Finding a Path to Employment


What can we expect when our family member is trying to choose a vocational goal?

Ambivalence is not uncommon when individuals are struggling with employment goals. They may be ambivalent about working (at all) and ambivalent about which specific route to take or type of job to select. If there are other factors such as transportation problems, child care, elder care or medical complications, the choosing of a goal becomes even more complicated.
In such cases, Motivational Interviewing is a particularly helpful technique that service providers might use to move the process along. It helps the job seeker to think about vocational goals based on interests, abilities, limitations, dreams, opportunities and options.
One of the most important aspects of choosing is piecing together the relevant information: about one’s self and about the potential types of work, requirements, availability, and labor market trends. The key to success in employment is matching the values of the job seeker and the employment setting. (Kirsh) No one Employment Specialist or Counselor can know all the information that might be needed about all jobs/careers. However, the most important factor is whether the Employment Specialist (or the job seeker), has access to the information. When the job seeker is working to narrow down interests, s/he may need assistance in building readiness for employment. A plan for employment should be developed in which the job seeker identifies some potential options, related information, labor market trends, personal values and other important factors. The Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation promotes the Choose, Get, Keep model of rehabilitation planning. Ultimately, a plan can be drafted that outlines one or two goals and what each person needs to accomplish to achieve the goals (the who, what, where and when). This approach begins with a rehabilitation diagnosis of skills and limitations, a plan of action and the intervention to be used. (Rogers)
If your family member has an Employment Specialist or someone to help, an employment plan is generally developed with the person. When the goal is finally established in print, your family member may have a new energy that can “spread” to the rest of the family and even to the service providers.

Occupational Outlook Handbook

Explore potential occupations through the US Department of Labor’s informational guide to hundreds of careers.


The 6 Reasons You’ll get that Job

Elisabeth (Harney) Sanders-Park’s book discusses the job-search & hiring processes from the employer’s perspective. Namely four ways to prove a candidate has what an employer wants, six tools to avoid being screened-out, & strategies for people with barriers to employment.


America’s Career Infonet

Explore the industry profile of any state to find the labor trends for each state and local area.


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