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In 2012 New Jersey became one of a small but growing number of states to identify themselves as an Employment First states. Employment First is an approach that considers integrated, community-based employment as the first priority and preferred outcome for people with disabilities.

The world of employment is wide and constantly on the move. Everyone can find their place amongst the ranks of the employed. Whether you yourself as a student or your child who is a student is looking towards the future and hoping for employment, there are some initial preparation steps that can be taken to broaden the range of opportunities.

The first steps to a successful career are building a set of transferable skills and learning to interact professionally with employers and colleagues. A great way to begin this process while still in high school is to get involved in internship work in the local community. Internships can be used as a training ground for future employment. These experiences will also look good on a resume and will make students’ strengths and acquired skills stand out to a prospective employer.

Community Based Vocational Assessments (CBVA)

  • Provides the opportunity to observe the student’s
    skills, abilities, strengths, preferences, challenges,
    support needs, etc. and can be particularly helpful in
    identifying these areas with student’s who have
    limited or no work experience or do not communicate
  • CBVA is vital in directing appropriate employment
    goals related to performance level and provides a
    more person‐centered experience while the student is
    still in school.
  • Supported Employment (Individual/Group)

    There are community agencies that provide the following:

  • Perform job assessment that include: sampling,
    shadowing, exploration, job preparation
  • Job Development: applications, interviews, appropriate
    job match, etc
  • Job Coaching: onsite and offsite job task training and
    coaching assistance
  • Long‐term Follow Along: follow up assistance onsite or
    offsite until services are no longer needed
  • Many agencies located state‐wide, usually referred by the
    Division Vocational Rehabilitation Services.
  • Keys To Success In Finding Employment

  • Person Centered Planning
  • Starting Early
  • Experiencing paid work while still in school
  • Community based experiences
  • Using all available resources
  • Support (family, school, community‐based, natural supports, supported employment, etc.)
  • Advocacy
  • Maintaining Expectations