Employment: Getting a Job
Since 1978, Job Path has helped people find jobs and excel in the workforce. Our employment programs are designed to help anyone who wants to work, no matter the amount of support needed. We use a Customized Employment approach which entails getting to know the job seeker first and then using this knowledge to target employers based on the person’s interests, needs and skills. The aim is not to fit an individual into an already existing job description or opening. Instead, we work with employers to identify their needs and create a job that works for both the business and the job seeker.
The Process: What to expect When a job seeker starts at Job Path, she is paired with an employment specialist who takes her through the steps of the customized employment process. Discovery: Getting To Know You: Central to our approach is the discovery process, during which staff spend time with each person and his family and friends and in his neighborhood to understand the strengths, abilities and conditions he needs to be successful. Developing Job/Career Goals: After discovery, we convene a planning meeting that includes the person, her family and other people who can talk about the person’s skills. We create a vocational profile that outlines previous educational/work experiences, current activities, interests and important factors to consider when developing a job. Each meeting ends with a specific job development plan.
Job Development Phase: After the planning meeting, employment specialists have an initial list of employers to target for job development. We reach out to employers who might need the skills the person has to offer in areas in which the person has expressed interest; we assess their needs and determine if there might be a good match.
On-site Training and Employee Orientation: Once a customized job is found, the employment specialist helps the person learn tasks, acclimate to the workplace culture, and interact with coworkers. Ongoing Support: Job Path provides whatever level of ongoing support the person needs. We also offer a job support group where people who have been hired can discuss how to progress at work as well as any areas of concern.
For eligibility, click here
Job Path’s Community Supports is an alternative to traditional day habilitation. Through our program, people actively participate in the life of their communities. Each person has a weekly schedule that reflects their specific interests and provides opportunities for strong connections to neighborhood life. No two schedules are alike. For example, one young woman is involved with several projects with the New York Public Library, including blogging about children’s events at the local branch and surveying the accessibility of other branches around the city.
Many people have also elected to find paid jobs through Job Path’s employment programs and continue to participate in Community Supports programs on a part-time basis. If support on the job is needed, the Community Supports team can provide it.
Jose, whose goal is to be a documentary film maker, spent six weeks studying cinema management at the Maysles Documentary Center, and he is now a paid intern at the Maysles Theater in his Harlem neighborhood. He makes sure that the equipment runs smoothly, takes tickets at the front door, and makes popcorn. He’s an avid photographer and also attends the Adult Learning Center in the Harlem Library, computer training at the Countee Cullen Library and regularly attends the Life Path Center on Fridays where people and their support staff gather at Job Path.
People participate in and enjoy a wide variety of activities that are of interest to them. In addition, there are ongoing workshops including dance, theater, writing, and Spanish.
For eligibility, click here
Established in the early 1990s, Job Path’s Supported Living program was designed as an alternative to the group home model, aiming to provide individually tailored supports that enable people to establish their own homes. Job Path encourages family, friends and neighbors to get involved in a planning process to ensure that the person’s choices are honored and that she has the safeguards she needs. Then we locate affordable housing tailored to the person’s needs and desires – all in the context of her budget, including government benefits and rent subsidies. The Supported Living team helps people arrange whatever level of assistance they need. Robert lives in his own apartment in Brooklyn and staff visit him several times weekly to help him manage his money and stick to a budget. As Robert says, “They help me so I don’t spend my money all at once.” Staff helped Erica, who needs 24-hour supports, make the transition from living in a residence, where everything was done for her, to living with just one roommate. Now she has a full weekly schedule and can often be found in Barnes & Noble picking up music CDs.
Nina, now in her fifties, lived at the Willowbrook State School. When Willowbrook closed, Nina, who has significant support needs and no expressive language, moved into a large group home. This living situation didn’t work for her: Nina sometimes ran into the street, she hurt herself; and was so aggressive she once ripped out an intercom. Today, Nina shares a two-bedroom apartment in Hamilton Heights with another woman. With input from a clinician, Nina’s supports are designed in a way that works for her. The helmet she once wore to prevent self-abuse is long gone. Nina loves music, so that is the theme for organizing her support. She has a playlist with a variety of music that helps her to transition from activity to activity. Her circle of support and staff help her host a monthly jam session: musicians from Job Path play, others come to dance. Nina is right in the middle of it all, twirling around the living room. Though she still needs full assistance from her Direct Support Professional, she participates in household chores like laundry and food shopping. She is a regular at both a weekly knitting group and a crafts class at a community center near her home.
In the past, the services for those who needed around-the-clock assistance, like Nina, relied on shift staff – aides who came and went – which didn’t provide the ordinary home life most people take for granted. We have restructured most households where people receive 24-hour support so that they get most of their assistance by sharing their lives with people without disabilities. These more “natural” supports are provided by a live-in companion who is part of the person’s life.
For eligibility, click here
Life Coaching was designed to address the needs of people with Autism Spectrum Disorders – many of whom have significant cognitive abilities but have difficulty with communication and social interactions. The Life Coaching team provides intensive counseling and individualized supports that enable people to pursue employment, participate in community activities, and lead more independent lives. Many of the young people supported by the program attend college with Life Coaching mentors who help them organize their work, connect to professors and peers, and navigate campus life. Already two young adults have earned bachelor’s degrees and two others have earned associate degrees and are now attending four-year colleges.
Meet Alex at work. With the support of Life Coaching mentors, he graduated from Adelphi University with a bachelor’s degree in music and music history. Within months of graduation, Alex’s internship at Brooklyn Fire Proof, a production company, turned into a job where he works three days as an assistant inventory manager. He recently had an acting role in one of the films produced by the company. Other days he volunteers for a non-profit that brings art to children in public schools, and he sings in the Peace of Heart Choir. He joined a local synagogue and works out in a nearby gym with support from a mentor.
The program also facilitates various activities of interest to members. Another feature of the program is the Social Understanding Group which meets every other week to develop and strengthen social connections and discuss issues of common interest. This is how members describe the group: Our group meets every other Thursday evening and has for five years. We all hit a spot on the autism spectrum. We talk about our lives, our jobs, our college courses, our families and our friends. We laugh a lot. Sometimes we head out to museums or to hear live music, or to sing Karaoke, or to do yoga in the park. We empathize, argue, comfort and debate, teach and learn.
For eligibility, click here
Job Path’s Medicaid Service Coordinators (MSCs) are strong advocates who assist the people they work with to identify what they want out of life – whether it’s living in their own home, having a job, pursuing interests and hobbies, having a “circle of friends,” and/or participating in community life. Then they connect them to services, supports and organizations that can help them achieve these goals. Mariangela, a young woman in her twenties, wanted to meet people and learn how to travel independently. Mariangela’s MSC connected her to travel training classes and now she uses the subway on her own. Her MSC helped her sign up for acting classes and other social activities. Mariangela now has a group of friends she meets up with regularly including evenings and weekends. And she just got hired by the Mary McDowell Friends School.
Our MSCs are there in crisis situations to untangle bureaucracy and to make sure the person, as well as the entire family, is supported to handle the emergency. Job Path’s MSCs help people navigate public assistance programs, including the offices of Food Stamps, Medicaid and Social Security.
• When a fire destroyed Alvena’s apartment, the MSC applied for a grant so she could receive financial assistance to buy new furniture.
• An MSC recently obtained housing and support for a young man who was homeless.
• Another young man we support is a high school graduate who often didn’t leave his room. The MSC applied for a family-supports paid weekend vacation. Much to the surprise of his family, he went to the Poconos and loved it.
“I would like to say from personal experience what a phenomenal group of talented, caring professionals the service coordinators are. Thank you from all the lucky families you serve!” – parent of a son served by Job Path’s MSCs.
For eligibility, click here
Westside Connections is a parent-initiated program that represents a partnership between Job Path, a group of parents and Adaptations, a social program at the JCC of Manhattan. Westside Connections offers the support of a group home without the group home. People have their own apartments but live near one another. Everyone has the personalized supports they need to manage their households and participate in community life. Director Lauren Enos manages the day-to-day details and helps connect the young people to one another and to community life.
The Urban Innovations Project supports young adults to find opportunities for connection and contribution in their local Harlem neighborhoods. Each Urban Innovator is making an impact based on his or her unique gifts and interests. Whether it is working at a part-time job, volunteering, making art, performing, dancing, learning to crochet, writing poetry, gardening, or learning a new skill, everyone is moving towards making a difference in his or her community.
Since the project’s beginning, just three years ago, there have been many opportunities for partnerships. Urban Innovations has collaborated with many Harlem organizations, artists and community leaders to enrich their community.
One of the project’s most successful endeavors is the Free Little Library Project which distributes free books to the community via small container libraries. Urban Innovators planted the first Free Little Library in the Harlem Success Garden followed by two in Marcus Garvey Park. Today, there are a dozen libraries operating on the “take a book, leave a book” mantra. Beginning in the summer of 2014, the Little Free Libraries have distributed approximately 4,000 books.
Urban Innovators have recently created their own line of handmade products called “Revolutionary Seeds” under the guidance of local Harlem artists. The “Revolutionary Seeds” product line features one of a kind, Harlem inspired products including clipboards, jewelry boxes, coaster sets, hand-woven rugs, t-shirts, tote-bags, and flower bombs. One hundred percent of the profits from The Revolutionary Seeds product line go back to the artists, most of whom face significant barriers to traditional employment.
*Harlem Share: Deepening Connections from the Inside Out was an all day happening sponsored by Job Path and the organizations listed.
For more information about Urban Innovations, please contact Stephanie Wong-You at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the Community
Job Path staff create ways to celebrate community life by forging meaningful relationships in the communities where the people we support live and work. As a staff member noted, “We are trying to create spaces without labels. Spaces where people can come as they are, celebrate and connect.” As one example of our efforts, *Figment Festival is an interactive arts festival held on Governor’s Island. For the 2013 event, Job Path created a participatory art installation that explored the theme: “A world that works for everybody.” Visitors were asked to “Be audacious and picture a world where there is no separation between people. Choose a door. Share your gifts and then share your vision.” Every person who came to a doorway shared his own talent in return.
Job Path services are available to New York City residents 18 or older who have a documented developmental disability, such as autism, intellectual disability, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, or a traumatic brain injury incurred before age 22.
- For Employment Services, individuals must be certified by ACCES-V.R., in most cases, and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).Job Path staff can help with the certification process.
- For Community Supports, individuals must be eligible for Medicaid and have OPWDD eligibility.
- For Supported Living Services, individuals must be eligible for Medicaid and have OPWDD eligibility.
- For our Life Coaching Program, individuals must have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and must be eligible for Medicaid and have OPWDD eligibility.
- For our Medicaid Service Coordination, individuals must be a Medicaid recipient and have OPWDD eligibility.
Click here for more information about Job Path’s application process.