Opening Doors to the World of Work Through Discovery and Customized Employment with Michael Callahan

Opening Doors to the World of Work Through Discovery and Customized Employment with Michael Callahan


>>MICHAEL CALLAHAN: Well folks
we’re going to take about 40 minutes this evening and explore
what I think is one of the most important concepts to come
around in the area of employment since that venerable and
great good idea of supported employment which
arose back in the mid-80s. Since that time tens of
thousands of people who were perceived, not to be able
to work, had gained employment through supported employment. However, one of the things
we noticed was a barrier that seemed to begin to be created
and supported employment for a number of reasons, tended not
to live up completely to the promise of employment for all
which we’re hearing more and more as a concept that will
define the future of disability I believe. And what was necessary was to
begin to look beyond supported employment to the very
employment relationship itself and thus emerged
customized employment. I’m going to talk to you about
that and some of the promises that are possible
through customized employment. I’ll talk to you about the
official definition, give you a lot of examples and then as Beth
said, also give you time to type in some questions that I’ll try
to answer as best I can in the time that we have this evening. The question is so many people
with significant disabilities have a dream of employment and
for so many people employment even at the best has been that
kind of happen stance, entry level of the service industry
kind of job in a lot of particularly the young people. And one of the things I’m doing
in this particular webinar tonight is focusing on people
in the transition age frame. When young people are in that
situation and work kind of hits them in the face many times
with the reality of it’s hard. If an employer is going to pay
you and you’re expected to do all of the job, it’s really hard.
And if you find yourself at the very entry level of the service
industry, and it looks like there’s really no way out into
any kind of career environment, anything beyond that, what you
find too often is rapid turnover for your coworkers. That ideal
supervisor leaving just when everything seemed fine and also
having to realize that you know there’s hardly anything about
this job that has anything to do with who I am. What if we could make
all of that different? What if we really could
have employment be about who people are? I think this is a promise we
should try to do for all our youth and indeed for all of
us, but we’re focusing on youth tonight, so regardless of whether
a young person has a disability or not, employment should
reference who they are and too often it just referenced
what we could get for them. So what I’m going to do is to
try to deal with this issue of well how can we get a good
job in a career setting. Just briefly I
got to meet Ethan. This is a young man from the
greater Salt Lake area when he was still in school. Ethan had a lot going on in his
life but the likelihood of a working life, in a job that
fit who he was, did not seem too hopeful. His parents were both optimistic
about his skills, but realizing that not everyone in the system
saw Ethan the same way that they did, and frankly there was
a great deal of concern. I’m sure many of you who are
parents share that same concern who are listening tonight. I think Ethan is the kind
of young man who in typical supported employment, would have
ended up at the entry level of the service industry, with a job
coach pretty well attached to his right or left side as he
either bussed tables or operated a dishwasher, all the other
things that has comprised employment for too many of
the people that we work with. And it’s not that those jobs
are somehow bad jobs but the circumstance, the context, is one
of the toughest places to work in our society. I think of the entry level
of the service industry like playing the paint in basketball. If you stand around you’re
going to get knocked down. People move in
and out all the time. It’s constant movement and that
doesn’t always work for people with more
significant disabilities. Well what if you started instead
with who is Ethan, and used the process of discovery to be the
guide, and really committed to following that? Well one of the things we found
about this young man is he truly loves sports. I remember walking into his
bedroom with him guiding me in and his mom right there at the
door kind of wondering why would this guy want to know about
where my son lives most of his life, in his bedroom. Well his room was plastered
with sports memorabilia, mostly University of Utah Utes so the
room was almost all red, but then interspersed throughout all the
red was a very interesting thing from my perspective, was black
and gold, and he happened to be a New Orleans Saints fan. I loved the guy immediately. It was like I live on the
Gulf Coast and the Saints are our team. It was just clear this is a
guy who would just love to have something to do with sports. As it turned out, Ethan works
for the University of Utah athletic department. He prepares all of the equipment
packages. I guess you could say, the baggage that 13 different
sports teams take on the road. He has full access to
the basketball court, the football stadium. He can get in when his
parents cannot get in. He works, he’s supported
100% by coworkers. He’s had a job coach, but the
role of the job coach was not to stay but to get him going. I often say, although he does
actually take a bus to work, he really floats to work every day. It just feels like, you
mean they pay me to do this? As we look forward people
have different interests. To me career is one of the
most difficult terms to really functionally
define in our society. Most of us equate career with
high responsibility, high levels of pay requiring credentials. But what if career was about
working in a place where people wanted to work there
for their life work? And your coworkers will likely
be people that you work around, and the tasks that you do, were
tasks that reflect what you like to do. Well for James it took a while
for him to figure that out. One of the things that we’re
finding in innovations in customized employment is the
same thing that so many of our youth are using, indeed my
daughter with no disability at all, had a number of paid
internships that helped her get her head around what would
really work for her, and so James had three. They were paid at minimum wage
and it’s resulted in him working in of all places, a
granite fabrication shop. He actually fabricates
granite that will be placed on countertops in
very, very fine homes. For him a man in special
education, a man who was going to, if he worked at all, was going
to be at the entry level of the service industry
now has a career job. James has also
bought his own home. The people at the cabinet shop
are helping him make sure he has granite countertops although
his parents don’t have any such thing. And he’s really on the
way to a real working life in a career context. That’s very interesting because
as the people that we work with and the people who are in your
families, I know some of you are special education teachers,
maybe some VR counselors out there, if we can think about
really having the person guide us and, accepting the direction
of discovery, is one of the most important aspects of
customized employment. We really embrace the individual
as the guide. Not that we start with just saying to a person
tell me what you want to do, because many times
people simply don’t know. But we look at what
works in their lives. What their intrinsic interests
are, what their unique skills are and when we find that
we can find people in very sophisticated settings doing
things that aren’t just the typical things. Too often if a person with a
significant disability is going to work around children, at best
they’re cleaning up after them. But what about the opportunity
to actually teach tasks that’s part of a school
curriculum for young children? And if the individual has
specific skills, and if we can match those to needs of
the setting, then customized employment can result in real
opportunity even though the credential
threshold would not be met. The educational
threshold would not be met. So what makes this possible? Well, supported employment back
in the mid-80s, I was around. I’m a pretty old guy, and it was
around when supported employment began, and even though we didn’t
have the internet in those days, if we had, we would say
supported employment went viral. In just a couple of years it
burst from not even being named. I first heard the term supported
employment in 1983 at a TASH Conference in Denver. By 1984 it was in federal
statute in the first DD Act. By 1986 it was in
the VR Act of 1986. Well we began to understand
the need for customizing the relationship as early as 1988
but it took until 2014 to actually get the concept into
federal statute, but it happened. When President Obama signed the
Work Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, thus amending the
VR Act, the Rehab Act, a new definition was in that act
for customized employment. And while we’re still waiting
on final regulations, those are important, we now have federal
definitions that really help us to back this up. This page references, I’ve taken this language right
out of the federal register that announced the
statute to the country. I’m going to read through it. It’ll help and I will apologize first
for bureaucratic syntax. It’s pretty weird language but
nonetheless it makes sense when you really think about it. Customized employment
means competitive, integrated employment for an individual
with a significant disability. There’s some
important words there. Competitive is really used
euphemistically here meaning community employment. It’s integrated, means that it’s
not in a sheltered workshop or a work crew or enclave. One person. One job. And it’s for a person with
a significant disability. Those are all
important concepts. It’s based on an individualized
determination of the strengths, needs and interests
of the individual with a significant disability. This is important because even
though we weren’t able to get the word discovery in the act,
looking at the strengths, needs and interests, a determination
is not a comparative assessment. It should not be, and you should
advocate strongly to avoid having your family members
tested in a way that they have to pass muster. This does not require that, nor
does the Rehab Act in general, by the way. It has not for well over 20
years, close to 25 years at the 1992 reauthorization. Rehab is no longer supposed to
assess to determine likelihood of benefit. In fact what they’re supposed
to do according to the law is generally presume
that a person can benefit. But then the definition goes on
and it’s designed to meet the specific abilities of the
person, our family members, your students, and also
business needs of the employer. It’s carried out
through a number of strategies. Now again when you get something
through Congress it’s always a compromise and there’s some
things that you just scratch your head and you wonder well
I’m not sure what Congress means and number A, job exploration by
the individual, I have to tell you I have no idea what the
Framers meant, the people who passed that. However under B
it’s very important. Working with an employer to
facilitate placement including customizing a job description
based on current employer needs or on previously unidentified
and unmet employer needs. Folks, if you’re customizing
you’re not going after a job opening. You’re not going
after a job title. You look at the specific ability
of the individual and specific needs of the employer,
and negotiation occurs. This is requiring new skills on
the part of service providers, or if families get
involved, for families. Now maybe what Congress meant in
Part A is they presume that an individual can go out
and represent themselves. Well let’s think
about that for a second. The brightest and best in our
culture use representatives to make deals. You don’t find sports figures,
entertainment figures, CEOs of companies making
their own deals. They almost always use
representatives and that’s why A is confusing. I do not recommend. I wouldn’t on my own behalf try
to negotiate a customized job. I would want a
representative to do it. Here Congress is
actually building that in. Also we develop a set of job
duties of work schedule, a job arrangement. Basically what this is saying is
it meets the needs of the person but it’s negotiated. This is not a right. This is a negotiation. Actually employers who have
closed the door, based on fear around the ADA, open their
doors around negotiation. And again representation by
a professional chosen by the individual, or if it were
self-representation, in working with an employer to
facilitate placement. So if you’re wondering does
someone have a right to a representative, well
this is the statute. This is the law of
the United States. And then if supported employment
services are needed, see and we’ll talk a little bit more
about that, supported employment is basically a
post-employment service. Customized employment stipulates
the job relationship, the employment relationship between
the individual and an employer. That’s the new aspect. That’s the distinction
of customized employment. And it really gets down to
unbundling tasks from job descriptions and creating a
level of flexibility that helps deal with the impact of
disability in the lives of people with
significant disabilities. I mean everyone on
this call knows this. I mean we know we work with
people who struggle to do things exactly the same
way as everybody else. In fact I think everybody
struggles to do things the way that everybody does it. It’s kind of a myth. We put it out there, and too
often the folks that we work with, get exposed before
others of not being able to do everything that was expected
and when in fact very, very few people do
everything that’s expected. So this unbundling
is at the base of good customized employment. The interesting thing is
employers are not pushing back. We’ve been doing this under the
radar for well over a decade, almost two decades, and we have
significant information that indicates employers understand
when we make the case for customized employment. On our side of the issue, you
don’t just go out and just say okay I’m going to customize. Let me see if I can go to an
employer and say are you willing to negotiate. In fact, what we owe employers
is the implementation of a process, that when implemented,
has a logic that makes sense and that works. You can think of that as
the customized process. What you see at the
first step is discovery. Discovery is a qualitative,
alternative, to comparative assessment that
you simply can’t fail. With discovery you start
with an A, you end with an A. You can’t fail
being who you are. For some of you who have family
members with very significant impact of disabilities in their
lives, this is one of the first times that a concept comes along
that’s like, this is for me. This is for my son, my daughter. And then we know how
important positive paper is. There’s so much
negative paper on folks with significant disabilities. The profile document provides
an alternative to all those assessment reports that
basically say, I’m sorry your son, your daughter can’t work so
we don’t have to serve you and here’s all the reasons, here’s
all the science behind it. In fact, this qualitative
approach of discovery creates or yields a profile document that’s
optimistic, its narrative and it’s about what’s possible. And then we have to have a plan
that truly connects who the person is to possibility. Too often it breaks down here. The Rehab Act for instance just
asks for a person to give me one vocational goal, and then we’re
stuck with that and you have to go get it. Now there’s some work arounds
but basically in an IPE, an Individualized Plan for
Employment, that’s the case. So with this we give ourselves
wiggle room and that wiggle room is created by interest. We actually follow people’s
interest to see what their employment would look like. That’s how Ethan ended up at
the university in the Athletic Department rather than at
the cafeteria bussing tables. It makes a big difference. Also we need a complement to the
profile which we call a visual resume which puts the
best of who the person is out there visually. This is not a
complex thing to develop. This can be developed by family
members,, in cooperation with service providers, and even VR
counselors or special education teachers to put together a
portfolio using the simple power point format of the
best of who the person is. The hard thing about that is
getting our head around its okay to present a
person at their best. For anyone of us who has ever
developed a resume and put it in front of an employer, shame on us
if we’re not willing to put the best of the person forward,
because every one of our resumes only contain the best. It did not contain the
worst of who we were. And then we need job development
representation of the sort allowed in the definition,
in the statutory language of customized employment so
that people don’t have to do this themselves. The job developers need to learn
a skill set for representation and negotiation. Frankly folks, this is
one of our weak areas. People love discovery, even to
some degree writing profiles, but it’s not common in the field of
adult services and employment services. The staff people like
to go out and make job calls. We need to get over that. Job development has got to be
job one if people are going to go to work. We can’t just think we do all
the soft skill training and then blame the person if
they don’t get a job. We have to represent them, and
when we do, people get jobs and they hold jobs. And then for many of the folks
that I think we’re representing and talking about on this
webinar tonight, for many of those folks, they’re going
to need supported employment support. That’s where
the customized relationship dovetails with good
supported employment. An effective term of art that
I’m talking about is customized supported employment. That’s really what it is. Customize the relationship;
support the person on the job. And again I want to reiterate
the importance of discovery in this entire concept. Unless we really get to know the
person, we’re just guessing at what works for them. It’s really not customized. It may be individualized, but
customized is a higher order concept than individualization.
And it really relates to we are being guided by, driven by the
individual, their conditions for success, their interests and
their unique contributions. Those are the three main
focus areas of discovery. And actually discovery creates
the individual’s blueprint so to speak. We have found that these three
areas, these are the distilled kind of outcomes of discovery. It’s like when you’re panning
for gold and what’s left in the bottom are those
nuggets or gold dust. Well this is what’s left in the
bottom of the pan in discovery. What conditions need to be in
place for this person to be successful in a job? What are their interests that
would guide us towards certain aspects of the job market? What unique and specific
contributions might they make? They do not have to
have the whole package. They can have as little as one
task to offer, and it can still work for employment. Now on the employers side, here’s
the interesting thing that we’re still just coming to terms with. There’s a concept
called unmet workplace needs. Every workplace in the world has
things that need to be done that aren’t getting done. Project Search going across the
country, that I have a lot of respect for. I think there are things that I
would improve in Project Search has taught us, through work in
hospitals and other large places, that there are tasks that
employers might be interested in assigning tasks from very
highly paid job descriptions. It could easily be done by an
individual at a much lower pay grade, still at or above
minimum wage and this is not handicapist. This is a business deal. Why would an employer pay
someone a high wage if someone else could do the same task
at a much lower pay grade? Well if you think about that,
it makes perfect business sense. In fact, many businesses
just need a better run place. Tasks that would
enhance their workplace. Now here’s the
interesting thing. We can put these together
in somewhat of an equation. If we solve for the person first
through discovery and understand their conditions for success,
their interests and their contributions, then job
development is an effort to solve for x. This is kind of
an algebraic thing. We’re out there looking for
employers who could benefit from who the person
is in areas of business. When it’s presented like this,
employers respond like, this is a business deal. Yes it is. It’s a business deal. That’s extremely
important to understand. We’re not asking for charity
and we’re not asking for a job opening at the entry level. We’re asking to make a
difference in a workplace, and employers are
willing to pay for that. That’s a very powerful thing
to say and it’s very true. Again as I’ve made these
distinctions, the CE is customized employment, SE is
supported employment, and the easiest way to think about a
distinction of importance, is they operate at opposite
ends of employment service. For a person who needs a
customized relationship to be successful, customized
employment starts before a job is ever developed. It gets to know the person and
then negotiates a job that fits. Supported employment
happens at the employment end. That’s where the person is on
the job site and often times because and we’re actually
getting evidence based data on this in an increasing way.
Because the job is well matched, the need for the extent of
supported employment job coaching is showing that it’s
less, and now that’s a business deal for funders. We’re really looking forward to
continuing the evidence based research on blending
good customized and supported employment. I would urge any of you on this
call, don’t let anybody try to drive a wedge, trying to say to
you oh customized employment is not really any kind of
important distinction. You know it’s just
good supported employment. They don’t understand the
employment relationship if that’s the case. What good employment is
for people with significant disabilities, is to customize
their relationship in ways that the job fits, and then support
the person on the job using good supported employment. Then you’ve really got good
employment all the way around. So I’m going to end up the
presentation with a number of stories all of young people. One of my favorite
enduring stories is for James. One of the reasons it’s one of
my favorite stories is James goes back pretty
far into my life. I can remember my wife back
in the 80s coming home, from an early special ed job that she
had early in her career, talking about this young man with Autism
in her special ed class and what a hoot he was and how
interesting and sometimes sad because James spent most of
his early days at school crying, because he couldn’t line his
pencils up on his desk because his desk had no notches
for his pencils to be in. They kept rolling off and he
would cry and Theresa would try to work with him. Finally she was able to
requisition a desk with grooves and all of his
behavioral issues went away. He was quite happy
once that occurred. I found him later when he was 19
years old and another teacher, a close friend of mine, was quite
frustrated with this guy named James she said. I had no idea who he was. It was the same
James, now grown up. He had lost four jobs
that she had found for him. All the jobs were for pay. By the way, none of the jobs
matched and certainly his strong skills on organization were
overlooked and nobody even asked about his interests, but just
said well he can do this so let’s put him in
this job and that job. The jobs she found
for him weren’t bad jobs. They just
weren’t based on James. It wasn’t until discovery and
having his father respond to the question what does he do. In a frustrated way well what
he does is watch those awful cop shows on television. We found out he just owns the
family remote control, and the awful cop shows, were the reality
TV shows that just predominate. And one of the things you find
is, I mean if he truly has an interest in police work, what’s
wrong with pursuing that? And if we said okay well he
would really like to be a police officer, then we’ve blown
it because he doesn’t have the credentials. I don’t know of any police
officer with middle of the spectrum Autism as a diagnosis. But I can tell you that since
about 1990, best I can tell, I mean not 1990, about 2000, it’s
about 16 years James has worked at our local Sheriff’s
Department in the county in which I live,
Jackson County, Mississippi. What he did at first, was he
organized arrest reports, so one of his organization skills came
in, these arrest reports were often in boxes
waiting to be filed. Later he helped a
multi-jurisdictional drug task force keep up with their
equipment, because the guys would come in after a drug bust and
drop all of their gear on the ground, and for the next bust
then it was like a circus trying to get everything together. And then finally today he works
in the criminal investigation division, again filing. He works 32 hours a week. He is the senior person in
the division, and he has been through, he’s on his
fourth Sheriff right now. This is a man with very
significant impact of Autism. He’s in truly a career job. Sometimes it’s hard to find
what people have to offer. This is a young woman who
really wanted to work in a radio station, and one of the things
that we needed to do was do something, called a needs
and benefits analysis for the employer. We needed to find out what were
things, first what were the tasks done in a small market
radio station, and then what were things that Trane could
contribute in that scenario. Of course we knew that from
discovery trying to figure out her specific tasks, and then we
were able to make the match for her to end up doing tasks
related to reception, to the disc jockeys in the station, to
the advertising, and virtually saved the advertising specialist
job in the advertising person was great at sales and terrible
at paperwork. So Trane ended up doing some of her paperwork. Even the station manager had
tasks that became part of Trane’s job. Again, if you just
went in and said I’m here, I want to apply for a job. The personnel machine would just
eat her up and spit her out. But instead she gets
to work in a dream job. And, indeed, many people have dreams. Tony for instance,
the man with William’s Syndrome. He just loves music. He has a dream of
being a musician. But what if we could get him
close to, very, very close to that working with musicians.
Working in a place where musicians as hard as that life
is musicians have to have a day job so let’s get him fixed up
on a day job, so he actually has something to do. One of the oldest music stores
in Fort Worth, he’s been there just working away doing
all kinds of tasks that are improving the workplace,
within that context. One of my favorite stories
is what happened in discovery with Sal. Sal and his family live in a
pretty tough area, south central Los Angeles. And we were pretty
confused about what tasks Sal might offer at work. Sal is a man whose arms are
restrained to his wheelchair. His legs are restrained. His whole body you see him in
a bolster here and he does not generate any
speech sound whatsoever. Nothing comes out. The piece of paper you see in
front of him, his mother had laminated, that basically
says hi my name is Sal. I can’t speak, but I
understand what you say. Then it goes on to say
how Sal says yes and no. It’s kind of hard to think about,
well what task is he going to do at work if he can’t move his
arms, he can’t move his legs and he can’t speak. His mother during discovery just
told a family story of going to get groceries in gang territory. She’d have to pass
through two street corners with gang members. They had to always worry about
the color of their clothing. But in the store, she had
never taken Sal shopping. She just shopped for him. School was out and he had no job
and he was just waiting, so she decided that she
would take him shopping. Right at the end, and it was
just a funny little story. She said you know I usually have
this pull cart, and I would ask for paper rather than
plastic when they were bagging my groceries. For whatever reason this day she
said, I asked for plastic and I realized that plastic bags
wouldn’t sit in her little cart. She looked at Sal and said Sal,
and only a mother can do this, Sal would you mind, and she
started hanging the bags all over his wheelchair. Now it’s a power chair. She laughed and said, when
I was done he looked like a Christmas tree. Well that’s a funny story and
it’s just a family story, but folks if you can deliver
groceries to gang territory, you can deliver something in a
workplace if you can find an employer who needs
something delivered. So what we’re saying here is
that many of our ideas, many of our leads come from life, not
from some sophisticated, but irrelevant test, that probably
would say I’m sorry there’s nothing for Sal to do. One of the things that was
so confusing about Catherine. Catherine is a young woman who
was always wanting to serve coffee and it was confusing
to her, and her teacher, and her mother because both said
well Catherine doesn’t even like coffee. Well she did like the aroma of
coffee but more than that she liked hospitality. That’s really who Catherine is
at her deepest, her inner person I have here, that she
just wanted to serve people. And so by helping her open the
kiosk, this is her own coffee cart and her own cell phone
business in a community college that had no coffee for students. You know a college without
coffee has the ingredients of revolution, so she was really
able to calm the waters at the educational place, and not only
that have a very effective business of
meeting people’s needs. It just fits with
who she is as a person. So we’re at a point right now
that I’ve finished and it looks like we have about 17
or 18 minutes of time. One of the things I’m going to
do is to ask Beth to rejoin and Beth, if you can read for
me some of the questions. I see one from Jennifer here. Are behaviors part of
significant disability? They certainly can be. As states make determinations as
to what comprises a definition for disability, behavior is
often the most challenging. Now for significant intellectual
disability, behavior would often be paired with what’s
perceived to be significant. Intellectual disability. might be paired with Autism. If you had someone who simply
had a significant behavioral issue, without an intellectual
disability, then it would be up to the state to determine if
that’s a definition they accept. But for most people the
answer is going to be yes. Customized employment, while it
doesn’t in and of itself, resolve behavioral issues, we work
with employers in what we call positive disclosure. One of the things that’s very
important, just to give you a quick example from how we
learn some of this stuff. I can remember back nearly 20
years ago in Connecticut, a woman came out of an institutional
setting where one of her behaviors, when she would get
frustrated, fatigued or angered, she’d take all
of her clothes off. I mean all of her clothes off
and that’s a very embarrassing thing to deal with. But if you put that person on a
job site, and don’t disclose that to an employer, and she ends up
taking her clothes off she’s going to be fired summarily. But by having an employer
understand the context that the behavior is occurring in,
actually had employers willing to deal with that. Now we have this thing
of conditions for success. If you take your clothes off, a
condition for success is not to work around the public, but at
the same time it’s not to work in a dark room with nobody else. So as embarrassing as it would
be for your coworkers to see you without clothes on, if it means
you don’t get fired because people actually understand what
might have happened, the same way a family member or maybe a good
service provider has understood over the years, then the
person might not be fired. That’s exactly what
happened in the situation that I’m discussing. So behavior can be a part of the
disclosure and the difference. We don’t go in saying oh this
person is just perfect and there’s no issue, and you really
shouldn’t worry about anything, and then on the second day of
work some major behavior occurs. They’re going to get fired. So that’s the distinction. Beth, do you have
any other questions. I can read some if you don’t.>>BETH SCHAFFNER: Mike, there
are some other questions. Can you hear me now?>>MICHAEL CALLAHAN: I can. Yes.>>BETH SCHAFFNER: Okay. Good. I was talking earlier but I
don’t think anyone could hear so hopefully we fixed that now. So yes, there are
some other questions. Catherine had asked what
education background and training do the staff
have who support these folks?>>MICHAEL CALLAHAN: Well let me
be specific on my answer because I’m talking about customized,
is not a form of support, it’s a form of facilitation,
so I just want to be exact on my language. What we have found, if we can
provide good training that’s performance based, one of the
things that MG&A is doing for instance, we’re doing performance
based certification now. We don’t have any requirements
for academic levels on this. In other words, you
don’t have to have a degree. We work with many people who
have finished high school, or maybe had a couple of
years of community college. Some people have degrees,
and advanced degrees, but the point is there are specific skills to
be learned, and we found that we can actually train those
skills in a performance based certification manner that is
economical, no more than the cost of, say community college
courses, and that systems can choose to do this,
can buy this training. One of the things of course,
I’m speaking somewhat from self-interest being that I’m a
consultant, but it’s not likely that people, just by the seat of
their pants, pull this off well. It’s not a matter
of academic skills, it’s just a matter of
having the information. So I mean it’s fully possible,
and family members have done it and professionals have done it
alike, direct service people of just being self-taught. That is possible also. So there’s a skill set
associated with this. There’s information
at MarcGold.com. Be sure if you visit that
website you put MarcGold.com and there’s a ton of free
information, not only on the certification that I’m talking
about, but also there’s about 50 free articles that cover all
of the stuff on customized employment that
we’ve talked about. Just look under publications. They’re all free. You can download it and find
a great deal of information. Okay, next.>>BETH SCHAFFNER: Thanks, Mike. We do have in the web links,
if you click on Marc Gold and Associates, you’ll have
the link to the website Mike is talking about. The next question, Mike,
our adults are required to go through DVR before our
community agency can start to pursue employment. Is this typical?>>MICHAEL CALLAHAN: Require
is an interesting word. I need to tell you that because
the Act is only a year and a half old, and because we’re still
waiting for final regulations, a lot of states are still getting
their Act together around customized employment. That happens all the time when
there’s a new definition in the Act. So realize that even though it’s
the law of the land, that there still can be frustration
in accessing the service. My feeling is this. You used the term require. It’s my feeling that VR should
be the payer of first resort for customized, because it is
a pre-employment service. Most states are funding
supported employment services, ongoing supported employment
paying for job coaches through their Medicaid waiver, and
through their DD service. The most ideal way to pay for
customized is through Voc Rehab because it is the service to
get people jobs. and they have only limited
responsibility of supported. They do have responsibility in
supported employment. but it is limited to 18-24 months. So with that, there are plenty
of people who don’t go to VR. but here’s the problem. Let’s say you started discovery. A teacher started discovery
without ever taking her students to VR. Without a relationship with the
VR counselor you might run into significant resistance. if you
ask the VR counselor to pay let’s say for job development
support. which they should pay for, especially for transition
students now 18-21, and especially with the new focus on
school transition for VR within the Workforce Innovation
and Opportunities Act. It’s significantly increased. So it’s not an absolute
requirement, but it’s a very good idea, and I
strongly recommend it. I feel like for years Voc Rehab
has not dealt effectively with the group of people
that I’m talking about. Supported employment was not
necessarily what VR really wanted in its Act, and now
customized is probably not what it really wants. But we can get
closures for VR counselors. It’s a very pragmatic
system and this can work to get people jobs. It works for employers. It can work for funders, and
it certainly works for the individual and their families. So give it a thought
to try to go that route. Okay, Beth?>>BETH SCHAFFNER:
Okay, thanks, Mike. Next, how do I get my son
to get a discovery review. I’m not sure what he
can contribute with his particular disability.>>MICHAEL CALLAHAN: Yah, and
there’s a rule of thumb that says the more we know about
a person the harder it is to do discovery. I mean I’d like to think I could
do discovery with my daughter. She would have never let me
do it, but I would be the worst person in the world. I mean I understand the
difficulty in often seeing what’s right in front of you. But if the person is of age,
and this is something that Pete could find out for you in
Colorado, of having VR services. Now traditionally they wanted
the person to be 21, but I think you’ll find under the new law,
that people as young as 18 can now sign up for VR. It’s going to mean going through
their information, but it also says if they’re going to say
well we have to evaluate you, one of the things you have to do is
arm yourself with information. We certainly don’t have time in
this short call to give you a course on that, but that
information is available on-line. Probably Pete could help you
with it, and certainly your state disability right’s people could
help you, to understand that which is legally and necessarily
required, and that which is just typically done. A lot of states, I wouldn’t
doubt that Colorado would be one, you’d find no
we have to evaluate. The proper response is
“No, we want discovery”. Well we don’t have
anybody to do discovery. Well now we get in that circular
argument, but I know there are people trained in
Colorado in discovery. It’s been awhile but I’ve
trained many of them myself, and there’s information on how to do
it. It’s up to the system to begin to develop
if a determination of the individual’s strengths, needs
and interests is in the Act, we want that determination. It’s not a test. It’s not an evaluation. You’re not done with advocacy,
those of you who have fought the hard fight as parents to
get good school services, they’re really just beginning
for access to adult services. I won’t tell you it’s easy, and
I won’t tell you it’s guaranteed, but I will tell
you it’s possible. Beth, we probably
have time for one more.>>BETH SCHAFFNER: There is one
more question, and yes if you could address that
relatively quickly, we are going to need to
close in just a minute. The last question is ”Will the
Mark Gold free articles help a parent talk with their human
resources, at their company for their children, about
customized employment?”>>MICHAEL CALLAHAN: I think so. We’re not a parent support
center, so our focus isn’t to write that way, but I
believe they would help. You may have to dig a bit to
really get the language you need, but the information is there. Again, focus on the
information from this webinar. We have six articles that we
give away free on that website that takes the entire gamut of
the customized process, starting with what is customized,
discovery profile, plan, visual resume, and job development. They’re all on there. I think among those, if you read
through those, and they are about 15-16 pages each, so I mean it’s
a piece of work. I think within that you’d
pretty well understand. So Beth, I think
that wraps it up for me. I want everybody to
know I really appreciate your participation tonight. I hope this has been helpful
for you and hopeful for you. Beth, I’ll turn it over to you.>>BETH SCHAFFNER:
Thank you very much.

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