For Ken, this means he will be competing against a larger number of candidates than he normally would. While he is protected somewhat by the anti-discrimination statutes, Ken will find that his lack of recent work experience and lack of higher education will limit his job prospects. There remain, however, some careers that can help Ken. EmployRI has a networking center and Ken will need to become accustomed to working with that in order to find opportunities for himself.
Ken will be responsible for the bulk of the work in his job search. He will receive guidance from this department with regards to supervision and guidance. Within two weeks, a case worker will be assigned to monitor Ken's progress. Within four weeks, we would like Ken to have a short list of potential employers and have completed the different assessments of his skills. Within two months, we would like Ken to have received training with respect to job interviews, online job searching and resume writing. It is hoped that shortly thereafter Ken can begin the process of informational interviews, and begin his job search in earnest after the three-month mark. There should be regular progress reports, perhaps weekly, as Ken will need fairly strict monitoring to ensure that he is handling the process well. However, he will need to do most of the work himself, since it is this independence that we are trying to foster in Ken.
Ken is in a difficult situation, being faced with a challenging employment market, few marketable skills and multiple mental disorders. Although Ken is moderately functional in his everyday life, he has become so based on routine. A job search will disrupt this routine. Ken has little family support and few friends, so he will need a high level of support from the community for his job search. Ken also has little knowledge of how to acquire a job, having not had to do so for over twenty years. It is believed, however, there are a number of potential positions for Ken, and he has expressed an interest in returning to working with food.
The process of putting together a plan for somebody with so much uncertainty and so many obstacles has been difficult. The approach taken was that Ken was essentially entering the workforce for the first time, since his past experiences have little bearing on his future employment. This is why, for example, the CareerScope test was selected, because it reflects the process of narrowing down options for those whose career is current an open book. The plan that is in place will help Ken to gain the basic skills that he needs in order to compete in today's difficult job market. It will also help Ken to guide his search by narrowing his focus at the outset of the process. Lastly, the plan set in place will see that Ken is aware of the support resources available, and to provide assistance to Ken in the form of regular support meetings. As a result, Ken will be better prepared to handle the rigors of the job search. In addition, there will be support to ensure that he is able to meet his day-to-day requirements over the course of his search and subsequent employment. After ten years, this step is necessary because it will help to ensure that Ken is ready to take this step in his life.
This is also a learning opportunity for us. Ken is a challenge, but the process of finding work is not that much different than for anybody else. The most important thing is that Ken has the support he needs throughout this process. It will be disorienting and there may be setbacks in the timeline, but ultimately we believe that Ken can rejoin the workforce. His medication has him stabilized, and he has retained the strong work ethic he had before his illness became too much. The approach taken therefore reflects that we believe Ken is capable of rejoining the workforce as an independent individual. With additional counseling and support in order to ensure that the challenges of job-hunting do not discourage him, we are encouraged by the prospect of finding Ken a new permanent position, even in this difficult economy.
Mast, M. & Callahan, M. (no date). The vocational profile and the profile meeting: A process not a form. Rural Institute. Retrieved February 17, 2011 from http://ruralinstitute.umt.edu/transition/vocationalprofile.asp
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