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How The Choice Group Counseling Program Leads To Employment Success

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At The Choice Group, the goal of counseling is to provide a safe, accepting, and non-judgmental place where individuals can explore issues in confidence. Our goal is for the therapist and client to become a team that explores the client’s strengths, values, fears, and difficulties together. Many of our clients are on the autism spectrum. One such client had been told by a previous employer that he was never going to be able to hold a professional position. Before working with The Choice Group, this individual didn’t have a job coach and was terminated from many previous positions due to challenges with interacting with female coworkers. When The Choice Group manager Shadi Zadeh first met this client about six years ago, he was in his forties, held a Ph.D., and had been working off-and-on for years. By working with our counseling program, he has held down a position as an engineer making $42 an hour with the opportunity for consistent raises and the trust to work from home. Our client

Project SEARCH Helped Sean Find His Passion

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  Rita Dee, a counselor on our Hampton Roads team, has seen first-hand how our Project SEARCH program sets our clients up for success. Sean Thomas-Rowe completed the program five years ago and, since Rita came on board as his counselor, she has seen how well Sean has done in his professional role.  In 2017, Sean accepted a position working with a non-profit that helps families build and improve potential places they can call home. He is in charge of updating the website and handling graphic design requests from his management team. Rita credits Sean’s positive impact at work to his interest in computers, his ability to master programs like Photoshop, and his background in website coding. Seans’ evaluations are always outstanding. His graphic designs have been used on multiple flyers, T-Shirts, and on the website. He has an extreme level of dedication, often double-checking work orders as a part of his routine and honing his graphic design skills in his spare time.   Rita has encouraged

Staple Programs Provide Social Skills That Lead to Success

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Since The Choice  in 1998, our CEO, Chris Lavach makes sure every program reflects our mission of being a commitment to excellence in meeting our clients’ needs while respecting their individuality and right to make life choices. That can definitely be said about our Afterschool Pathways and Pre-ETS programs.  The Afterschool Pathways program is a job readiness club that is a group service available to transition students and can take place in high schools, in the community and virtually. Focusing on pre-employment and the five core areas outlined in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA), activities can include career interest inventories, job exploration counseling, workplace readiness training to develop social and independent living skills, counseling on postsecondary education and training opportunities, instruction in self-advocacy, and financial literacy. Students finish the program with a digital portfolio that includes a resume, completed application and c

Billy Kraus: A Counselor on the Move

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For over two decades The Choice Group has dedicated its time to helping our clients find fulfillment in the workplace. As counselors, it has been a joy seeing our hundreds of clients reach milestones and share their achievements over the years.  Ericka Neville is one of our managers for the Hampton Roads area. It is not uncommon for Ericka’s employees to thrive when they enter into the workforce --Billy Kraus is no different. Billy has been with The Choice Group since December 2020. He started as a vocational counselor and since been promoted to a Senior Counselor. Our counselors provide a safe, accepting and non-judgmental space for our clients. Counseling at The Choice Group is a win-win—allowing counselors like Billy to work together with his group to develop in the individuals a sense of confidence and well-being. Along with working as a counselor, Billy leads a program under our PEERS Program. His program focuses on developing social skills for students to make and keep friends. T

Summer Pre-Employment Transition Program

Pre-Employment Transitions Took place over the summer. Christy Stegman and Cate Engel were the people in charge.  There was a total of three groups, two groups worked at a national pharmacy and the other group worked at a coffee shop. This was unpaid training opportunities.  This was also in person and not virtual.  Program ended in August. It's important to celebrate students with disabilities and help them develop career pathways.  Summer Pre-Employment Transition Program At The Choice Group, we strive to help our clients find meaningful employment that integrates into a full and enriching lifestyle for them. We believe that no matter the obstacles one may face, they deserve to be presented with equal opportunity, recognized, and celebrated. One of the ways we have been able to go above and beyond for our clients to meet these markers over the past 17 years is through our Pre-Employment Transition services. We partner with DARS and participate in award-winning programs to help sh