Speaker Series in Review: Vocational Rehabilitation and the Road to Employment
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Speaker Series in Review: Vocational Rehabilitation and the Road to Employment

Life Development Institute welcomed Tim Stump, Employer Coordinator at Arizona Department of Economic Security, and Betty Schoen, Region 1 Transition Specialist for Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration, to speak at the monthly Speaker Series on June 8, 2016.  During this session, Tim and Betty discussed the RSA Vocational Rehabilitation Services program and how individuals who have disabilities can achieve successful employment.  They provided details about the program and offered insight into how persons can access program benefits.

To begin, Betty spoke about Vocational Rehabilitation (VR).  She defined what it is, how to apply for it, and identified the services it provides.  First, Vocational Rehabilitation provides a variety of services to persons with disabilities in hopes to help them prepare for employment, begin work, and maintain employment.  Essentially, VR is an employment program for individuals with a documented disability who want to work but have a barrier to employment due to the disability.  In VR, there is an order of selection with 3 levels of priority.  Currently, only Priority 1 is receiving services.  Further, VR collaborates with high schools and high school youth to help them plan for career goals.  As such, students may obtain referrals to VR from schools, parents, other agencies, or themselves.  The referral needs to include the psychoeducational evaluation, the latest IEP, and any medical documentation that is applicable.  From here, VR may offer a variety of services, which includes work readiness activities, job development and placement, counseling about job training options, assistive technology, and vocational counseling and guidance.     

Then, Tim discussed how to get a job.  Initially, he states that one should discover what one wants to do by looking at personal interests, strengths, and skills.  Onet found via www.onetonline.org is a resource tool that students may use to help discover this information along with data on projected job growth and salaries.  After discovering what one wants to do, the next step is to learn how to search and apply for work.  Many online job search engines exist, which suggests that students should become fluent in using these search engines by practicing with them.  From here, students should build a master application that contains all the content that is normally required when completing an online application.  This enables students to quickly complete applications for employment.  Tim also discussed how to create a resume and use job fairs wisely.  Regarding job fairs, students should come prepared to meet with prospective employers but recognize that one is rarely offered employment at a job fair.  Then, Tim discussed disclosure and the right questions to ask in determining when and how to disclose.  Finally, he offered information on interview tips and skills.  Essentially, it is important to realize that employers are asking one question during the interview, “Why should I hire you?”  This realization can provide great assistance in determining how to best answer interview questions.    

Vocational Rehab Workshop 1
Vocational Rehab Workshop 2
Vocational Rehab Workshop 3

LDI would like to express appreciation to both Tim and Betty for spending the time with the community and presenting such invaluable information.  Understanding Vocational Rehabilitation and how to get a job offers strategic steps that persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), ADHD, and other learning disabilities can use to obtain success and fulfillment in life.  

For more information on Life Development Institute and upcoming Speaker Series, please visit www.discoverldi.com or call 866-736-7811.      

This has been a special needs program update from Life Development Institute. You may also click here to read the original article on the main program website.