Vocational Track / Job Center
Downsize Farm’s Just Right Job Center is an Integrated Pre-Vocational support program located at 927 N. Main in Urbana, a highly-visible community location. The Spotted Cow Coffeehouse, an independently incorporated and managed coffee shop, rents space in the front of our job center and brings in a variety of community shoppers who see their workers with disabilities and the typically functioning workers well able to serve the public. This, together with the traffic the Downsize Farm Gift Shop generates, produces a community-centric location for pre-vocational integration.
The Job Center is just that – a center for learning to earn, and acquiring jobs. The staff at the Job Center has a schedule of applied skills classes and hands-on work experiences that foster independence and the general soft skills that lead to employment.
Through the program activities, the clients engage in:
· Discovery - Learning what they love and what they do well, and what career that suggests
· Planning – After /during Discovery, the Employment Manager helps create a Path to desired employment. This includes the steps the individual will take as well as the training and support DF will provide.
· Work Adjustment and Personal Adjustment – The Discovery process and work training activities often reveal areas which need improvement for the individual to be a valued employee in the community. Work Adjustment helps the individual learn actual work skills, and Personal Adjustment targets habits and issues that may occur outside the workplace but impact the individual in his daily routine. Both are approached through individualized interaction with staff and through a work-simulated environment. All these activities are driven by the Work Goals and Work Path of the individual.
· Work Experiences – Through small enclaves in community businesses and work activities in the Job Center, the clients in the program can begin to earn paychecks from community businesses, all at least minimum wage. Clients who desire can also participate in making and selling items at the Gift Shop. In all work experiences, the individual is not isolated but engages with the community employers for whom they work as part of the integrated training opportunity.
· Supported Employment – At any point in the DF service continuum, an individual can be supported in a community job. DF specializes in Customized Employment, wherein relationships and intimate knowledge of local businesses and the discovery process leads to jobs that truly benefit the individual and the business.
DF staff is dually trained in OOD and DODD protocol and employment support to assist with task analysis and job coaching, only to the degree it is needed in every case.
· Wrap Around Integrated Community Supports – DF recognizes that a full life is more than a job, and offers Integrated Community Supports for the hours that an individual is not engaged in pre-vocational or actual employment. This support allows the customized program of belonging to the community in ways and times that fit the individual’s desires, needs and schedule!