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Service Collaboration with Omar

Detroit Customized Employment Project: Detroit Partners for Customized Employment

Omar is a man with Cerebral Palsy who has been very committed to reaching his employment goals. In the past, however, Omar has experienced barriers to achieving his goals because of his disability and others' perceptions of him as a worker. He knew that additional supports were necessary in order to reach his full potential. In fact, Omar had already established a strong support network and was involved with many other agencies, yet he was still unemployed.

Upon receiving a Ticket to Work in the mail, Omar called Detroit's Workforce Development Department to get more information about this Social Security work incentive. He learned how he could use the Ticket toward his work goals, as well as how the Detroit One-Stop system could provide additional employment services, such as customized employment, for job seekers with disabilities. This was the step that would ultimately result in a first job in Omar's preferred career path.

The Detroit Partners for Customized Employment Projects' Systems Navigator provided an entry point to the system, providing information as well as assistance with accessing the various services available for job seekers with disabilities. They helped him to connect with the WIA Case Manager for intensive employment services.

She worked with Omar to identify the many skills and abilities that he has to offer to the workplace, such as his educational credentials, which include a Bachelor's degree with a dual major. He was also actively enrolled in a Master’s Degree program in Rehabilitation. Omar’s determination, initiative and strong commitment to achieving his employment goals were clearly going to benefit any future employer.

Omar knew that he wanted to work in the Human Services field, but had never been provided the opportunity to do so. His inexperience and lack of training were preventing him from getting a foot in the door. Detroit's workforce system provided a number of services to support him. He attended a job club provided through one of the partners. Through the development of a service delivery team, Detroit's Work Place pulled together all of the players in Omar's life who have been or could be contributing to his employment goals. His WIA Case Manager, family, social network, and Customized Support team worked together to deliver the services Omar needed. They met to discuss tasks that Omar is competent in performing, his knowledge, skill sets, employment preferences and contributions.

This unified, wrap around approach proved quite effective. Using the resources of all members of the team, specific employers in the community were identified. The Case Manager approached the employer of Evergreen Children's Services and talked about how Omar could contribute to his organization. The employer then scheduled an interview with Omar and was impressed with his credentials, skills, and commitment. The employer's needs seemed to be a good match with Omar’s skills.

The following points were negotiations with the employer throughout the hiring process to ensure that Omar could perform at his potential, while meeting his employer's needs:

This customization of job functions allowed the stress of new job to be kept to a minimum, making the transition very manageable for Omar. These supports, from the individualized assessment process to the negotiation process with the employer, provided an opportunity not previously available, allowing Omar to begin his journey on a new career path.

For more information, contact:

Pat Chatman
Customized Employment Manager
pchatman@goodwilldetroit.org

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