Customized Employment "Because we are equal to the task"



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Nontraditional Employment: Part One

Slide 1

Customized Employment

“Because we are EQUAL to the task”

Trends in Public School and Community Settings

Laura Parsons, MS, NBCT

Marya Pecukonis, MS, NBCT

Howard County Public School System

Slide 2

What is Customized Employment?



  • Customized Employment is a process for individualizing the employment relationship between a job seeker or an employee and an employer in ways that meet the needs of both.

  • It matches the strengths, needs, and interests of the job candidate with a disability, and the business needs of the employer.

Slide 3

Getting started ...



  • Starts with the development of an employment plan, which includes goals and objectives, based on individualized interests, strengths (vocational), and needs of the candidate.

  • Once the candidate’s goals are established, one or more potential employers are identified and a preliminary proposal for presentation to the employer is developed.

  • The proposal is presented to an employer who agrees to negotiate an individualized job that meets the employment needs of the applicant and real business needs of the employer.

Cited From: Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)

Slide 4

ODEP Customized Employment - Creating Opportunities and Solutions

ODEP Customized Employment - Solutions for Employers

Slide 5

Knowing the Student

School-based work tasks, volunteer jobs and internship placements provide students with work exposure and job sampling opportunities.

Picture: Handmade poster that has images of students surrounding bulleted characteristics of students who are college and career ready. On the bottom of the poster there is a quote that says; “Whether I am in at school or in the community, I can learn when I’m given the opportunity.”

Slide 6

Discovery


One step at a time…..


  • Importance of the Portfolio

    • A working document to capture and record artifacts, experiences, photos and video clips to best represent the student

    • Student has active input in developing the portfolio

    • A tool for self-advocacy

Picture: Male with a grocery cart who is getting ready to pick up a jar

Slide 7

Student Profile



  • Collaboration IEP team

    • Past history and evaluations

  • What are areas of interest?

    • Interview, observe, interest inventories

    • Match with areas of strength

  • When and where am I my best?

    • Morning, mid day work time?

    • Inside or outside environment?

    • Quiet or busy? Active or sedentary?

    • Team or solo?

  • Who knows me best?

    • Home, community, school, clubs, organizations

    • Volunteer experiences

Short term and long term vision/ goals

Slide 8

The importance of data



  • IEP TEAM and Transition Specialist observe emerging patterns, review interest inventories, work logs, ABC data..

  • Job sampling work for varying time frames under different conditions

  • Can student begin to generalize skills across people, settings, and tasks? What if they change?

Slide 9

Job Search


The actual conditions for employment are best determined in the real environment where they student will be actively engaged in the job.

The customization occurs when we are able to effectively match student skills and target the precise conditions for employment

We can then move to the next step to brainstorm actual possibilities of jobs for the student.



Picture: Two people at the library, pulling a book off of a shelf.

Slide 10

Job Search



  • NETWORK

    • Sites near community where the student resides, when feasible

    • Seek out sites where student strengths match site needs

    • Professionalism key!

Pictures and video clips for instruction-Prime and teach, reinforce

Picture: Male in a wheelchair transporting a stack of happy meal boxes across a McDonald’s.

Slide 11

Job Development



  • Before approaching an employer visit the job site to:

    • Research the types of jobs/tasks that are available

    • Look for job carving opportunities that are matched to the student’s skills and interests

    • Identify transportation considerations

  • When approaching an employer

    • Meet face to face to promote positive relationship building from the start

    • Appeal to the employer’s circumstances and needs rather than emphasizing the notion of hiring people with barriers

Slide 12

Benefits to employer may include:



  • Saves money

  • Generates revenue

  • Helps operation of organization run more efficiently

  • Improves customer relations

  • Promotes a safe work environment for the student

Slide 13

Questions employers may ask:



  • What are the job seekers’ skills and abilities? Education? Work Experience?

  • Why can’t the job seeker come here to apply for the position in person?

  • Why do you need to assess our worksite?

  • Do the job seekers have disabilities? If so, what type of disabilities do they have?

  • How long will you be with the job seeker for training?

  • What if something happens?

Slide 14

Practical Steps for Negotiations



  • Be acquainted with site needs:

    • Conduct an informational interview

    • Ask for a tour during a time that you may observe work flow

    • Show interest in the organization/ agency

Slide 15

Practical Steps for Negotiations



  • Identify tasks that can be customized for the job seeker:

    • Create a task list based on the employer’s needs and identify job seeker’s skills that align with needs of both

    • Be specific, avoid general and vague terms like filing, photocopying and cleaning

    • Present tasks in the order of their importance to the employer clarifying priorities

    • Include tasks across a number of different jobs and departments to demonstrate the flexibility of customizing a position

    • Highlight benefits to the employer

    • Keep a log of tasks completed time spent in process

Slide 16

Practical Steps for Negotiations



  • Negotiate an employment proposal:

    • Include a description of the specific tasks that can be performed by the job seeker and how they align with the needs of the business

    • Indicate which follow-up support will be provided

    • Discuss how the arrangement will benefit the business

Slide 17

Practical Steps for Negotiations



  • Ensure post hire success. Ask questions early and often during the initial period and continue as the student evaluations are received:

    • Are we meeting your needs?

    • What do you like about our service?

    • What could be improved?

    • Are there additional things we can do to make sure the new employee is fulfilling expectations?

Slide 18

Supports


  • Supports in a customized work environment are powerful tools for increased employee performance, independence, and motivation.

  • Using the SETT framework (Student, Environment, Tasks, Tools) is one way to determine what supports are needed to help the individual be successful.

Slide 19

Supports - STUDENT



  • What does the student need to do?

    • Sign in

    • Tasks/jobs – computer, scanner, filing

    • Navigating within a building

    • Waiting for bus

    • Tell time

    • Produce legible handwriting

    • Read texts/directions

  • What are the student’s special needs?

    • Gross Motor

    • Fine Motor

    • Visual

    • Auditory

    • Bathroom

    • Communication

    • Picture Symbols for reading

  • What are the student’s current abilities?

    • As related to job tasks/skills

    • Reading ability

    • Math/Computer Skills

    • Communication

    • Mobility

  • What skills do you plan to teach the student?

    • The Actual jobs/tasks

    • Navigation

    • Communication

    • Travel Training

Slide 20

Supports - ENVIRONMENT



  • What materials/equipment are already available?

    • Examples: Big Key Keyboard, Buttons to activate door, Color-Coded equipment, etc.

    • Voice Output Devices

  • What is the physical arrangement at the job site? Any special concerns?

    • Noise level

    • Temperature level

    • Near distractions (windows, radio, cafeteria, etc.)

    • Location to other people

    • Desk arrangements

  • How might the equipment/materials be modified to meet the student’s needs?

    • Add visual cues (color-coding, ABC order, etc.)

    • Provide visual sequences of jobs/tasks

    • Provide visual cues for appropriate behaviors

    • Labeling

Slide 21

Supports – TASKS



  • What activities take place in the environment?

    • Quiet environment with minimal movement

    • Active environment with lots of movement

    • Many different jobs occurring in one location

    • Everybody doing the same job in the same place

  • What are the critical elements of the activities?

    • Pictures can be taken of each step and made into a picture task book

  • How might the activities be modified to meet the student’s needs?

    • Break down into smaller tasks

    • Provide visual cues for coding/abbreviations

    • Provide visual cues for students to use appropriate social skills- asking for help, asking a question, etc.

  • How might technology be used to support the individual?

    • Calculator

    • Assistive Tech Device

    • Print, scanner, bar codes, readers, etc.

Slide 22

Supports - TOOLS



  • What no tech, low tech, or high tech options might be considered?

    • What does the student currently use?

    • What would provide for increased independence?

    • Is there something else that could be trialed?

  • How can these tools be trialed in various environments?

    • All classes- task schedule, defined spaces, organized environments

    • Math class- counting strip, number strip, digital clock

    • Reading class- ABC visual, labeling, checklists

  • What strategies might be used for increased performance?

    • Task schedule/board

    • Number strip

    • Labeling

    • Checklists

    • Defined spaced

    • Counting Strip

    • ABC Visual reminders

    • Digital clock

    • Organized Environment

    • Video clips

Slide 23

Sample Visual Steps for Elkridge Family Dentistry



Picture: Steps that include images of how to sign-in to the Elkridge Family Dentistry Scanning and Data Entry system.

Slide 24

Visuals to help student become more independent with data entry



Pictures: Two examples of the ways in which employers can use visual reminders to help students manage their jobs/tasks.

Slide 25
School Based Work Sampling

Students engage in real work activities outsourced from community partnerships and school based resources. Students are assembling packets for Science Resource Center HCPSS.



Picture: Young man organizing resource packets.

Slide 26

Students at Work

Moojin, age 16


  • Position:

    • McDonald’s Restaurant Packaging Assistant

  • Duties:

    • Access materials and package toys into boxes or bags within 60 minute time period

  • Support:

    • Picture schedule

    • Voice output device

    • School system staff

    • Natural

Picture: Moojin is preparing a McDonald’s bag to be used during service.

Slide 27

Sampling job tasks

Prime and teach in school

Application to Work Site



Picture: Four images of students doing various tasks that they can use at their work site.

Slide 28

Grocery Stores


Food Lion, Weiss, Green Valley

  • Students who have strong organizational skills and enjoy working around people in a community setting are proving to be positive candidates for customized employment.

  • The staff appreciates the extra support to keep a tidy store and can spend their time completing more demanding and time sensitive job tasks.

  • Sample Job Tasks

    • Return merchandise to shelves “Go backs”

    • Sort products by size and label

    • Water plants and vegetables in produce section

    • Clean front of display cases

    • Prepare shelves for inventory

    • Check expiration dates on products

Slide 29

Ivy Creek Horse Stable



  • Operating a horse stable is a busy job where multiple tasks are plentiful. This site’s manager appreciates weekly support.

Students who enjoy working in an outside environment, have high interest in animals, and are learning to work with tools are a good match for this customized position.

Picture: A young man posing with a duster in front of the paddock.

Picture: A young man standing in the barn petting a horse.

Slide 30

Elkridge Family Dentistry



Picture: Two images of a young man sitting a computer desk, entering data.

Slide 31

Resources



Slide 32

Guide for Customized Employment




  • Who created ?

    • Transition specialists

    • Work Study Coordinator

    • Members of team



  • Why?

    • Transition Council Howard County Schools

    • Align process to best support ALL students

    • Collection of resources

    • Networking with community

Slide 33

For more information ….



  • Laura Parsons – Howard High School

    • Laura_parsons@hcpss.org

    • 410-313-2867



  • Marya Pecukonis – County Diagnostic Center

    • marya_pecukonis@hcpss.org

    • 410-313-7046




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