Cornell University Article Features Work Incentive Specialist

Congratulations to Milton for being interviewed in Cornell's latest article about work benefits. Read his section of the article here, link to the full story included.
"For a person who wants to rely less on disability-related benefits from the government and more on their own income, it can be challenging to best use the available benefits and work incentives." 
Fortunately, The Choice Group's Milton Johnson (profiled by Cornell) can offer the guidance to help clients navigate these programs and find individualized solutions."
For a person who wants to rely less on disability-related benefits from the government and more on their own income, it can be challenging to best use the available benefits and work incentives. Milton Johnson, a former student in the unique Work Incentive Practitioner Credential program at the Yang-Tan Institute (YTI) and an employee at The Choice Group, knows about this both personally and professionally. Prior to joining The Choice Group i…

Covid-19 Announcement

A message from the CEO:

The impact of COVID-19 has been far-reaching and historic. As the virus continues to threaten the world, we remain hopeful, yet we do not know when an end to this pandemic will be in sight. We are indeed in uncharted waters.
The Choice Group remains focused on our mission and on the health and well-being of all those we serve. We are taking every precaution as we continue to provide essential services in the community. The Choice Group is committed to providing services while providing resources, education and training to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the many communities around the Commonwealth that we proudly serve.
The Choice Group is continually staying up to date with local, state and federal authorities and complying with all mandates and directives. Our dedicated staff is working virtually with clients as much as possible. The leadership team at The Choice Group is meeting each day to respond to this rapidly evolving and challenging time.

Rebecca's Enthusiasm!

“I love it here. I am able to go to work, eat dinner, and start working. And then I go home to my own apartment and care for my cats.” Two years ago, Rebecca was living in a group home in New Jersey and was working at a local retail store. Although she loved living there, she wanted to be closer to her family and have a cat. 
When she moved back to Virginia and into her parents’ home, she wanted to find a job to start earning and saving money. That’s when she met Kate and the pair began searching for a job. At the same time that she was working with Kate, Rebecca was also working with her Case Manager to help find an apartment in Charlottesville. Together, Rebecca and her Vocational Counselor applied and interviewed for over 9 different jobs. And when Rebecca attended a job fair in Charlottesville with a food service company, she was offered a job. 
At the same time she interviewed to work at the dining hall, she moved into her own apartment. Rebecca has worked at Runk Dining Hall at…

Cameron's Heavy Lifting

Cameron and his counselor, Nancy, set out to find him employment with a goal of working in a hardware store. In May of 2016, he became employed at the Lowe's in Suffolk through the Supported Employment program. 

Cameron is hardworking, reliable, loves manual labor, and cares about other people.

The challenge came because of his specificity about working in a hardware store. There are a very limited number of hardware stores or stores in general in his area of Hampton Roads. His mom drives him to work so he and Nancy had to look in Suffolk, Franklin and Windsor for positions. These are relatively rural areas with limited numbers of stores, especially hardware stores.

However, he found a job! Cameron is a Loader but often helps the team in other departments by collecting carts, helping customers load their cars, stocking, restocking, filling the water tank for employees, assisting customers, helping with any heavy lifting, and helping the team solve problems.

To help him stay on task, N…

Nicholas' Communication Journey

Nicholas expressed interest in stocking, and was open to stocking anywhere.  His vocational counselor, Alexandra, went in person to the employer several times to advocate for him.  He doesn't communicate verbally so Alexandra worked with him to create a "one pager" for the employer.  Nicholas used a communication device to type out his one pager, explaining why he wanted to work for the employer, and a little bit about himself. He was open about his communication challenges, however that he was just like everyone else.

Nicholas is friendly, and outgoing. He does not let his disability hold him back, and although he cannot always communicate with customers, he always offers a smile and directs guests to an associate if they have questions.  He is detail orientated, remains focused at work and always has a smile on his face.

Alexandra assisted him with developing strategies to communicate with his employer, as well as customers in non-verbal ways.  They created a communicati…

Vocational Counselor Position

Vocational Counselors Needed in Various Parts of the State!

Are you searching for a job that’s not “just a job?” Are you looking to break free from a traditional 9-5 work week? Are you passionate about helping people succeed in becoming independent? We help people with disabilities live up to their abilities! 

We are looking for dedicated people to join our team in our mission to help our clients find meaningful employment. This position will primarily serve clients in the community in the Farmville, Harrisonburg, Winchester, Chesapeake, Williamsburg, Fredericksburg, Richmond, Roanoke, Manassas, Leesburg or Fairfax areas. Our programs provide support for individuals with varying abilities in finding and maintaining successful, integrated employment in the community. 

Compensation is excellent and based on experience, education, and additional applicable skills Requirements: This position requires a dedicated person to be a self-starter with great time management skills. This is a communi…

Alyssa's Caffeinated Adventure!

Heather started working with Alyssa in May of 2019 when Alyssa participated in the DARS (Department for Aging & Rehabilitative Services) Pre-ETS program. Pre-ETS stands for Pre-Employment Transition Services.  Heather and Alyssa continued to work together under DARS through situational assessments to try out various tasks. Two things were clear: Alyssa loves to help people and to follow a routine. In October 2019, she was hired at Stand Up Coffee!

During assessments, it was determined that Alyssa does well with a rountine and likes to be around people or helping people. It was determined that Alyssa's preferences were to work on a sales floor or in a production type of position. Together, Alyssa and Heather made a list of employers in the town of Orange where Alyssa could get transportation.

One day, while Heather was contacting employers to ask about open positions and discuss Alyssa's abilities, she called Stand Up Coffee. About 30 minutes prior to the phone call, th…