Leveling the playing field for the developmentally disabled job seeker sometimes involves securing a job coach. Job coaches help their clients train for and maintain suitable job positions. Along with human services or health care experience, job coaches also need foresight, strong work ethic and solid communication skills.
Assess the abilities and attitudes of your clients. Identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your clients can help you focus your job searches. Consult with the referring agency’s notes about each client’s medical and social background. Administer written and hands-on tests to measure cognitive abilities. Ask your clients about their hobbies and professional interests. Review background information regarding past job experience. Never adopt a one size fits all approach.
Present your clients with realistic job opportunities. There is a fine line between providing encouragement and instilling false hope. Forgetting this as a job coach can lead to undue frustration. Keep the abilities and attitudes of each client in mind when making recommendations. Your credibility with your clients, referring agencies and job sites is at stake.
Maintain a reasonable schedule. Provide each client with targeted attention to maximize learning productivity and chances of job success. Taking on too many clients or just a few clients with severe disabilities can reduce your effectiveness. Alert your supervisor if your workload becomes overwhelming. Stressed out job coaches hinder the developmentally disabled from reaching their goals.
Provide support throughout the job search. Job coaches exist to ensure that the developmentally disabled are better able to compete in the job market. Allow clients to vent frustrations about their job search difficulties. Reassure your clients when job-related concepts seem impossible to grasp. Encourage your clients to persevere when they face adversity after landing jobs.
Build solid relationships with area businesses. Connect with places that offer constructive atmospheres, useful skills and socialization. Explain how supporting your mission is good for your clients and the community at large. Suitable sites may include restaurants, museums and bookstores. Manufacturing jobs that feature simple, repetitive tasks also may prove useful. Gaining the support of local politicians can give your cause a boost.
Mika Lo has been producing online content since 2005. The majority of her work has been published in areas such as parenting, lifestyle and health. Lo has also assisted with the development of community and hospital-based patient education programs, including creative discharge classes for new mothers and assisting underprivileged patients with medication assistance and information.