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Adopting the Vermont Progressive Employment Model: Informational Session on the VR-RRTC Demand Side Strategies Study and Learning Collaborative.

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Presentation on theme: "Adopting the Vermont Progressive Employment Model: Informational Session on the VR-RRTC Demand Side Strategies Study and Learning Collaborative."— Presentation transcript:

1 Adopting the Vermont Progressive Employment Model: Informational Session on the VR-RRTC Demand Side Strategies Study and Learning Collaborative

2 Introduction Progressive Employment is a strategy for populations who have –Little or no work history –Long case histories –Low skill levels –Corrections involvement –Other barriers to employment

3 What Progressive Employment Does Builds momentum Addresses fears –Employer fears –Candidate fears Increases skills and confidence Removes labels Offers flexibility to meet employers and candidates where theyre at

4 What Progressive Employment Is A continuum of placement options geared to the skills and interests of the individual and the level of engagement negotiated with the business A method to evaluate existing work skills, reduce fear and identify training, support or accommodation needs

5 What it is... A way to develop interpersonal and customer service skills An opportunity for individuals to explore possible careers in short-term placements

6 What it is … A way to introduce a candidate to a prospective employer, especially for those individuals who struggle to get their foot in the door A tool to build skills, add recent work experience to a resume ʹ and develop professional references

7 Progressive Options Practice Interview Company tour Job shadow Short-term work experience/internship On-the-job training Temp-to-hire

8 Key Principles Eliminates the construct of candidates needing to be job ready Everyone is ready for something! –Creates employment-related opportunities no matter the readiness level –Employment activities may begin immediately –Progress is at an individualized pace

9 Key principles (cont.) Small success leads to further success –Person can overcome fear –Allows incremental skill building –Activities can be planned to reduce perceived risk Allows the employer to get to know the candidate as a person and as a worker prior to making a hiring decision

10 Key principles (cont.) Provides flexibility and creativity based on the needs of the job seeker or the employer –Employer may not be currently hiring –Job seeker may want to explore the company or type of job –Employer feedback is GOLD

11 Key principles (cont.) Low risk! –The employer is not required to hire the individual at the end of the placement –The individual is not committing to that particular job Fear is a powerful force! –Employer resistance –Candidate resistance/lack of progress

12 Key principles (cont.) Negotiated by employment staff directly with the employer Written agreement as to the purpose of the training and expectations for skill development or experience

13 Key principles (cont.) Provides a way for employment staff tooffer a variety of options for an employer rather than ask for consideration of their customers for open positions Is proven to increase employers understanding of disabilities

14 What Progressive Employment Is Not A promise of employment Providing a wage (unless the employer places the person on their payroll through an On-the-Job training option)

15 What it is not … A full time placement – generally the candidate does not participate in excess of 25 hours per week The only option – those who have skills and experience are placed directly into competitive employment whenever possible

16 What it is not... Long-term subsidized employment orwarehousing – generally work placements dont last longer than 8 weeks A violation of the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) because:

17 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Training similar to vocational school or educational instruction Training is for the benefit of the trainees (not the employers) Trainees do not replace regular employees but work under close supervision

18 Fair Labor Standards Act Employer derives no benefit and in some cases it may actually impede operations Trainees are not necessarily entitled to a job at the end of training period Employer and employee know that trainees are not entitled to wages for the time in training

19 What if the placement doesnt work out? It is not a failure – the person still gains valuable experience and skill building Provides information about what the person doesnt want in terms of the job or the company culture Any placement, even if short-term, may be used as experience on a resume ʹ

20 Vermont data FFY 2012 Rehab rate for closed PE participants was 80% For those participants who were closed successfully: –Over half (58%) were hired by the PE employer (66% for transition youth) –80% entered VR with no earnings

21 Vermont data FFY 2012 (cont.) Hours per week for successful closures: –30+ hours per week: 42% –10-29 hours per week: 39% –Less than 10 hours per week: 19% PE type breakout: –Work experience: 88% –OJT: 8% –Other (job shadow, company tour): 4% –Average length: 6 weeks

22 Employer Feedback Before your engagement in the Progressive Employment program, did your company have a way to actively recruit candidates with disabilities?

23 Employer Feedback (cont.) As a result of participating in Progressive Employment, do you have a better understanding of how to recruit and hire candidates with disabilities?

24 Employer Feedback (cont.) Do you have a better understanding of how to accommodate workers with disabilities?

25 Employer Feedback (cont.) Overall, how satisfied are you with the Progressive Employment program?

26 Examples of Progressive Employment Placements

27 Tom H.S. graduate, 19 years old No work experience Employment consultant set up a work experience for Tom at a coffee production company to do warehouse and production work

28 Tom Day 1 – employment consultant met Tom and his mother in the parking lot of the company Tom refused to get out of his mothers car Despite efforts by mom and employment consultant, Tom refused to talk and slammed the car door shut

29 Tom Employment Consultant (EC) explained the situation to the employer, who was understanding and was willing to postpone Tom agreed to get into the ECs car to talk

30 Tom EC explained –exactly what would happen when he walked in the door; –used positive reinforcement; –explained how to break down the experience into smaller, less overwhelming steps

31 Tom EC said, Youve made it to the parking lot today. Tomorrow lets make it inside. Tom agreed to a 15 minute visit the next day and an hour visit the day after. He could then decide how he felt about continuing Day 2: Tom went into the business and ended up staying an hour as his anxiety dissipated

32 Tom today: Tom is going to the work site independently now and the EC does minimal check-ins He is learning hard and soft skills and gaining tremendous self-confidence

33 Tom This example demonstrates: –Overcoming fear –Results despite lack of work experience –The ability to start the participant at a very elementary level

34 Mary Previously employed in data analysis and reporting Unemployed for several years and felt skills were out of date Lacked confidence to get back into the workforce

35 Mary Part of a self-sufficiency program within a state-run housing authority Case Manager from housing authority, Employment Consultant, the VR Counselor and Mary formed a team

36 Mary Identified United Way as a possible work site Prepared for an informational meeting and interview Mary met with employer who agreed to provide the work experience

37 Mary Employment Consultant helped facilitate timelines and goals Started with a 2-week trial for orientation and training Employment Consultant met with Mary and the supervisor separately to discuss progress

38 Mary The whole team met at the end of the 2- week period to map out goals, timeline and benchmarks Presented plan to employer

39 Mary Goal was to develop and demonstrate valued work skills Employer also agreed to provide contacts to potential businesses and job opportunities in the community

40 Mary today Demonstrated impressive skills to United Way through work on a research project Has begun networking phase of her work experience Attended a Chamber of Commerce mixer and made contact with potential employers

41 Mary today Her confidence has dramatically increased Received praise from United Way for her work Recommended by United Way to President of the Chamber to consult on a research project that he is initiating

42 Mary today Has recent work experience on her resume Has excellent reference Has upgraded skills Has continuing networking options

43 Mary This example demonstrates: –Use of progressive employment to enhance skills and to build a resume ʹ and references –Increasing confidence to reenter the workforce after a long absence –Use of progressive employment to network for other permanent positions

44 Karen Very little work experience Long-term TANF dependence Had depression and anxiety

45 Karen Employment Consultant arranged two separate work experiences: –At a non-profit organization –At a book store With some experience on her resume, she was hired in a seasonal job at a ski area

46 Karen After job ended, she wanted more experience to increase office skills Employment Consultant arranged another work experience at the book store She took a career readiness course

47 Karen Got re-hired at the ski area during the next ski season Felt confident enough to apply for better paying, more permanent jobs Was hired at a local dollar store and worked her way to Assistant Manager

48 Karen today Business opened a new store closer to her home She moved to the new store as head Store Manager and works full time Progression took 3 years but she is now completely off TANF and other state benefits

49 Karen This example demonstrates: –Progressive movement off TANF benefits –Work experiences before and after paid employment

50 John Middle-aged man Has an inability to interpret social cues and weak interpersonal skills Had not held a job for more than a month since the 1980s Wasnt able to get an interview anywhere

51 John John wanted to work at Price Chopper Employment consultant needed to do an assessment before she could approach Price Chopper Set up a work experience at a local non-profit thrift store doing similar tasks as he might need to do at the grocery store: stocking and organizing shelves; light cleaning tasks, etc.

52 John Also used the placement to assess soft skills: ability to keep a schedule, follow directions, and interact with customers and co-workers John was very successful, so hours were added; he went above and beyond his duties

53 John Thrift store supervisor wrote a stellar letter of recommendation Business Account Manager and Employment Consultant approached Price Chopper Price Chopper agreed to interview John for a work experience

54 John Employment Consultant went with John to the interview John was able to demonstrate his willingness and motivation, and employer agreed to the work experience Two separate work experiences were arranged:

55 John 1) Special project: clean all the data strips on the bottoms of the grocery shelves. This gave John an opportunity to learn the layout of the store, get to know the environment and co- workers Employment Consultant was present for a few shifts and slowly faded. John completed the project in 4 weeks

56 John 2) Work experience as a regular employee: bagging, fetching carts and baskets, assisting customers, and light cleaning Skills increased over time; went above and beyond his duties Road his bike 10 miles to work; demonstrated high motivation by walking to work during a blizzard (took him 4 hours).

57 John After 2 months, employer got feedback from other employees that was overwhelmingly positive Offered the employer On-the-Job training funds for the next phase, but employer declined and hired John.

58 John This example demonstrates: -Progressive employment used as assessment and to obtain letter of recommendation where there is no work history -Multi-step work experience doing different tasks

59 Questions?

60 Contact information: Susan Wells: Hugh Bradshaw:


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