Career Story: Advocate For The Disabled And Human Services Administrator

Advocate For The Disabled And Human Services Administrator

Job Title: Human Services Administrator

Type of Company: I work for a state agency that provides services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Education: BA, Psychology and Sociology, SUNY-Cortland •• MA, Rehabilitation counseling, Michigan State University

Previous Experience: I did an internship as part of my graduate school experience and then was hired at a children's hospital where I remained for 18 years providing services to children and young adults with developmental disabilities. I also worked on many federal grants and conducted training, helped develop new programs and consulted with community organizations.

Job Tasks: I work on developing programs and services that are needed by and will benefit children and adults with disabilities and their families. This involves advocacy for funding in the state budget, development of policies and procedures regarding eligibility for services and how services should be delivered, putting proposals out to bid for the delivery of services, and evaluating and monitoring of services.

I work with staff in our agency across the state and also collaborate with other human service agencies and private, not-for-profit service provider organizations. I also meet with individuals with disabilities and their families to learn what is important to them, what needs they have that are not being met by our services and ways to build on the things that work well.

I provide training on a variety of topics for different audiences including other human service agency staff, individuals with disabilities, educators and families. I am involved in collecting and analyzing data and writing reports. I also work on developing a variety of written products such as manuals, reports, and resource guides. I also am involved in writing federal grants to implement new programs and design different models for providing services. This can involve working with other grantees from other states across the country and attending national project meetings.

A lot of my work is done as part of different work groups and teams.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is when I am successful, with others, in helping to implement new services, develop new programs or policies, or get new funding that will be beneficial to many individuals with disabilities and their families. It also feels good when I know I have been successful in doing something that makes a big difference in the life of one person. I also like the variety of projects I work on and the different people I get to work with in my office, across the state, and sometimes across the country.

The worst part of the job is working in a bureaucracy, which means that it can take a long time to get things done, change occurs slowly, and our work is directly affected by the state budget.

Job Tips:
1. Having good communication skills and the ability to work as part of a team and with lots of different people is critical, so work on developing these skills as well as ways to mediate problems and work collaboratively toward a common goal.

2. Get different experiences volunteering or working in different human and social service agencies to figure out what type of work and setting you are most interested in.

3. Develop your writing skills. A lot of writing is required on the job.

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