Just what is The Arc of Delaware County’s ‘Employment and Transition Services’? We set out on a quest to answer that question for you and discovered that it can be different things to different people. The powerhouse team of two staff currently support about 20 people through Employment and Transition Services. They do this both helping people become competitively employed within the community and increase skills while on the job, and also by supporting high school students decide what’s next for them as they prepare to transition in to adult life.
When asked about the transition piece of what their program does, Employment and Transition Director, Dakota Gray, shared “Transition is a service we provide to students in high school. We support students to ultimately decide what’s next as they ‘transition’ into life after school. We explore many areas with the students to help them have a better understanding of what options they have once they graduate. In the past we have supported students with job shadows at auto body shops, auto repair shops, and janitorial at the school and outside the school, among others. We have supported students with learning things like budgeting, applying to college, basic math skills, hygiene skills, how to do laundry, and social skills. Currently we only support two students at Sidney but we hope to open up to more schools once we are able too.”
Once you have transitioned in to adulthood, other doors open up for you to help provide employment supports (Supported Employment Program, Pathways to Employment, etc.). No matter which ‘service’ you receive, they share a similar objective of supporting people to being gainfully employed within the community. The individual supports provided by the Career Coaches will look different for every person. One person might seek help identify what kind of work they want to do and applying for jobs, while another might require you to work side by side to help learn a new job or increase independence on the job, and someone else might want support learning about workplace culture and how to take direction from supervisors.
Below are a couple examples Dakota shared of how different employment supports can look.
“We support a person who works at the dollar store in Stamford. She is very independent and is one of the most reliable staff at the store according to her manager, Floyd. We usually go out every week to every other week to check in and make sure everything is going well and that she is still making progress with her goals.”
“We also support someone who works at the Sidney head start in the kitchen as a cook. She struggled in the beginning of COVID mainly due to her job going to remote and needing to participate in virtual meetings and training. She does not like change whatsoever and was very anxious about the change and use of new technology. We spent a couple times a week with her practicing logging into zoom meetings and training. It took her a few tries along with a few choice words to become comfortable with the technology, but she was able to gain the confidence and skills needed to successfully log into the meetings. As much as she hates new things and technology, to her surprise she found she really enjoyed now being able to Facetime people she works with and friends outside of work.”
Here are a couple videos captured last fall as part of a recruitment campaign of interviews with Employment and Transition Services staff and Tom, who works at Tops in Stamford.