Employment Inclusion

Employment Inclusion

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), but at New Hope and other disability service providers, we celebrate employment inclusion year-round.

In 2016, New Hope began offering Vocational Services using referrals from Indiana’s Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VR). Our Vocational Services team works with dozens of individuals who are looking for assistance preparing for, finding and keeping meaningful employment. Vocational Services Team Leader, Patrick Mitchell, loves working with the people he serves. He enjoys the challenge of helping them set and achieve their goals, sometimes lofty. He says that the trick is helping to find realistic, attainable goals that have measurable and meaningful results.

Patrick’s three tips for job-seekers going through a VR program (or maybe even just any one looking for a job in today’s market) are 1.) have reasonable expectations, 2.) maintain flexibility and 3.) come into the process with an open mind.

VR sets out a series of steps that job-seekers take through programs like New Hope’s Vocational Services. First, there’s a period of time in which the job coach and the job-seeker get to know each other and work together to learn more about the job-seeker’s interests and skills. Once they’ve developed a good working relationship and come to an understanding regarding what types of jobs to seek, they move on to resume-building, practicing interviews and other preparatory activities. Through this entire process, the job coach is building relationships with employers in the community. Using those connections, the job coach will help the job-seeker secure interviews with appropriate employers. Once a match is made, they will continue working with both the job-seeker and the employer to ensure that both parties are communicating and meeting each other’s expectations.

Patrick’s three tips for employers considering hiring an individual with a disability (or who already employ people with disabilities) are 1.) offering continuity, 2.) being patient with the process and the new employee and 3.) providing on-site supports.

Employer’s who hire individuals with disabilities will likely notice a positive shift in their organizational culture. Making your work environment more inclusive makes the community more inclusive. Patrick has met some really terrific employers over the years. One of his new connections is at the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office. This summer, Patrick worked with their office to hire one of his clients and just this month, they helped him find an internship for another client. Former Marion County Prosecutor, Terry Curry, hosted New Hope’s food truck, Cheese and Thank You, a vocational program for young adults with disabilities. In a video about the partnership between New Hope and the Prosecutor’s Office, Mr. Curry said, “As an employer, please think about employing individuals with disabilities. It is a significantly under-tapped workforce that’s available here in our city.” Other great employment partners include Anthem, Urban Outfitters, Walmart, LA Fitness, Fresh Thyme, Bravo, Milliman PMR Analytics and more. Patrick has hopes to connect with more employers in the Indianapolis community including local hospitals and retailers like Costco and Kroger.

Interested in becoming an employment partner or learning more about New Hope’s Vocational Services? Contact Patrick Mitchell.

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