At Abilities First, we believe that a sense of pride and dignity comes with earning a paycheck through meaningful work. Employment is the ultimate goal for many of the people we support, and there are many steps along the way to that goal. We provide a wide variety of pre-employment and employment services to match people with opportunities that meet their personal interests and current readiness for employment.
As is true for everyone, High School students with disabilities should plan and prepare for life after they graduate from school. For many, this means making the transition from school to work. In order to facilitate this transition, Abilities First offers what is known as Specific services designed to help school students make a smooth and effective transition to adulthood. to youth with disabilities.
We work with private and public schools to assist students with disabilities through the transition process, toward employment after school ends. This process includes discovery and planning and learning work readiness skills through volunteer and/or internship opportunities.
Discovery & Planning
The first step toward employment is discovery of vocational goals, the skills needed to succeed and the supports that are available. We provide skilled coaches to help people develop customized plans for exploration of the world of work. Then we provide support to help people actually follow that plan to explore work options. In addition, we provide consultation with certified benefits advisement counselors so people can make informed decisions about income and how it would impact benefits.
In order to succeed in an actual job for the long term, we all must possess certain skills that are needed for any position. These include but are not limited to dress, workplace etiquette, workplace social skills, task focus and completion.
We facilitate actual work experience such as volunteer work, internships and other opportunities where people can learn and gain experience with such skills. Once these skills are learned and a person knows the kind of job they are after, they are ready for the next step which is competitive employment.
When a person is ready for paid job in the community, Abilities First provides the initial and ongoing supports to facilitate success. Our specialized job developers have engaged several hundred employers in our community to offer a wide variety of employment options such as work in retail, restaurant and food service, cleaning and custodial work, production and fulfillment, etc. After a job is developed and a person begins work, we provide trained job coaches to provide support as needed to facilitate success.