The Career Connections program supports people with developmental disabilities in locating and maintaining employment or volunteer opportunities in their communities. Individuals are assisted with identifying their employment goals, employment preparation, job search, and employment coaching.In 2019, Career Connections served 167 individuals with disabilities. This includes 46 Individuals who received new employment, 13,000 volunteer hours in the community, and 22 who graduated from the program.
ELIGIBILITY MEETINGThe Career Connections program accepts applications for admission throughout the year. Once an application is received, the Intake Specialist will schedule an eligibility meeting with the individual and guardian (if applicable). The Intake Specialist will review the application with the applicant and discuss employment history, career goals, and program suitability. At this time, the Intake Specialist will outline the types of career development, employment or volunteer support offered though the Career Connections program. Further information may be requested to verify that the applicant meets the eligibility criteria. This may include:
SKILLS ASSESMENTSAll eligible Individuals must participate in a skills assessment. Employment skills and abilities will be assessed during hands on activities in a work or volunteer setting. This assessment will determine program suitability, identify how Career Connections can best provide support, and identify areas where additional supports may be required.
CAREER DISCOVERYGoodwill will ensure that all persons served through Career Connections receive a comprehensive orientation to the agency and its services. A Community Employment navigator, Employment Coach or Career and Skill Development Specialist will meet with the Individual to complete four (4) Career Discovery workshops to assist with mapping out a career path. During Career Discovery, an Interest Inventory will be completed to explore deeper into the Individual’s employment interests and abilities.
PERSON CENTERED PLAN (PCP) AND INDIVIDUAL SUPPORT PLAN (ISP) MEETINGOnce Career Discovery has been completed, the Community Employment navigator will book a Person-Centered Plan (PCP) and Individual Support Plan (ISP) meeting with the Individual and the Job Development Specialist. A PCP is created with specific employment or volunteer goals with the Community Employment Navigator. An ISP will then be submitted to Disability Services which details the goals, specific measurable objectives, and who will be responsible for the implementation. PCP meetings will be held every six (6) months and ISPs will be completed yearly at the annual meetings.
EMPLOYMENT PREPARATIONIndividuals can register and attend Career Development Centre workshops to develop workplace readiness through practical skill building workshops. Workshops are intended to help Individuals build a strong understanding of workplace expectations, interviewing, rights and responsibilities and workplace etiquette with a focus on building skills in order to be employment ready. Monthly workshop schedules will be provided for Individuals to register with the Community Employment Navigator.
JOB DEVELOPMENT (CUSTOMIZED EMPLOYMENT)Job Development Specialists will meet with Individuals at various meetings to discuss their career goals outlined in the PCP and ISP. Job Development Specialists develop relationships with potential employers to create volunteer, work experience, and employment opportunities. Career Connections focuses on matching Individual abilities to the specific needs of the employers.
EMPLOYMENT AND/OR VOLUNTEER SUPPORTS
Employment CoachingOnce a position is obtained, employment coaching supports are determined to help the Individual be successful at the new placement. Employment Coaching includes:
Fading of SupportsAll individuals working towards independence will work with their Community Employment Navigator and Employer on creating a fading plan to gradually decrease employment coaching over time.
IndependenceOnce Independence is established and employment coaching is no longer needed, regular check-ins with the Individual and the employer will be completed by the Community Employment Navigator.
GRADUATION/END OF SERVICEGraduation will occur when the Individual has been successfully independent at their placement and no longer requires Goodwill supports. A meeting will be held where a graduation letter and report will be reviewed to outline services provided and information for readmission to the program. A copy of the Individual’s resume will be updated and provided.
INDIVIDUALThe Individual will collaborate in all levels of employment/volunteer support, as per Goodwill processes, including participating in any planning, job search, PCP, ISP, etc. in a positive and professional manner.
INTAKE SPECIALISTThe Intake Specialist provides information about Career Connections to various stakeholders (applicants/persons with disabilities, employers, Disability Services, service providers, members of the public). The Intake Specialist also ensures incoming Individuals meet Career Connections’ eligibility criteria.
COMMUNITY EMPLOYMENT NAVIGATOR (CEN)Community Employment Navigators provide individualized case management and coaching, and are responsible for file maintenance including acting as a liaison between individuals, employers, and their support network to ensure success and independence for the Individual in the workplace.
COMMUNITY RELATIONS & EMPLOYMENT COORDINATOR (CREC)The Community Relations & Employment Coordinator provides individualized case management to adults with disabilities that are looking to obtain or maintain employment or volunteer in the community. The Community Relations & Employment Coordinator is responsible for file maintenance including acting as a liaison between individuals, employers, and their support network to ensure success for the individual. They will also act as a Goodwill ambassador within the community and may involve opportunities for the Career Connections and Donated Goods & Retail teams.
EMPLOYMENT COACHESThe Employment Coaches play a critical role in providing training and coaching for people with disabilities whose goal is to become as independent as possible in their community jobs and/or volunteer positions. The Employment Coaches support individuals so they can progress and learn how to perform their jobs accurately, efficiently, safely and successfully.
JOB DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST (JDS)Job Development Specialists actively develop new employment and volunteer sites for Individuals seeking employment opportunities.
CAREER AND SKILL DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST (CSDS)The Career and Skill Development Specialist actively develops and presents workshops to Individuals seeking employment and volunteer work, helping to prepare Individuals for a successful career.
MANAGERS – PROGRAM DELIVERY/QUALITY ASSURANCEThe Manager of Program Delivery is responsible for the management, supervision, and coordination of Career Connections team members. The Manager of Quality Assurance is responsible for the continuous improvement, evaluation, reporting, and integrity of the Career Connections program.
VICE PRESIDENT OF CAREER CONNECTIONSThe Vice President of Career Connections is accountable for providing strategic guidance, leadership, and mentorship to the team by acting as a senior advisor providing strategic guidance and advocacy for all mission related programs, activities, and events.