One of our goals from our Strategic Plan to 2020 is to improve the percentage of our customers in community living services who are working to 50% or better. Currently about 32% of our customers are working in community employment. There are many more who want to work, but haven’t had the support they need to find the right job. In 2016, we began shifting our process around employment services. We were also able to receive grant funding which allowed us to hire more employment consultants and provide P.A.T.H. training for all of our employees.
We support people based on a few simple truths. We believe:
- Everyone deserves the opportunity to work in their community for at least minimum wage.
- Integrated work environments are best for everyone.
- Everyone who wants to work, can work.
- Everyone deserves to feel valued by their community.
Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope (P.A.T.H.) is a person centered planning tool that LIFEDesigns has begun using to discover and identify peoples hopes and dreams, goals, and interests.
“PATH is a way for diverse people, who share a common problem or situation to align…their purposes…their understanding of their situation and its possibilities for hopeful action…their action for change, mutual support, personal and team development and learning.” ~Jack Pearpoint, John O`Brien and Marsha Forest
P.A.T.H. is a process that encourages teamwork around an individual to help them achieve their goals. The person who wants to discover their dreams and set goals to achieving them is the “focus person”. This process works best when that person has a group of people around them who are committed to making things happen. This process enables people to understand and take control of the situation.
- Step 1 The Dream: The facilitator asks the focus person to talk about their personal vision for the future.
- Step 2 Sensing the Goal: Participants imagine that a year has passed and they are back in the same room remembering what has happened.
- Step 3 Now: The group examines the situation and analyzes the difference between where they are now and where they want to be in a year.
- Step 4 Enroll: Who’s on board? None of the goals are achieved by the person working alone. Identify who needs to help.
- Step 5 How to build strength: The group decides what needs to be done to maintain strength and commitment to the goals.
- Step 6 Three & Six Month Goals: The facilitator asks the group to pick a date usually 3-6 months out and to set interim goals.
This is a very detailed process, and more information about P.A.T.H. can be found online in many different resources.
Sometimes after a P.A.T.H. has been completed, someone will identify self-employment as a preferred choice for work. Our staff can help you turn your interests and ideas into a small business. We work with you to develop a business plan and find funding for start up costs.
Once we’ve completed P.A.T.H. planning and discovered some potential job interests with you, there is a lot of work to do in preparing to apply, interview, and eventually complete training and orientation for your new job. We work with you every step of the way. LIFEDesigns hosts mock interview day twice a year with several other partner agencies, and our employment consultants coach you through creating your resume, cover letters, applying for jobs, and interviewing.
Once you’ve secured your job, we stay with you to make sure it’s a good fit, and support you through any questions or concerns you may have. Services are determined by need on an individual basis, but most people receive between 1 and 5 hours of on the job support each month until they are fully comfortable in their job.
Katie Lewis received Employment Services from LIFEDesigns right after transitioning from high school in 2004. Katie chose LIFEDesigns for her services because she felt they were truly in it for the individual and seeing them succeed in the community. She currently works at Bell Trace Senior Living Community where she has been a receptionist for the last three years. Katie’s favorite thing about her job is the residents she works with as she loves building relationships with people and being a bright spot in someone’s day. Katie said she truly does not think she could have found a better place to work. With LIFEDesigns support she has been able to live on her own for the past five years and remain an active part of the community. Her long term goal is to write a story about the obstacles she has overcome in her own life in hopes of being an advocate for others to feel inspired that they do can do it. Katie feels she would not be where she is today without the support she has been given, and would strongly recommend LIFEDesigns to anyone with a disability who needs assistance.
“Justin has been a great asset to our team for the last 4 years. LIFEDesigns has been great on developing Justin’s training and scanning rhythm. LIFEDesigns has helped show Justin how important his role is to the store and our customers. This has kept Justin so motivated that he runs to the store from his bus stop. Justin and LIFEDesigns have been a great help on keeping our store priced and merchandised correctly.”
– Shawn Horrall, HR Executive, Best Buy
“Rita is a pleasure to work with. The customers always enjoy talking to her. She has come a long was since she started and she continues to learn everyday. Rita really enjoys working with others and other employees enjoy working with her. She has become a natural fit for our team.”
– Brent DeMoss , Manager, McDonalds
Contact Us if you are interested in learning more about our services.