Adult Career Services

Our Adult Career Services are customized programs for individuals with disabilities and those who may benefit from community-based work experiences. We contract with state and local health, human service, and vocational agencies.

What Services Do We Offer?
How Do Our Programs Work?
Remote Services

What Services Do We Offer?

Career Planning

The first step toward meaningful employment is the Career Plan, created jointly by the consumer, whatever family and friends are appropriate, plus Independence Works’ Career Resource Specialist. Together they collect information and ideas about the consumer, the consumer’s interests and skills, and the consumer’s goals. A Career Resource Specialist meets with the consumer in a series of one-on-one meetings to gather similar information, including results from aptitude and interest questionnaires. The goal is to develop a Vocational Profile, leading to creation of a unique, detailed Career Plan.

Vinnie’s Story: Vinnie was having trouble keeping a job. His lack of exposure to work environments restricted his idea of a job to cleaning, maintenance, or other manual labor. His greatest satisfaction was his paycheck. Independence Works suggested involving Vinnie and his family in a search for career paths he might enjoy. Together they created a Career Plan. Vinnie now works at a local gym, where his responsibilities are more satisfying than his paycheck.

Work Assessment/Career Explorations

How can you know what job you want if you’ve never been exposed to a wide range of workplaces? Independence Works arranges job shadowing, workplace tours, volunteer positions, and career exploration to help consumers decide whether a particular field is appropriate to their needs and skills. Independence Works’ partner/employers and staff work with consumers to expand knowledge of the world of work.

Gloria’s Story: Gloria said she wanted to work in an office, possibly as a data analyst, but she had never been exposed to the day-to-day reality of the position. Independence Works arranged for Gloria spent time at two different Independence Works partner/businesses; she has since been hired as a data analyst at a local staffing office.

Job Development

In addition to helping with skills needed to land a job—resume writing, completing job applications, and learning how to interview — Independence Works assists consumers find jobs that match their skills and goals. Independence Works also works to create positions for consumers.

David’s Story: David’s goal was to work in a library. Along with a Independence Works staff person (CRS), David created a plan, which started with a search for a library that would take him on as a volunteer. As David proved his commitment and skills at the school library where he volunteered, he was able to take on more tasks. He and his CRS next produced an Employment Plan, which was, in fact, a proposal for a paid position. The school board approved the position, and David’s dream of working in a library was realized.

Job Training

Specialized training through Independence Works enables consumers to fit into the work world. It also helps partner/employers to fill positions with dedicated, hard-working employees who contribute to the bottom line and achieve long-term personal and professional success. One of Independence Works’ goals is to train the employer to train the consumer.

Mary’s Story: Mary wanted to be as independent as possible at work, but that would require training, both for Mary and for her co-workers (her “natural supports”). Mary and her Independence Works CRS first located an employer willing to commit to Mary’s goal. Mary’s CRS trained the co-workers on Mary’s needs, and spent two months of intensive training with Mary herself. The training enabled Mary to work independently. Instead of making contact daily, her CRS checked with the employer every week to monitor progress.

Transition – Group Work to Individual Jobs

Sometimes new consumers do best developing workplace skills at one of Independence Works’ several group work programs, including office work and lawn care. Consumers working on these jobs are monitored constantly. When job skills and goals become clearer, consumers often ask to switch to new responsibilities in jobs that are “naturally” supported.

Joe’s Story: After four years working for Seacoast Recycling Enterprises, a business created by Independence Works to serve three of its consumers, Joe was ready for a new job. He wanted to work in a restaurant. A Independence Works Career Resource Specialist helped Joe arrange an interview at a restaurant near his home, then Joe teamed up with his CRS to follow up. Joe landed the job and is a valued employee.

Community Skill Development

Independence Works helps consumers to interact with their communities, starting on the job, which is a centerpiece of community access. Socializing begins as consumers learn how to tap into their co-workers for guidance and advice. Outside the workplace, Independence Works will introduce consumers to critical community resources, including banks, libraries, and public transportation. Independence Works will help consumers learn how to use the local library, and seek out bank tellers willing to provide extra-patient assistance. The ability to move about the community is critical to a sense of independence; Independence Works trains its consumers to use whatever transportation services are available in a safe manner.

Fred’s Story: Fred enjoyed his job at a local supermarket, but his family was no longer able to bring him to work. A city bus stopped right outside the store, but Fred had never ridden the bus and was worried about getting off at the wrong stop. Fred’s CRS taught him to use the bus, and also worked with the bus company to ensure that drivers knew when Fred would be a passenger. Fred’s new-found independence enabled him to ride the bus throughout the city.

How Do Our Programs Work?

Starting Out

When consumers choose Independence Works’ multi-faceted, career placement program, they select a partner that believes in:

  • Choice
  • Quality matching of worker and job
  • Support systems on and off the job
  • Building and nurturing relationships among all participants, from employer to consumer

Employment Preparation

Consumers link up with direct support professionals—Career Resource Specialists (CRS)—who lay the groundwork for successful employment. Together, consumers and the Independence Works team create a customized program that will capitalize on the consumer’s existing skills and develop new ones. The program components may be selected from a menu of services that may include resume writing, completing job applications, learning how to interview, job shadows, work assessments, and others. The goal of this segment is to help the individual prepare for the world of work.

Securing Employment

The next critical step is job-matching, finding a job that is well-suited to the consumer. The consumer has learned about what it means to work, how to interview for a job, the responsibilities of holding a job, and how to interact with fellow workers. The ultimate goal of all Independence Works programs is successful employment for consumers and we often do this through teamwork. Usually the consumer’s primary CRS works with their CRS team to review the consumer’s strengths and job goal so as to best match them to positions offered by our partner/employers. The CRS will ensure that the employer, supervisors, and co-workers are trained to tune into the consumer’s unique needs, providing the all-important “natural” supports on the job.

On the Job

Once the consumer is on the job, Independence Works and the employer coordinate whatever supervision and support are necessary. Some consumers require daily supervision; others less frequent attention. The Independence Works CRS team is cross-trained and is prepared to continue daily monitoring when either a CRS is ill, on vacation, or if a position becomes vacant. Progress is monitored in a number of ways:

  • Work Activity Logs, to track daily activities
  • Progress Notes, to track objectives for success on a weekly basis
  • Progress Reports, to document joint progress toward the consumer’s main program goal

Work is just part of a well-rounded day. Often Independence Works will help consumers complement their employment with volunteer activities, at local SPCAs, hospitals, and community service organization.

The Rewards

The end results of a successful program are significant:

  • A sense of accomplishment for a job well done
  • Being on a career path
  • A valuable contribution to society, because work is a respected activity
  • A paycheck
  • Opportunities to socialize with co-workers
  • The independence that comes with self-reliance
  • Connections with the community at large
  • Personal satisfaction