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Employment specialist competencies

Overview 

A 245D license-holder must ensure his/her direct support professional staff meet staffing standards as required in Minn. Stat. §245D.09

For the new employment services (exploration, development and support), the 245D license-holder must also ensure staff providing those services (i.e., employment specialists) are competent to do this work. 

A 245D license-holder may demonstrate staff competency through either:

  • The employment specialist holding an industry-recognized credential from any of the following:
    • The Association of Community Rehabilitation Educators (ACRE)
    • The National Certified Employment Support Professional (CESP)
    • The Direct Support Professional Specialist in Employment Support credential (DSP-S-ES)
  • Keeping a record of how each employment specialist demonstrated mastery of the competencies listed in the following table, either using the examples provided or by developing other methods. 

The table also includes training and resources available at low or no cost that can help staff build knowledge in each competency area.

Elements of employment services Competencies Demonstration examples Helpful courses and resources
Job search planning (employment exploration and employment support services) The employment specialist should:
• Encourage informed choice, self- determination and active participation throughout the employment process
• Emphasize the person’s strengths, interests and talents.
The employment specialist uses information he/she learns about an individual job seeker to develop a plan toward meaningful employment and make a list of potential employers. He/she can demonstrate that through creating either:
• A vocational profile
• An individual employment plan.
The following courses are available in DirectCourse:
• Business Perspectives
• Foundations of Employment Services
• Principles of Career Development.
For more information about employment exploration resources, see Disability Hub MN – Discovery and exploration.
Job development and negotiation (employment development services) The employment specialist should:
• Help the person in his/her job search process
• Market the person’s skills to employers
• Research and create opportunities for the person
• Organize information gathered (e.g., create list of employers by industry or location)
• Develop relationships with businesses
• Negotiate accommodations and conditions (e.g., hours, wages, tasks, breaks, orientation).
The employment specialist demonstrates competency when he/she is able to:
• Work collaboratively with the person and employer to:
 o Negotiate a job and the provision of supports
 o Create terms of employment that match the person’s interests, skills and conditions he/she needs for success
• Write progress reports about meetings with the person
• Help the person create resumes and cover letters.
The following courses are available in DirectCourse:
• Strategies for Job Development, Part 1
• Strategies for Job Development, Part 2
• Job Creation
• Networking.
Post- employment support (employment support services) The employment specialist should:
• Ensure the employee is included in work activities and treated like all other employees
• Manage travel and transportation
• Perform comprehensive job analysis (i.e., breaking down jobs into smaller tasks)
• Develop strategies for workplace supports.
The employment specialist demonstrates competency when he/she is able to:
• Display job retention rates
• Set up ongoing, post-employment supports
• Monitor the employment relationship to ensure satisfaction of both the person and employer
• Create a task analysis document from the information he/she learns in the comprehensive job analysis.
The following courses are available in DirectCourse:
• Performance Coaching and Support, Part 1
• Performance Coaching and Support, Part 2.
Benefits planning (employment exploration, employment development and employment support services) The employment specialist should:
• Know information about:
 o Federal and state benefit program rules, associated work incentives and how they apply to the person’s situation
 o Common myths about benefits and work
 o Using the Disability Benefits 101 (DB101) website to find and utilize information and tools helpful to a person
• Know when and how to connect a person to resources for additional benefits planning when necessary.
The employment specialist demonstrates competency when he/she is able to:
• Provide accurate information about benefits and work
• Identify and verify types of benefits the person receives
• Address myths and barriers related to benefits and work
• Complete a DB101 estimator session and explain the results
• Make appropriate referrals for additional benefits planning when necessary.
The employment specialist demonstrates competency when the people he/she serves:
• Gain confidence in understanding their benefits and the impact of paid employment
• Increase their usage of work incentives
• Have greater economic stability
• Increase their usage of Disability Benefits 101 (DB101)’s benefits planning tools and other resources.

The following courses are available through the links provided:
Bridging Benefits and Work Part 1-3
Community (Partner) Work Incentive Coordinator training/certification through Virginia Commonwealth University

For more information about benefits planning, see:
Disability Hub MN – Benefits planning
Disability Benefits 101 (DB101).

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