JOB PLACEMENT

 

 

The purpose of job placement is to ensure that students, prior to graduation, have a job of their own choosing and are supported to the level they require.  This could be competitive employment, supported employment, or self-employment opportunities.

 

The aim is to ensure that all students have a planned job‑placement program and that educational experiences relate to their occupational goals. Depending on the student, workplace mentoring, instruction in workplace skills and expectations, on‑the‑job training, job coaching, work adjustment, internships and apprenticeships may be used to teach them to be successful in the workplace.

 

 

 

GUIDELINES FOR JOB DEVELOPMENT

 

 

There are no formulas. Each student has a unique situation.

 

There are basically three ways to do job developing.

 

         I.      Work with employers to develop jobs and then find students to fill those openings.

 

       II.      Work with the students to determine their needs and then go find placements that will meet those needs.

 

      III.      Teach students skills to find their own jobs.

 

One of the hardest parts of the job is balancing the needs of the different stakeholders with whom you're working: students, teachers, administrators, parents, employers and other agencies. This guide gives specific tips on working with some of these stakeholders. One of your main functions is to clarify the expectations of all involved. Make sure that everybody is clear about what will be happening and what their roles and responsibilities are.

 


 

TIPS ON WORKING WITH EMPLOYERS

 

Speaking at public meetings, releasing public service announcements, and mailing program introduction letters can be effective in letting potential employers know about the existence of your program. Many job placement programs have used these techniques with good results.

 

Remember that your aim is to create a partnership with employers in which all parties are receiving something of value. While this can be hard to achieve, strive for it.  It's necessary to screen some employers out of the program either because they won't meet the individual student's needs or because it's unlikely they could work well with special education students.

 

Generating Job Leads

Job leads can come from Alaska’s job centers, teachers, students, parents, want ads, employers and other agencies. It's really important to establish good working relationships with the personnel of other agencies.

Often, you get job leads in the course of your everyday life, especially if you live in the community in which you're placing students. A casual conversation with a neighbor or store clerk may alert you to potential sites.

 

Transportation

Since transportation to and from the job is such a crucial issue, it must be determined what sources of transportation is available to the student. Sometimes the students have their own cars or their parents will help. Often the student needs to have a job within walking or biking distance from his/her house. Public transportation may be available, too. As an area becomes more rural this becomes more difficult to achieve. We have the highest rates of job placement in areas where there are businesses close to residential areas.

 

Someone from the transition team drives, or walks, around the area near the student's home to discover what businesses are in the area. He/she then approaches the ones most likely to have jobs suitable for that student. Have student and parents determine places for employment close to home or school.

 

Sometimes, there really isn't any transportation available or any businesses close to the student's home. In that case, the student will probably have to be placed on a work site during the school day and return to school before the bus leaves. This generally involves more paperwork and the job probably won't become permanent, but it does allow the student to get some experience.

 

Talking to Employers about Disabilities

There is a tremendous amount of jargon used in special education most of which will be unfamiliar to the employer. Don't use it.

 

There are still a lot of fears and myths about disabilities. You will need to gently deal with these issues. The following comments were excerpted from Employers As Partners:

 

... when we address an audience of employers who need to focus on potential solutions to functional limitations, we often use distracting terms of reference.

 

The fact that you understand the restricted meaning of certain terms doesn't mean that a potential employer also understands.

 

The following terms describe functional limitations and promote thinking about potential solutions.

 

Difficulty in interpreting information

Difficulty in learning new tasks

Limitation of sight

Limitation of hearing

Limitation of speech

Difficulty in using upper/lower extremities

 

Your conversations with employers can include such statements as "We work with people who have difficulty using their lower extremities" rather than "...with paraplegics."

 

Presenting the Program to Employers

 

1.                   The person from the Transition team who makes the employer contact should pay attention to how they look. That isn't to say that they always "Dress for Success" because that isn't always appropriate; one may look silly dressed in a three‑piece suit at a horse stable. Most transition team members find that business cards, the program brochure and a briefcase are necessities.

2.                  Making an initial approach to the employer in person without having made an appointment is a “cold call.”  Some have had good luck calling first but that gives the employer a chance to say no. We don’t recommend the use introductory letters very much because there isn’t any control over how the letter is handled. Going in person also allows one to observe a lot about the company environment and needs; this comes in handy even if you don't get to talk to the person who has the power to hire.

3.                  Prepare a presentation that you feel comfortable giving. Then tailor the actual presentation to what’s happening at the time you are talking to the employer.

4.                  Points usually covered during a presentation include:

·        Brief explanation of the program

·        Short statement about the type of students involved in the project

·        Explanation of potential services available to the employer: training of student, follow‑up, etc.

·        That a trial work period can be established and either the employer or the student can withdraw if the situation is not working out

 

  1. A major part of the first meeting is to listen to the employer to determine what his/her needs are and to see if a placement would be suitable.

  2. Transition team members are encouraged to send a thank you letter to the employer within the first few days after the contact. This is especially important if the employer was undecided and it's a good idea even if the employer said no. The thank-you letter is an extremely powerful tool. On the one hand, it's simply good manners and is recommended in all books about job search techniques. On the other hand, it's generally not done and makes a good impression when it is. We've had employers change their mind because of the thank you letters.

  3. It's important to focus on the problems that an employer needs to have solved rather than the job title or the qualifications requested. The “Performance Based Placement Manual” presents this example.
    The job title is Clerk Typist and the skill requested is being able to type 60 words per minute. The problem to be solved is that approximately three letters a day must be typed and mailed. Information must be typed onto office forms. It becomes obvious that the job could be handled by someone who types slower than 60 words per minute.

  4. Even if the employer doesn't have an opening at the time, it's a good idea to briefly go through the above steps because the chances are likely that there will be an opening in the near future.

 

  1. Provide the employer with information regarding targeted tax credits and the Job Accommodation Network (at the end of this section). 

 

 

Recognizing Employer Contributions

At the end of the school year, consider giving framed certificates of appreciation to all companies that have served as training sites. The cost is usually minimal. The frame is especially important because it looks so nice and allows the employer to display it immediately.  If the employer is exemplary, consider nominating them for the Governor’s Committee on Employment and Rehabilitation of People with Disabilities annual Employer of the Year Award.  For more information about this reward, call the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation at (800) 478-2815. 

 


 

Follow-Up Services

 

Follow‑up services are the key to the success of your program.

1.                  It's useful to go to the work site while the students are working so that you can observe how they are doing and if they are using proper work behaviors.

2.                  It's also important to go to the job sites at other times. An employer may hesitate to talk frankly about a student if he/she is right there.  It's useful to ask very specific questions such as, "What problems are you having with this student?" It may be unfair to ask the question in such a way that implies there are problems but if you ask, "How are things going?" the employer will usually say, "Fine," unless there is an urgent problem at that moment.

3.                  The employer may occasionally be asked to fill out a written evaluation of the student's performance or you might incorporate a very, very brief check‑off form onto the student's time sheet.

4.                  It's also a good idea to talk to the student at school to find out if there are problems and to give him/her feedback about job performance. Not only will the student feel freer to talk, but you won't be interrupting his/her work.

5.                  Monitor job sites at least weekly to start. This may enable you to prevent many problems and catch others before they mushroom.

6.                  Know that there will be some situations in which things are going very smoothly and neither the employer nor student will need or want these services. Feel free to phase yourself out.

 


EMPLOYER

INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUE ETIQUETTE

 

Conduct interviews in a manner that emphasizes abilities, achievements and individual qualities.

 

Conduct your interview as you would with anyone. Be considerate without being patronizing.

 

When interviewing a person with a speech impediment, stifle any urge to complete a sentence of an interviewee.

 

If it appears that a person's ability inhibits performance of a job, ask: How would you perform this job?

 

         Examples:

Inappropriate:

I notice that you are in a wheelchair, and I wonder how you get around. Tell me about your disability.

 

Appropriate:

This position requires digging and using a wheelbarrow, as you can see from the job description. Do you foresee any difficulty in performing the required tasks? If so, do you have any suggestions how these tasks can be performed?

 

 

Interviewing Courtesies for Effective Communication

 

Interviewers need to know whether or not the job site is accessible and should be prepared to answer accessibility-related questions.

 

Interviewing a person using Mobility Aids

Enable people who use crutches, canes or wheelchairs to keep them within reach.

 

Be aware that some wheelchair users may choose to transfer themselves out of their wheelchairs (into an office chair, for example) for the duration of the interview.

 

Here again, when speaking to a person in a wheelchair or on crutches for more than a few minutes, sit in a chair. Place yourself at that person's eye level to facilitate conversation.

 

 

Interviewing a person with Vision Impairments

When greeting a person with a vision impairment always identify yourself and introduce anyone else who might be present.

 

If the person does not extend their hand to shake hands, verbally extend a welcome.

 

When offering seating, place the person's hand on the back or arm of the seat. A verbal cue is helpful as well.

 

Let the person know if you move or need to end the conversation.

 

Allow people who use crutches, canes or wheelchairs to keep them within reach.

 

Interviewing a person with Speech Impairments

Give your whole attention with interest when talking to a person who has a speech impairment.

 

Ask short questions that require short answers or a nod of the head.

 

Do not pretend to understand if you do not. Try rephrasing what you wish to communicate, or ask the person to repeat what you do not understand.

 

Do not raise your voice. Most speech impaired persons can hear and understand.

 

Interviewing a person who is Deaf or Hearing Impaired

If you need to attract the attention of a person who is deaf or hearing impaired, touch him or her lightly on the shoulder.

 

If the interviewee lip-reads, look directly at him or her.

 

Speak clearly at a normal pace. Do not exaggerate your lip movements or shout. Speak expressively because the person will rely on your facial expressions, gestures and eye contact. (Note: It is estimated that only four out of ten spoken words are visible on the lips.)

 

Place yourself with the light source illuminating your face and keep your hands, cigarettes and food away from your mouth when speaking.

 

Shouting does not help and can be detrimental. Only raise your voice when requested. Brief, concise written notes may be helpful.

 

In the United States most deaf people use American Sign Language (ASL.) ASL is not a universal language. ASL is a language with its own syntax and grammatical structure. When scheduling an interpreter for a non-English speaking person, be certain to retain an interpreter that speaks and interprets in the language of the person.

 

If an interpreter is present, it is commonplace for the interpreter to be seated beside the interviewer, across from the interviewee.

 

Interpreters facilitate communication. They should not be consulted or regarded as a reference for the interview.


INTERVIEWING COURTESIES

FOR EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

 

Interviewing Scheduling Etiquette

Some interviewees with visual or mobility impairments will phone in prior to the appointment date, specifically for travel information. The scheduler should be very familiar with the travel path in order to provide interviewees with detailed information.

 

Make sure the place where you plan to conduct the interview is accessible by checking the following:

 

Are there handicap parking spaces available and nearby?

 

Is there a ramp or step-free entrance?

 

Are there accessible restrooms?

 

If the interview is not on the first floor, does the building have an elevator?

 

Are there any water fountains and telephones at the proper height for a person in a wheelchair to use?

 

If an interview site is inaccessible (e.g., steps without a ramp or a building without an elevator), inform the person about the barrier prior to the interview and offer to make arrangements for an alternative interview site.

 

When scheduling interviews for persons with disabilities, consider their needs ahead of time:

 

When giving directions to a person in a wheelchair, consider distance, weather conditions and physical obstacles such as stairs, curbs and steep hills.

 

Use specifics such as left a hundred feet or right two yards when directing a person with a visual impairment.

 

Be considerate of the additional travel time that may be required by a person with a disability.

 

Familiarize the interviewee in advance with the names of all persons he or she will be meeting during the visit. This courtesy allows persons with disabilities to be aware of the names and faces that will be met.

 

People with disabilities use a variety of transportation services when traveling to and from work. When scheduling an interview, be aware that the person may be required to make a reservation 24 hours in advance, plus travel time. Provide the interviewee with an estimated time to schedule the return trip when arranging the interview appointment.

 

Expect the same measure of punctuality and performance from people with disabilities that is required of every potential or actual employee.

 

People with disabilities expect equal treatment, not special treatment.

 

The Interview

Interviewers need to know whether or not the job site is accessible and should be prepared to answer accessibility-related questions.

 

Conduct interviews in a manner that emphasizes abilities, achievements and individual qualities.

 

Conduct your interview as you would with anyone. Be considerate without being patronizing.

 

When interviewing a person with a speech impediment, stifle any urge to complete a sentence of an interviewee.

 

If it appears that a person's ability inhibits performance of a job, ask: How would you perform this job?

 

Examples:

 

Inappropriate:

I notice that you are in a wheelchair, and I wonder how you get around. Tell me about your disability.

 

Appropriate:

This position requires digging and using a wheelbarrow, as you can see from the job description. Do you foresee any difficulty in performing the required tasks? If so, do you have any suggestions how these tasks can be performed?

 

Interviewing a person using Mobility Aids

Enable people who use crutches, canes or wheelchairs to keep them within reach.

 

Be aware that some wheelchair users may choose to transfer themselves out of their wheelchairs (into an office chair, for example) for the duration of the interview.

 

Here again, when speaking to a person in a wheelchair or on crutches for more than a few minutes, sit in a chair. Place yourself at that person's eye level to facilitate conversation.

 

Interviewing a person with Vision Impairments

When greeting a person with a vision impairment always identify yourself and introduce anyone else who might be present.

 

If the person does not extend their hand to shake hands, verbally extend a welcome.

 

When offering seating, place the person's hand on the back or arm of the seat. A verbal cue is helpful as well.

 

Let the person know if you move or need to end the conversation.

 

Allow people who use crutches, canes or wheelchairs to keep them within reach.

 

Interviewing a person with Speech Impairments

Give your whole attention with interest when talking to a person who has a speech impairment.

 

Ask short questions that require short answers or a nod of the head.

 

Do not pretend to understand if you do not. Try rephrasing what you wish to communicate or ask the person to repeat what you do not understand.

 

Do not raise your voice. Most speech impaired persons can hear and understand.

 

Interviewing a person who is Deaf or Hearing-Impaired

If you need to attract the attention of a person who is deaf or hearing impaired, touch him or her lightly on the shoulder.

 

If the interviewee lip-reads, look directly at him or her.  Speak clearly at a normal pace. Do not exaggerate your lip movements or shout. Speak expressively because the person will rely on your facial expressions, gestures and eye contact. (Note: It is estimated that only four out of ten spoken words are visible on the lips.)

 

Shouting does not help and can be detrimental. Only raise your voice when requested. Brief, concise written notes may be helpful.

 

In the United States most deaf people use American Sign Language (ASL.) ASL is not a universal language. ASL is a language with its own syntax and grammatical structure. When scheduling an interpreter for a non-English speaking person, be certain to retain an interpreter that speaks and interprets in the language of the person.

 

If an interpreter is present, it is commonplace for the interpreter to be seated beside the interviewer, across from the interviewee.

 

Interpreters facilitate communication. They should not be consulted or regarded as a reference for the interview.


 

Conversation Etiquette

When talking to a person with a disability, look at and speak directly to that person, rather than through a companion who may be along.

 

Relax. Don't be embarrassed if you happen to use accepted common expressions such as “See you later” or “Got to be running along” that seem to relate to the person's disability.

 

To get the attention of a person with a hearing impairment, tap the person on the shoulder or wave your hand. Look directly at the person and speak clearly, naturally and slowly to establish if the person can read lips. Not all persons with hearing impairments can lip-read. Those who can will rely on facial expressions and other body language to help in understanding. Show consideration by placing yourself facing the light source and keeping your hands, cigarettes and food away from your mouth when speaking. Keep mustaches well-trimmed. Shouting won't help. Written notes may.

 

When talking with a person in a wheelchair for more than a few minutes, use a chair, whenever possible, in order to place yourself at the person's eye level to facilitate conversation.

 

When greeting a person with a severe loss of vision, always identify yourself and others who may be with you.     EXAMPLE: On my right is Penelope Potts.

 

When conversing in a group, give a vocal cue by announcing the name of the person to whom you are speaking. Speak in a normal tone of voice, indicate in advance when you will be moving from one place to another and let it be known when the conversation is at an end.

 

Listen attentively when you're talking to a person who has a speech impairment. Keep your manner encouraging rather than correcting. Exercise patience rather than attempting to speak for a person with speech difficulty. When necessary, ask short questions that require short answers or a nod or a shake of the head. Never pretend to understand if you are having difficulty doing so. Repeat what you understand, or incorporate the interviewee's statements into each of the following questions. The person's reactions will clue you in and guide you to understanding.

 

Do not shout at a hearing impaired person. Shouting distorts sounds accepted through hearing aids and inhibits lip reading.

 

Do not shout at a person who is blind or visually impaired -- he or she can hear you!

 

To facilitate conversation, be prepared to offer a visual cue to a hearing impaired person or an audible cue to a vision impaired person, especially when more than one person is speaking.

 


IMPORTANT SAFETY AND LIABILITY CONSIDERATIONS

 

Legal Issues

Each project will have to make sure certain issues are dealt with both to protect the students, the school district and the personnel involved. The job developer will probably not be in a position to make these decisions; however, he/she will be responsible for the implementation in many cases. Just some of these issues are listed here.

·        Does the student’s IEP have goals and objectives related to this project and job placement?

·        Have the parents signed the proper permission slips and release of information forms, if the student is under I8 years old? This may still be a good idea, for some students, even if they are over 18.

·        Are you following all work permit procedures?

·        Are you following all school district policies about: work experience, driving students in school district or personal cars, etc…?

·        Have you worked out the Worker's Compensation?

·        Have you followed Department of Labor and Workforce Development minimum guidelines for OJT placements or obtained a wage waiver?

·        Has the employer completed the MOA for OJT placements?

 

Students’ Physical Safety

To assure the student’s safety on the job, keep the individual student's abilities and personality in mind when evaluating a site for placement possibilities. There are also very good guidelines given on the work permit, and you may want to follow them even for students who are 18 or older.

 

Physical, Sexual or Emotional Abuse

It’s been estimated that people with disabilities have a four to ten times greater chance of being physically, sexually or emotionally abused during their lives than people without disabilities. The offender is usually someone close to the person: a parent, teacher, employer, other relative, care provider, etc.

 

It's necessary to protect the students. Some things to keep in mind are:

·        Let the employer know that you will be monitoring at various times.

·        If you get a funny feeling about a situation or a person, trust that feeling!

·        We often tell students things like, "Do whatever your boss tells you to do." Be careful to let the students know that this applies only to job related duties.

·        Establish a relationship with the students such that they feel comfortable talking with you. Tell them directly that they should tell you about anything that happens that bothers them or that they don’t understand.