Vocational assessment services at VAC provide an individualized, timely, and systematic process to help a person seeking employment identify viable vocational options. This service focuses on identifying interests, aptitudes, work skills and habits, vocational potential, goals and the services necessary to obtain these goals. Good job matches have been shown to directly impact success in the working world. Vocational assessments are the key to understanding and planning for the future.
The assessment process at VAC focuses on administering standardized tests, that provide the opportunity to investigate vocational options. The assessment also identifies the person's functional strengths and needs stresses abilities as well as strategies to overcome limitations to enhance independence. We recognize that this model does not fit the needs of everyone and offer situational assessments as well. We partner with local community employers to conduct these assessments, which provide an opportunity to gather information in a real-world setting.
A written report is generated by VAC's Vocational Evaluator at the conclusion of the assessment and the next steps in the process of finding employment are discussed. This critical piece of the puzzle forms the building blocks needed for a successful path towards realizing true potential.
This service is typically offered at VAC's Watertown location, but as with all of VAC's community placement programs, mobile services may be utilized when available.
VAC’s Job Placement Program is designed to provide job seekers with the tools they need to succeed in their effort to gain meaningful employment. VAC has a long history of providing this service and strives to improve and expand the program each year. Our success is due to our understanding of the support necessary to help our job seekers find a good job match.
People with disabilities are valuable resources for our economy, yet their skills and potential are often underused or ignored. VAC is working to reverse these trends and insure that all people have the opportunity to realize the dignity of employment. Because each person’s strengths, challenges, and goals are unique, successful placement is built upon personal attention. Services are delivered through weekly career counseling meetings at our Watertown office or other community location.
VAC's Job Developers work one-on-one to develop and help carry out a vocational plan that is directed by the person's interests and abilities. Looking for work can be tedious and scary but having a supportive Job Developer by your side helps eliminate these fears. They also actively market to local businesses, belong to various networking groups dedicated to expanding employment options for people with disabilities, and are familiar with hiring practices in the area.
VAC recognizes that a key to long-term success is proactive job coaching support. This support can include extra training with job duties or tasks, coaching on specific work behaviors, employer mediation, helping to build positive relationships, identifying limitations and tools to help overcome them, travel training to the worksite, as well as other supports customized to meet the demands of the situation.
The Job coaching services may also be utilized to help a person with career advancement or a plan to continue to make strides in a career path. These services often happen at the worksite, but coaching appointments are also done at VAC's Watertown office or other community locations.
Group Supported Employment is another one of our service models that is community-driven and provides Consumers with the opportunity to gain skills, confidence, and exposure to new experiences at various businesses, while receiving job coaching support. The goal or intent of the program is that Consumers will gain the valuable resources needed to fulfill vocational aspirations or dreams, leading to becoming more independent in all aspects of their lives.
Each Consumer served in this program has completed an annual vocational assessment to determine their interests, abilities, strengths, areas for growth, and supports needed to thrive in the employment of their choice. These involve interest inventories, skills analysis, and career planning in conjunction with ISP goals and input for any stakeholders (family members, guardians, service coordinators).
VAC has a long history of providing this service and has developed several community partners since its inception in 1986. The overall goal of the program is to offer opportunities for meaningful employment that leads to an expansion of skills, with the eventual goal of advancement to individual competitive employment. The focus is to provide Consumers with a highly supported and supervised environment that occurs in a community setting. The typical size of the group varies by site but is between 2-5 Consumers per staff member or Job Coach. This past year, our sites have included positions within the foodservice industry, customer service at a cafe, collating packets at a printing company, landscaping at a golf course, and holiday donation collection for Salvation Army. VAC has a commitment to continuing to expand these opportunities to best represent those we serve.
VAC's Meaningful Day Supports program has been designed to offer a multitude of supports to assist our participants in reaching their optimum level of fulfillment in their lives while providing a structured, supportive environment. The goal of the program is to provide opportunities for growth and advancement while gaining increased access to the local community.
On a typical day, three to six activities are offered with the intention of providing daily choices that coincide with the group’s interests. These activities or groups are designed to enhance independent living skills based on the person's goals for growth. They often involve developing or enhancing social skills, problem-solving management, money management, navigating the public transportation system, and accessing and utilizing resources in the community. Examples of community outings that have been offered during the past year include trips to the Museum of Science, Fenway Park, local farms, Boston Aquarium, the JFK Museum, Watertown Fire House, Stone & Franklin Park Zoo, Honey Pot Hill farm, Watertown Library, a meet and greet with Pedro Martinez , bowling, movies, the MFA, amongst with others.