There is no better feeling than having money in your account. However, the feeling of knowing you’ve earned that money through hard work is even better. Having a job that you go to every day to make an earnest living is a right that can be taken for granted. In today’s job market the act of endlessly applying for jobs, waiting for callbacks from employers, interviewing (often multiple interviews for the same job) and then waiting for a job offer can be daunting for any person. For a person with a developmental or intellectual disability, the job market can be a discouraging, overly drawn-out experience.
As an Employment Specialist, it is my job to assist people with disabilities in their job search with a focus on building skills in the areas of communication, self-organization, personal responsibility, social thinking, self-advocacy, judgment, technology, independence and motivation as they prepare for employment. Fortunately, the IPS (Individual Placement and Support) model affords me the chance to feel like I am preparing someone for a job they truly want and one in which they can become a successful employee. With the IPS model, not only do I get to assist with a client’s job search, but together we can go through a thorough assessment to see what their strengths and interests are. From there, I am able to seek out jobs where the client will be able to demonstrate these strengths, which will make their job placement that much sweeter.
After a client is hired, I am able to provide individualized support. Through the individualized support process, I briefly join the IPS client at work in order to ensure job retention and success.
While the reward for IPS clients is successful job placement, my reward is found at the end of each day when I know I helped several IPS clients develop skills that are beneficial to both their job and life.
Lena Foote is an Employment Specialist at Serach Inc. She supports her clients in finding career opportunities that will allow them to best utilize their abilities, gain real-world experience, and find competitive employment.