Finding a Path to Employment


What are the types of vocational resources that might help with choosing?

When helping your family member with the choosing process, it is worth taking some time to explore his or her readiness for making vocational decisions. To help a family member to consider readiness, you might support him/her to develop a personal folder. Inside the folder would be materials such as a profile of personal/vocational values; a list of those in his/her network (family, friends, neighbors, and professionals) who can help; draft of a resume; list of job search websites; where to find or acquire clothing for an interview.

Assessing readiness includes diagnosing the need (level of satisfaction and/or success in a current roles), commitment (beliefs about personal abilities, importance, benefits of and supports for change), environmental awareness (knowledge about potential future environments), self-awareness (knowledge about personal preferences, values, and interests), and personal closeness (perspective about the quality / type of interactions with practitioners). If your family member has concerns that seem to be getting in the way of “readiness,” you can assist him/her in making a list of those perceived barriers to employment (can be actual barriers or perceptions). Identify any barriers that might limit your family member’s confidence, hope, or motivation.

Community resources that may be helpful for your family member in the choosing process include: America’s Job Centers (One-stops), state Vocational Rehabilitation agencies, Rehabilitation-oriented (ICCD) Clubhouses, Supported Employment programs, and Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams.

For veterans, there is a four phase process of making employment choices through the Department of Veterans Affairs. The first three phases: assess, explore, and plan may be most relevant to choosing. A veteran may go back and forth to these phases before getting settled into one action plan.

Sometimes a person might access more than one program at a time i.e. get supports from one program but actual job development from another. The Ticket to Work (SSA) maintains a list of vocational rehabilitation providers and a description of their services.There may be additional resources for special populations such as homeless (Project Return) or transition age youth (18-25 years old). (U. Mass) For those still in school, the school can be helpful in a number of ways if the administration is aware that the student person needs help. The school might provide part time employment through a work study program or internship.(NCSET)

For the purposes of making vocational choices, it is good to find someone like an Employment Specialist that the family member trusts and who is invested in helping him or her develop a successful future. Typically the resources that help with deciding on a vocational choice are the same resources that help the person set and reach employment goals. Tools available on the internet can also help the job seeker to explore possibilities at their leisure.

Mass CIS

This is a tool for career and school counselors, job seekers, students, and educators. It provides information and tools to help people make better-informed career and school choices. (free in MA. but available from University of Oregon)


My Career Story

This is a workbook in which the job seeker tells his/her own career story.



Search a variety of occupations based upon criteria such as personal interests, work values, and work environment.


International Center for Clubhouse Development (ICCD)

ICCD helps communities around the world create ICCD Clubhouses, which are community centers that give people with mental illnesses hope & opportunities to reach their full potential.


National Resource Directory

This website connects service members, veterans, and their families and caregivers with the resources and people who support them. Note: resources include vocational resources.


Military to Civilian Occupation Translator

The Military to Civilian Occupation Translator helps service members match military skills & experience to civilian occupations.


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How can I help my family member…

Think About Work
Find a Path to Employment
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