The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014 states that “youth with significant disabilities must be given every opportunity to receive the services necessary to ensure the maximum potential to achieve competitive integrated employment.” WIOA requires that state vocational rehabilitation agencies, such as Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD), set aside 15% of their federal funding to provide Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) to students age 14-22. OOD contracted United Disability Services to provide these services to students in Summit, Medina and Portage Counties. The contract will be renewable annually.
Services are provided in coordination with the schools in each county and local OOD counselors. Pre-ETS services are meant to be brief (8 hours per service) introductions of work-related topics. The contracted services to be provided include:
Career Exploration Counseling, where students will discuss career options and learn about in-demand jobs, OR where students will identify where they are in the career planning process, complete interest inventories and conduct Informational Interviews. They will register at OhioMeansJobs (OMJ) and create a “backpack,” differentiate between employment options, and gain knowledge of in-demand jobs. Students will also learn why employment matters, and complete a job seekers training program.
Work Based Learning, where students will get to experience and gain knowledge about the workplace, OR where students will participate in work-site tours and job shadowing experiences at community businesses obtaining first-hand knowledge of work settings. In addition, students will learn to display appropriate work-site behaviors. They will learn the importance of networking and begin to document resources identified within their networks.
Workplace Readiness Training, aimed to improve social and independent living skills, OR where students will learn appropriate work behaviors and employer expectations. They will participate in mock interviews, complete applications and resumes, and may attend job fairs. Students will learn of the impact their personal social media profile and other communication has on employment.
Employers can help by providing tours and job shadow experiences for students, having employees mentor students interested in their field, being a host site for work assessments, or informing UDS staff of job openings. Interested individuals and employers can contact Kristen Campagnano at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 330-762-9755 for more information.
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