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Oct 02

Cultivating an Income through Customized Employment

Dwayne Ross provides training and information for Human Service Agencies, Youth Development and Online Marketing info product reviews and suggestions.

So what do you do when the person has a disability that is far beyond what others may think is “employable?” Carve, Customize or Create! Simple enough right? Well today some staff were wondering if this is really possible and if so will they gain the support they need from their Executives and Directors to make such a statement work.

As a Director I want to believe the answer to that is Yes! they will get the support but the reality is how are you going to make sure they are clear about your objectives. One attendee spoke of how the organization has put so many resources towards helping someone create a job, that they are willing to abort the mission… It has become a “Mission Impossible” but I encouraged them to stay the course and think of the Individual first.  I also shared a few steps that might work towards making sure they give the person the best possibility for success in securing income, instead of looking to fill a job.

One thing that I suggested is to gain the buy in when those in power do not understand or support what you plan to do. In many cases it is very difficult to see things the same ways as others may see them, especially when you are going against the grain. When you are going the opposite way of the crowd. I gained success as an Employment Specialist through doing the things that others talked about or did not do! Winning awards were not my goal but it happened as w result of making life better for those whom I supported. I dedicated my life to making their life better. I can recall sharing my personal mission statement, which helped me stay focused and challenged me to do new things, in an unorthodox way. It was risky but it worked! So how do you cultivate an Income any way? What does that even mean? Glad you asked.

Most of us think of plants when we say cultivate, however another supportive definition is to: Foster relationship; to improve by labor, care or study. Improve by labor… work it out of the soil… break it up and get the growth to increase. When we cultivate Customized employment we must first make sure those who we approach have a mindset to understand exactly how you plan to support the growth of the person you plan to bring into the work environment. It is also important to work with the Individual to make sure he/she are on board and want to improve. So what is Customized Employment?

The US Department of Labor puts it this way;  Customized employment means individualizing the employment relationship between employees and employers in ways that meet the needs of both. It is based on an individualized determination of the strengths, needs, and interests of the person with a disability, and is also designed to meet the specific needs of the employer.

It may include employment developed through job carving, self-employment or entrepreneurial initiatives, or other job development or restructuring strategies that result in job responsibilities being customized and individually negotiated to fit the needs of individuals with a disability.

Customized employment assumes the provision of reasonable accommodations and supports necessary for the individual to perform the functions of a job that is individually negotiated and developed…” 

If you have spent time fostering the relationship you will discover what the person’s interest are; but interest alone won’t work. You can have an interest in anything but having the skill to accomplish it is a very different thing. As a case manager you may be told to focus on the person’s likes, dislikes and interest which are all good places to begin unless the person is unable to do the task associated with the thing they like the most. As a practitioner we must discover more about this person so that he/she will put the most significant and capable foot forward. Exploring Customized Employment is a wonderful journey of discovery for many… it may seem a little bit juvenile in a sense but that’s okay.

The 4 steps to Customized Employment are simple:

1. Discovery: Cultivate and expose the talents, skills and abilities of the person.

2. Create a Plan: Job, work or business… develop a comprehensive Job Search (O-net)

3. Negotiate with the employer: Design and support the most effective Job Match

4. Support, support  and support more: Expose the benefits to the employer and be there!

To learn more about Customized Employment you can e-mail, send me a tweet or message me on Face book. In the mean time go here to get more information!

Have a great day!

Another resource for all employment is Discovery…     Go here to get it!

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