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Showing posts from July, 2016

Rhonda's Success with The Choice Group

Rhonda from Charlottesville loves the new found independence she gained from being employed! 

Rewarding, Fast Paced Career Opportunity as Vocational Counselor

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Do you have an interest, education or experience in human services? We have needs in many localities in Virginia. Put your skills and passions to work helping individuals with disabilities and Veterans achieve independence and employment. This is not an office job. Exact hours will depend on your clients' needs. You must have a valid driver’s license, dependable transportation, ability to plan your day and then shift gears, if necessary, to accommodate last-minute developments.

Job Description:

Provide supported employment, life skills training, and related services to persons with disabilities across Virginia. At least a Bachelor degree in a related field and related experience is required. Signing skills are a plus. This position requires a self-starter with computer and time management skills, who can work a flexible schedule. Good driving record and documentation of adequate insurance required. Compensation based on education, skills, and experience. Part Time and Full Time e…

Federal Funding Available to State Workforce Agencies

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This article originally appeared on DisabilityScoop.com



Feds Offer Up Millions to Boost Disability Employment
By Shaun Heasley

Millions of dollars are up for grabs designed to help states improve services for people with disabilities seeking work.

The U.S. Department of Labor said it is making $15.6 million available to states to increase participation by those with disabilities in education and training programs to prepare them for employment.

The funding will be distributed as eight grants ranging from $1.5 to $2.5 million apiece, the agency said.

At least one project will be selected focusing on each of three demographic groups — individuals ages 14 and up with significant disabilities, young people with disabilities ages 14 to 24 and adults with disabilities ages 18 and over.

“People with disabilities have tremendous talents and ideas to contribute to our workplaces, our communities and our nation’s economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez. “The funding … will help to pr…

Sean Lent's Success Story

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Sean Lent has worked at the Farm Fresh as a Courtesy Clerk in Smithfield for two years this August. He also sometimes helps in other departments when they are short-staffed. The managers love him, and Sean says it has helped him gain confidence and enabled him to purchase things like his cell phone. Sean has been a terrific client and one of the most hardworking clients I have known. Sean’s managers say he is dependable and does a great job. The managers have been incredibly supportive and have hired numerous clients over the years.
Nancy McNamara
Lead Vocational Counselor
Lead Vocational Counselor

Ethan's Success Story!

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I like to refer to Ethan as the "Big Ben" of our local Wegman's. As a diehard Pittsburg Steelers fan, Ethan certainly knows to take this as a compliment. He is approaching the completion of his first year of employment as a Helping Hands Cart Attendant and has consistently demonstrated a strong work ethic and winning attitude on and off the "field".

 Ethan began job assessments with me in 2015 and I quickly noted both his eagerness to learn and willingness to work. It was not long after beginning job development that Ethan interviewed for and was offered his current position at Wegman's. Despite this being his very first job, Ethan showed a high level of initiative and resolve through his initial training and was soon working independently to collect carts, greet customers and assist with carry-out orders. The Helping Hands position is a tough one as employees work outdoors in the summer and winter months, but Ethan has not once complained about his work. …

Companies Find Hiring Those With Autism Has Vast Benefits

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According to a report cited in this article, more than a third of individuals with autism aren't working or continuing education into their early 20s due to a "services cliff," that basically leaves them high and dry after high school with no vocational training or life skills during that early adulthood transition.  This is something that The Choice Group has fought to provide through programs like Project SEARCH and other outlets like on-site training from our vocational counselors.  It seems that many companies are taking note of this growing void and taking steps to make job positions more accessible to the one in 68 children that are diagnosed with autism and grow up to be valuable employees.

Jordan Allison, 21, who has autism, works as a swatch and button specialist in the special order department at Hart Schaffner Marx in Des Plaines, Ill. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/TNS)


Companies Find Hiring Those On The Spectrum Has Vast Benefits
By: Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz

Doug…

Kristopher Morris Finds More Than Success!

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Kristopher Morris has been working in Charlottesville at a well-known pharmacy & convenience store for almost 6 years!  Rosemary, a Choice Group vocational counselor, has been working with him since December of 2010 (when he got the job!) and notes a big difference between back then, and now.

When they first started working together, Kristopher had misgivings about joining the workforce.  Customer interaction gave him anxiety due to a hearing impairment.  He didn’t want to answer phones and definitely didn’t want to drive to work.  However, he told Rosemary that he was interested in photography so they both decided that a photo lab was a natural place to start.  Rosemary found a position open at the national drugstore chain in their photo lab, and it was close to Kristopher’s house so he didn’t have to drive!  She helped him apply and interview and he got the job that same month!

He began working running the photo lab and troubleshooting photo lab machine problems.  He eventually…

George Sanders found success through Project SEARCH

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Many of The Choice Group’s clientele are young adults that are transitioning from high school into employment.  One of the great programs we work with is Project SEARCH.  It’s an internship program where recently graduated students and young adults gain real world job experience, where they might not have had any before.  Participants must apply and interview for the internship positions much like any other job or internship.  It helps them build resumes for future positions as well!  While it’s not guaranteed that each participant will receive a job where they interned, if a student displays a great aptitude for the job, a great work ethic or attitude, often times they will be hired after the internship period is over.

That was the case for George!  When George Sanders came to the Project SEARCH program, he already had experience in the stock room, so after applying for an internship at Sentara Heart Hospital, they put him to work managing the 3 different store rooms in the Cardiac …

Chesapeake Program Provides Career Training for Student with Disabilities

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We are so happy to partner with Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, Virginia DARS, Virginia Department of Education, specifically Chesapeake public schools who are all working toward making Project SEARCH a success!  It is such a great opportunity for many talented and wonderful students in the area looking forward to bright careers ahead of them.  We already have so many success stories of students' accomplishments with Project SEARCH and we can't wait to facilitate even more!



Chesapeake program provides career training for students with disabilities
By Lisa Perkins and Julie Green

This year Chesapeake Public Schools entered into a collaborative relationship with Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, The Choice Group and the Virginia Department of Education to bring Project SEARCH to the school division.

Chesapeake Public Schools Project SEARCH is a school-to-work transition program that takes place entirely at Chesapeake Re…

How Michael & Son Changed My Life

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From the Blog of Michael & Son, comes one of our client's stories about how she found success!



How Michael & Son Changed My Life
By Shadi Tahrawi

My name is Kimberly Martin and I work as a Customer Service Representative at Michael and Son Services. Never in a million years would I have thought I would be in this place right now. A place where I can help others and also help myself. At one point I could only imagine this, looking back over my life and hearing people say “Kim, you can’t work anymore” and doctors saying “your health is not good anymore”, as this was being told to me, my mind was saying “God, you got this and I can’t just stop living”.

For seven years my mind was so congested, because all I knew was how to get up and go to work. I didn’t know how to just sit and do nothing. As my mind wandered, I went into a deep depression. I would not leave the house unless I needed to go to the store or pay bills. Life for me was over. One day I was sitting on the side of t…