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Job Coaching for People With Disabilities

by Linda Ray

Job coaches go by a number of different names, ranging from staffing specialists and trainers to employment specialists and rehab counselors. According to the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities, people with a broad range of disabilities have successfully been able to transition into jobs and careers after receiving job coaching. Educational requirements vary for job coaches, but most earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in human services.

Independence

The primary goal of human service workers serving as job coaches is to help individuals live independently. Job coaches typically work through a government or community agency to help people with disabilities gain the training and support they need to find work. That could involve finding employers willing to hire disabled workers to getting funding for assistive technology or helping tne client gain access to transportation to the job.

Employer Support

In addition to helping individuals find work, job coaches also assist employers in providing job accommodations. They do this by learning details of a job as part of emoloyee training. The coach analyzes the requirements of the job before placing a client and then accompanies workers with disabilities to the workplace for a specified period of time. Job coaches play a vital role in retention efforts as well and assist employers in keeping workers who have been vetted and trained. They serve as a liaison between the employee and manager to resolve communication issues, make sure the employee’s transportation needs are met and provide ongoing training.

Funding

Job coaches are funded through a variety of sources. Most job coaches work through state Vocational Rehabilitation programs. The federal Department of Veterans Affairs provides job coaching services. Programs such as Social Security Work Incentives and Medicaid Waivers also are available to fund job coaching services. Job coaches often receive funds through foundations that serve those with disabilities, such as the blind or developmentally disabled. Workforce development programs may receive funding through business-supported entities.

Benefits

Job coaches help employers meet diversity guidelines. A job coach provides organizations with prescreened applicants and here appropriate and provide ongoing supoort to disabled workers. Job coaches help clients assess their skills and abilities to find jobs that interest them. Through testing and assessments, they promote independence. And nce workers are placed in jobs, they continue to serve as mentors.

About the Author

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."

Photo Credits

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