Community Work Opportunities provides strategies for individuals dreaming of owning a microbusiness that generates personal income. We offer assistance in making dreams come true, by helping individuals with disabilities build a plan to achieve an income, determine what supports are needed , how they will be executed and by whom.
Our supported employment program emphasizes the potential of the persons we serve to work, live and participate in integrated community settings. We offer interactive activities that develop a readiness for employment: volunteer community sites, job development, job coaching, job retention specialist, a job club offering job training classes with emphasizes on not only getting a job, but keeping the job. Training includes:
- Employment goals
- Interviewing exercises
- Job application skills
- Job seeking skills
- Group discussions
- Focused strategies in preparing for, obtaining and maintaining employment.
Moving from Skill Building to Supported Employment activities occurs when the person expresses an interest or when staff feels that someone might be ready or interested. As mentioned above, CWO works with each individual to design and blend services to meet her or him at the skill level and level of desire that they have at any given moment.
Job Development: Assisting the person in obtaining community employment. Activities include resume writing, job hunting, application/interview process, and follow along services.
CWO’s job development specialists meet with individuals to identify areas of a person’s interest and abilities and then work to match the person’s interest and abilities with employment opportunities.
Individuals receive assistance with interviews and the application process. Staff can help coordinate employment schedules and transportation, provide on the job training and support, and assist with coordination of benefits.
In addition, CWO’s job development specialists have developed close relationships with the local chambers of commerce and merchant associations and continually work to identify potential employers and promote competitive employment opportunities for the people served through CWO’s employment services.
CWO’s job development specialists can assess specific job sites and/or positions to assist with a person’s placement. CWO has had particular success in creating specialized community carve-out positions for our customers, whereby a portion or sub-set of duties of a position that an employer may have available is carved-out based on the skill set of the person served so that he or she can successfully learn and complete a smaller portion of the position. This creates a win-win situation for both the employer and employee.
Another unique feature of CWO’s employment services is the CWO Jobs Club, a meeting held every two weeks where members meet to discuss their experiences in applying and/or interviewing, the jobs they have or may want to pursue, problems, issues, concerns, and serves as a peer-to-peer support group. All supported employment customers whether new to the program or who have been successfully employed for some time are encouraged to attend Job Club meetings to maintain connections with each other and share their successes and experiences with newer individuals. In addition, all customers are invited to the various parties, dances and events organized by CWO customers and staff, which are well attended and much appreciated.
Job Coaching: Assisting a person in maintaining employment with a third party vendor, e.g., restaurant, garage, lawn service, janitorial, grocery store, as individualized employment, enclave and/or part of a mobile crew.
CWO’s job coaching includes activities that assist a person in learning a new job, or maintaining good performance in a current job. These activities include direct supervision of the individual during his/her working shift, assistance with prioritizing and performing assigned duties, and helping to facilitate positive interaction between the individual and his/her co-workers.
CWO’s follow along services involve continual support of the individual and the employer. Activities that pertain to follow along services include providing monthly monitoring of the individual’s performance on the job site, assisting with problem solving if difficulties arise, and helping the individual learn a new job in the event that job assignments change.
CWO is a current vendor with two MRS offices in Wayne County and has had a positive working relationship with local MRS offices for almost 10 years. CWO’s job development specialists are contracted to perform Job Ready Assessments, Job Development, Job Placement, and Job Coaching. Through this relationship with MRS, CWO has had success in obtaining vouchers for items ranging from uniforms, adaptive equipment, safety equipment, and sign-language interpretation for employee on-the-job training sessions.
Micro-Enterprise: A small micro-business that generates income for the owner(s). The business may sell products or services to retail consumers or other businesses. The person is supported by Community Work Opportunities employees assisting with tasks necessary to run the business, i.e.: assisting with business plan, marketing, inventory, book-keeping, and performing other necessary duties to keep the business afloat.
In addition to paid competitive employment, CWO currently has helped 30 individuals create, manage and run twelve unique micro-businesses.
Whether a person desires skill building activities in the community or on-site; supported employment services; help with a micro business; or some combination of each; CWO works well to meet each person’s individualized goals and objectives.