Council-Sponsored Grant Activities: Employment (2014)
The Discovery Process is a tool, an information gathering strategy that involves seven stages of learning about an individual. The Process includes interviews with the person and his or her family along with relevant school and work experiences. Three vocational themes are identified that best match with the person's interests, talents, and skills. A narrative description includes ideal conditions of employment, and a job/business development plan identifies 20 businesses that correspond with the vocational themes. Informational interviews are scheduled. The end result is a job offer.
During the 2014 project year, nine adults with developmental disabilities found employment that matched their interests and abilities, all were directly hired by the business, and worked in an inclusive workplace setting. They each earned minimum wage or above, and five of the individuals worked 20 hours or more per week at Byerly's, Lunds, the School of Rock in Eden Prairie, PJ Murphy's Bakery in St. Paul, and the Minnesota House of Representatives. One individual continues to develop her own business and is working with a mentor. Two of these individuals are job seekers again as the nature of their positions or workplace dynamics didn't give them long term employment.
Kristen's employment is the most recent success story. Her vocational themes of health and fitness, and transportation advocacy resulted in a position at the Minneapolis, St. Paul International Airport as a wheelchair attendant. She tracks customers using a PDA and walkie-talkie, and is credited with learning her job more quickly than many of her co-workers.
Three transition students who worked through the Discovery Process during the past project year are now employed and three additional transition students have jobs that match their interests and vocational themes. They are earning at or above minimum wage and working 20 hours or more per week. One young adult has had several informational interviews, and three young adults have completed post secondary education classes. Job seekers had informational interviews with 221 businesses and positions were secured with eight different employers.