is a good fit for one’s skills, abilities and interests. After being hired, the employment counselor will continue to ensure that the job is a good fit. He or she will provide strategies that will ensure that the individual is learning while doing the job correctly. Once the individual can do the job independently, the job coach will gradually reduce their involvement. Usually for a full-time employee, job coaching is around 3-6 weeks. However, even after placement and training, the job coach will continue to make sure everything is running smoothly and address any concerns of the supervisors. This is in place to make sure everyone is receiving the support that they need.

To receive these services from the St. Louis Arc, the individual must qualify for vocational rehabilitation services from the Missouri Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and live within the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan area. If you are interested in these services, you can contact your Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and notify them that you are interested in receiving employment services. You will then be notified by a St. Louis Arc employment counselor as soon as your referral is activated.

Another resource from the St. Louis Arc is the program Teens in Motion. This is a program that allows participants to explore interests in different job areas, volunteer at certain organizations, attend different presentations, and form relationships. This is a great program that allows an individual to form skills that will last a lifetime.

Lastly, the DSAGSL has the Toastmasters Word Masters Club. This is a group that helps improve public speaking skills, increase confidence, and improve professional skills.

All of these programs are great resources for those who are seeking employment and need assistance doing so; whether that is improving public speaking skills, building confidence, or forming relationships.