Developing a Career Component for Students with Developmental

Learning for a Lifetime
Developing a Career Strand for
Students with
Developmental Disabilities
Elmhurst Life Skills Academy
at Elmhurst College
Learning for a Lifetime
Kristin Boxall
ELSA Career Development Coach
[email protected]
Rob Graber, Educational and Job Coach
Objectives of this session
 Gain knowledge of the key areas of Elmhurst Life Skills
Academy (ELSA) and their importance
Identify the various components to the ELSA career strand
and learn about steps taken to develop this strand
Obtain an understanding of the various types of work
experiences in which students can participate
Identify how supportive employment, job coaching, and
mentoring can play a role in the success of various working
Learn how to implement various components of a career
program for young adults with developmental disabilities
What is Elmhurst Life Skills Academy
 Four-year college-like program
 For young adults with learning and/or developmental
Minimum third grade reading and math levels
Motivated and wanting to “go to college”
Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors
35 students--ages range from 18 to 29 years old
Pre-determined curriculum
Most students commute
Certificate of Completion at graduation
Inclusive graduation ceremony
We are in our 5th year and will have our second graduating
class May 2010!
Learning for a Lifetime
The ELSA Class of 2009!
What are the key areas of the
ELSA program?
 Academics (5 strands in curriculum)
 Social and recreational experience
 Career exploration and work experience
ELSA Key Area
Number 1
5 Academic Strands
 Literacy
 Social Issues
 Independent Living
 Math/Technology/Science
 Career
Educational Coaching
 All students have access to Educational
 Designed to assist individual students with
planning, organizing, and completing
assignments with assistance for Educational
 Coaches are Elmhurst College students
 Coaching is available 2 hours per week
 Group setting
 One-to-one assistance if needed
Freshman Coursework
 Exploration of Self and Campus
 Introduction to College Life
 Social Issues and Diversity
 Reading and Writing Strategies
 Introduction to Computers
 Life Skills and Healthy Living I
 Career Exploration and Development
 Community and Citizenship Social Issues
 Differentiating Literacy Skills
 Oral Storytelling and Mathematics
Sophomore Coursework
 Life Skills and Healthy Living II
 Career by Design
 Interpersonal and Relationship Skills
 Narrative and Expository Writing
 Concepts and Strategies of Math
 Managing Everyday Stress and Anxiety
 Careers and Community Skills
 Societal Issues/ Self Determination
 Application of Literacy Skills to Workplace
 Introduction to Biology
Junior Coursework
 Focus on Nutrition, Health and Cooking
 Career Development and Planning
 Investigation to Social Issues
 Rhetoric and Advocating
 Geography: Passport to the World
 Planning for Independence
 Career Development: Work in the Community
 Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving
 The Art of Literacy
 Advanced Computer Skills/ Financial Smarts
Senior Coursework
 Focus on Future Planning
 Career Internship I
 Service Learning Exploration
 Business Communications I
 Computers in the Workplace
 Getting Hired: Internship II
 Backpack to Briefcase
 Service Learning Capstone Project
 Portfolio Development/ Computer Skills
 Business Communications II
Elmhurst College has a January Term
 9 hours a week for 4 weeks
 Seniors work in Internships during January
 Courses for other students include
Individual Focus I
Images to Communication
Multicultural Living in Today’s Society
ELSA Key Area
Number 2
Social and Recreational Experiences
Social and Recreational Experiences
 Peer Mentor Program consisting of Elmhurst
College and ELSA students
 Committee meeting each week
 Plans social and recreational activities
 Promotes decision making, planning, and
leadership skills for ELSA students
 Students can join clubs, attend games, etc.
 Builds social network especially with typical
Elmhurst College students
ELSA Key Area Number 3
Career exploration and
work experience
Freshmen Career Courses
Introduction to
College Life (Fall)
Designed to introduce students to promote
success in college. Focus on goal setting and
motivation, learning styles, life on campus, and
strategies to learn effectively.
Career Exploration
and Development
Designed to learn about career paths and
discover more about vocational interests and
aptitudes. Topics include: career paths,
employment and the world of work.
Examples of Freshman Assignments
 Complete weekly journal entries on Blackboard
 Complete a self-directed action plan
 Become involved in Elmhurst College life by
joining a student organization or club
 Researching and reporting on career options
and opportunities
 Research various career clusters
 Start to identify pathways
Sophomore Career Courses
Career by Design
Students continue to develop various skills
necessary in learning about career paths and
vocational interests and aptitudes. Keyboarding,
general office skills, and informational interviewing
are introduced.
Career and
Community Skills
A continuation of Career by Design. Students
participate in on and off campus Job Observations.
Examples of Sophomore Assignments
Researching and reporting on career
options and opportunities
Research Employment Ads
Informational interviews
Job Observations
Written correspondence
Sophomore Work Component—Fall
Informational Interviews
 Students find someone to interview on their
 Students prepares lists of relevant questions
 Benefits of Informational Interviews
Explore careers and clarify career goals
Expand professional network
Build confidence in interviewing skills
Access to up-to-date career information
Sophomore Work Component—Spring
Job Observations
 2 job observations—one on campus, one off campus
 4 hours total, 1 hour per week for 4 weeks
 What is a job observation?
 Students observes people working in the workplace
 Students take notes and journal
 Hands-on work in some cases
 Includes an informational interview
 Student receive handbook
 Purpose of job observation
 Exposes students to a variety of jobs and careers
 Helps students learn what skills and education is needed to
do certain jobs
 Helps students make informed choices about pursuing a
certain job or career path
Junior Career Courses
Career Development &
Planning I
Continue the process of career exploration,
developing communication, writing and computer skills
necessary for employment. Students begin field
experience on campus or in the in community.
Career Development &
Planning II
Process of developing skills necessary for
employment in the community. Communication,
decision making, resume, portfolio, career interests,
and strengths.
Examples of Junior Assignments
Complete job application (paper and on-line)
Conduct informational interview
Research company of where they will be working
Mock interview
Presentation of job placement
Resume writing and building
Thank you correspondence
Junior Work Component—Field
 2 Field Experiences (Fall and Spring)
 32 hours total—4 hours per week for 8 weeks
 Placements are based on students’ career/job
 Job application and mock interview
 Training and/or orientation
 Job shadowing
 Task analysis/supports/job coaching
 Students work independently
Senior Career Courses
Internship I
Students prepare for their January internship
placement. Developing skills for landing and keeping
a job and conflict resolution in the workplace.
Building and maintaining a resume and job portfolio.
Practicing Interviewing Skills
Actual Internship
Students intern at various companies/organizations
Internship II
Students reflect on their January internship
placements. Students walk through the steps
necessary for their own job search.
Examples of Senior Assignments
Complete job application
Conduct informational interview
Research company
Mock interview
Attend Internship Workshops
Resume writing and building
Thank you correspondence
Presentation of job internship
Create a network
Senior Work Component--Internship
 Internships take place in January
 Minimum of 9 hours per week for 4 weeks
 Internship sites are pre-determined
 Areas of career or job interest
 Students attend 2 Internship Workshops
 Time cards and journals
 Job coaching and supports
 Presentation to fellow students
7 students interning this January
Music Clerk at a music store
Filing Clerk in Human Resources Department
Activities intern at nursing home
Assistant animal care intern at zoo
Activities intern at learning center
Clerical intern at hospice agency
Classroom helper in a kindergarten program
Role of Mentors and Job Coaches at
Internship Sites
 Review of Functional Assessment
 Goals and target areas
 Train student on-site
 Provide support as needed
 Task analysis
Break down tasks
Provides lists or visuals if necessary
 Work with host toward independence
Finding Placements in the Community
 Local and family owned businesses
 Not-for-profits with volunteer programs
 Present information at Service Organization
 Letter with follow-up
 Just walk in
 Sell program and students
Thank you for your interest in Elmhurst
Life Skills Academy and attending this
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