By Jamie Leboe
When I was in high school, I thought that I wanted to go into fashion. I didn’t want to be a fashion designer, but I liked shopping and putting clothes together. Was that a job? Well, in fact, it was. Living in Baltimore with my family, I assumed most fashion opportunities were in locations like New York City and Los Angeles. I had no idea if there were opportunities to get started in or learn about the business close to home. So I moved on.
Looking back, it would have been nice to have someone to help me find those opportunities, or at least suggest I get my “hands dirty” trying out jobs adjacent to my desired industry before deciding what I wanted to do for a career. I would have been grateful to have the opportunity to discover what my ideal career path was by doing some work trials or job shadowing.
Now with a service called Discovery, individuals who have diagnosed developmental disabilities and receive DDA funding can do just that, discover what their interests and abilities are and how they align with a great job. At JCS we provide this service and to do that we call in anyone and everyone who loves you and you want to join. Here’s how it works:
- All the family and friends who can speak to your most positive traits gather together. We start with a home meeting where we get to know you and learn all about your best qualities. For example, with Client A, we spoke to family members and learned that he loves to cook and spend time at a local restaurant where the owner loves to see him when he comes in.
- Then using all this wonderful information that we’ve gathered, we work to find you some great mini work experiences. Based on what we learned about Client A, we went to the local restaurant and told the owner how much Client A loves to cook and spend time at the restaurant.
- Once you’ve completed those work experiences, we come back to the table and brainstorm with those family and friends who joined us in the beginning. We facilitated a morning for Client A to shadow employees at the restaurant, trying different tasks. Client A and his case manager were able to create a position with the restaurant owner that filled a need for the restaurant.
- We put all our networks together to increase the opportunity to find you the best job that we can. We spoke with Client A’s case manager and the restaurant owner and created a position for Client A that he loves.
This process is all about teamwork. It’s a collective effort to help you achieve your goals and discover the best job opportunity for you. To learn more about the Discovery program, call 410-466-9200.
Jamie Leboe is a Career Coach with Jewish Community Services Economic Support Services
JCS is a comprehensive human services organization providing a broad range of services that meet the diverse, multi-dimensional needs of individuals and families throughout Central Maryland. To learn more, visit jcsbalt.org or call 410-466-9200.