Pathways to Work for College Students with Disabilities
Getting to know the Student and their preferences
The workpath begins with an introductory meeting between the student and a Phoenix SES staff member in order to gather as much information as possible about the student's individual needs, likes, dislikes and vocational preferences.
Some students have understandable difficulty in defining their vocational choices and need assistance to get a better idea of what employment possibilities may be open to them. We have an excellent media tool for this purpose called the Job Explorer Database (JED) and we will go through this with the student during an additional meeting if it is required.
Identifying Potential Employers
Once all the relevant information has been gathered and vocational choice has been established our staff will begin a job search in the student's local area and identify potential employers from the Employer Database maintained at Phoenix's office or from an internet search covering employers matching the students choices. Then we arrange to meet prospective employers and outline exactly what is required, the purpose of each clearly defined stage of the work placement, and the desired outcome.
Bringing together the Student and Employer
The next stage is to arrange a meeting between the student and the employer and to agree the details of the placement as follows: job description, number of days and hours to be worked, start and finish times, and the source of natural support within the workplace. At this point it is explained to both student and employer that the first two weeks will be an assessment period at the end of which a review will be held to ensure all parties are willing for the placement to continue and to identify any issues or skill shortfalls which may have become apparent. Once this is done and all parties are happy to proceed the placement can be extended for up to twelve weeks to allow time for the student to acquire all the skills necessary for the job.
It is important that the student works in line with the Job Description and can fulfil all related duties required by the position. It is at this stage that in-work support is put in place where appropriate and any other concerns are dealt with, for example - travel training, bus in programs etc. At the first monthly review any issues which have arisen will be discussed and plans formulated to resolve any problems. The student's overall performance will be examined and any work ethic or job related issues will be addressed. This may necessitate an increase in the amount of support required to ensure that progress is made. At the second review it is expected that significant progress will have been made and that the student is performing in line with other staff members. If this is the case, paid employment can be discussed. If the prospects of paid employment with this employer are poor or nil, the employer is asked to complete the Employer Monitoring Form which allows the employer to give feedback on the student's attendance, punctuality, personal presentation, overall performance and whether the structure of the placement was suitable for their operation. This provides a useful reference in the event of another employer being approached for paid employment. The third month of the placement acts as a period of skill consolidation or allows time for an alternative employer to be found. If however, paid employment is available, and is offered, Phoenix staff will undertake a review of benefits to ensure maximising income generation and will request a package of hours to suit the outcome of the benefit review. Disability Awareness Training will be offered to the employer and key members of staff to ensure staff have a good understanding of the student's needs. After an initial settling in period, support will gradually diminish and Phoenix will adopt a monitoring role, in the background but available to both employer and student for any assistance should the need arise.