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Career Story: Job Placement Case Manager For The Developmentally Disabled

Job Placement Case Manager For The Developmentally Disabled

Job Title: Case Manager

Type of Company: The company I work for is dedicated to improving the quality of life and sense of self-worth for families living in Massachusetts. They have developed a comprehensive network of programs which assist individuals with or without disabilities. We provide and staff residential homes for individuals with all levels of disabilities; we provide financial assistance via WIC (Women, Infants & Children); and we provide employment assistance to individuals with disabilities who want competitive community employment.

Education: Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services Health & Human Service Certificate

Previous Experience: I worked as residential staffer in a group home with five quadriplegic men. I was (and still am) a PCA in several group homes working with individuals with disabilities.

Job Tasks: I work as a Case Manager in our Employment Services Program. Our clients are primarily referred to us through the Massachusetts Department of Disabilities Services. All of our clients have been diagnosed with a developmental disability. We assist these individuals to find competitive community-based employment. My job description changes based on the specific needs of the person I am currently working with. This morning, for example, I will be meeting with a woman for "job development," assisting her with her job search. While we search the internet and newspaper listings we will also discuss appropriate attire, transportation options and her communication skills. The goal is to prepare her for the application and interview process. When she gets an interview we will meet to prepare for that more specifically, reviewing questions she may be asked as well as how she should conduct herself during the interview.

When one of our people gets a job we then go in with them and assist with their training. This part of my job is called "job coaching". Sometimes we will break down a task for the individual to better help him understand it. At other times we may assist the individual with mediation should they feel they need an accommodation to help them do their job. An example of a reasonable accommodation request would be a wheelchair-accessible workspace so that the person can maneuver and get his job done to the best of his ability. Our goal is to slowly withdraw from the job coaching aspect as the person becomes more independent. At that point we maintain regular contact to be sure all is going well. We will also maintain regular contact with the employer to be certain they are happy with the work our individual is doing.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of this particular job is seeing someone with a disability find his place in the working community and watching his level of confidence rise.

The worst part of this job is dealing with the community's misunderstanding of the people I work with. We work very hard to continue to educate the community about the disabled. Although the community view is changing, it's changing slowly.

Job Tips:
1. Make sure you are truly cut out to do this kind of work. Not everyone has the kind of patience it requires. 2. Stay in school. Starting out as direct-care worker is great, but stay in school and get your degree so you can continue to move within this field. The criteria for many jobs are changing. Most positions above direct-care require at least an Associate's degree.

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