The Department of Program Services
The Department of Programs and Services works with individuals with disabilities in many different capacities in the community. The programs and services that are offered center around preparing individuals through a rehabilitative process to become trained, prepared, and productive in the working world.
Community Employment Services (CES)
The program provides one-on-one work-skills assessments, job search support, job placement, on-the job training, job coaching and follow-up services in community workplaces. This program serves individuals who want to pursue competitive, integrated community employment. Job coach involvement gradually fades as the individual learns the position and both the employer and individual are satisfied with job performance.
The goals of this program include assessing an individual’s employment ambitions, skills and abilities. Our person-centered employment plans are heavily weighed on strength and desire rather than weaknesses. Additional goals include placing individuals in competitive integrated jobs, provide support to ensure each job is maintained and the placement is successful, offer on-the-job training to employees and employers as needed. Supported Employment is a service that is provided to those individuals with more significant disabilities. During the process an Employment Specialist/Job Coach will be more involved on the day-to-day process of an individual providing job coaching that lasts longer than the normal community employment.
A vocational evaluation is a service that is designed to assist in the exploration of an individual’s career interests, determine aptitudes and skills, and ultimately develop a path for career plans. A vocational Evaluation is an individualized, systematic process by which a person seeking employment learns to develop and identify employment goals. The Vocational Evaluation is done by conducting work as the focal point for the assessment. In addition, the assessment incorporates medical, psychological, social, cultural, and economic information to assist individuals in developing their vocational pursuits.
Vocational evaluations help individuals who are changing careers, returning to work, or entering work for the first time to determine their best career options. Using a team approach, participants work with evaluators, counselors, and instructors to determine specific career interests and are provided testing, skills assessment, and career guidance. Evaluation services are time limited and focus on an individual’s strength’s, aptitude skills, interests, experience, and any barriers to employment.
Goals of vocational evaluation include
Identify areas of employment and/or training for which an individual is best suited
Identify any need for additional support services and locate specific providers
Develop realistic vocational goals and options for reaching these goals
Determine areas of vocational strength and areas in need of improvement
Evaluation Methods Used
Standardized Testing – uses paper and pencil tests to identify various traits and attributes of an individual
Vocational interest Screening – self report measures are used to assess an individual’s level of interest in various occupations and work fields
Situational Assessment – involves the observation, recording and interpretation of work-related behaviors while the individual is in a work setting by obtaining the input of the work instructor
Specific Instruments Used in the Evaluation Process
Learning / Working Styles Inventory
WRAT 5 Tests of Reading, Spelling, and Arithmetic
PTI – Test of Oral Directions
CITE Learning Styles Inventory
Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test
Career Scope Interest Inventory
Perdue Peg Board test of Dexterity
What are the criteria for entry:
- Must have a vocational disability which may limit employment.
- Fee sponsored
- Capable of self-care or attendant provided.
- Unemployed or underemployed.
- Voluntary agreement to participate.
Pre-employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS)
Due to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) federal funds must be set aside by vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies to provide pre-employment transition services to students with disabilities who are eligible or potentially eligible for VR services. The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services partners with Wiregrass Rehabilitation Center to work with the various schools throughout 11 counties to provide the Pre-ETS services to students.
Work Based Learning (WBL) – integrates classroom experience with real world experiences in the community through work. Individuals can do paid or unpaid work at an employment setting in the community in which they live. An employment specialist will assist a student in gaining placement for a period of 3 months to work. This experience allows students to learn what the world of work is like and allow them to explore potential vocational interests.
Driver’s Education: Permit Training – permit training is an instructional based service where students learn the rules of the road required for individuals to successfully pass the Department of Motor Vehicles exam to obtain a learner’s permit. Instructional methods are tailored to all levels of functioning and can be done in group settings. Obtaining a learner’s permit is an important part of an individual’s vocational journey. The permit is the first step to independence and allows an individual to apply for jobs using government issued identification.
Workplace Tours – workplace tours are events that occur throughout the school year. Touring a workplace allows students to learn about different industries and jobs located in their community. The value of a workplace tour is significant because it allows students to explore vocational interests through firsthand experience. Tours are done through a group setting.
Job Experience Training (JET) – the job experience training program is a work-based learning service that is available to 11th and 12th grade students during the summer. This program allows students to choose a job or industry that they have interest in and work for a period during the summer. Wiregrass Rehabilitation Center works with many companies throughout several counties to provide positions for students during the summer. Students are paid for their work and can work up to 9 weeks.
Workplace Readiness and Self-Advocacy Training – Wiregrass Rehabilitation Center offers classroom instruction teaching workplace readiness, self-advocacy, and job exploration. WRC uses a curriculum specifically designed for students with disabilities and can be taught to individual functioning levels. WRC created a curriculum, “SkillUp!” that focuses on a wide variety of topics including vocational interests, understanding soft-skills, personality types, labor market information, disclosure, rights and responsibilities, disability etiquette, goal setting, overcoming barriers, interviewing, and resume writing.