Workforce Development Support
The Kennedy Collective provides comprehensive Workforce Development Support services to help people with disabilities find an ideal position. The team will spend time with you – learning about your skills, abilities, interests and goals – so that a job match can be identified and secured. With a deep knowledge of the local job market, The Kennedy Collective employment staff can provide you with insight about job opportunities that are both rewarding and close by.
Career Counseling & Career Planning
Because knowing what you want as a career can be very confusing, The Kennedy Collective vocational staff can help you identify a career path that best suits your interests. A conversation will cover all aspects of what makes you a good worker – your employment history, your skill sets, your personality, and your personal goals.
By taking the time to understand you personally, The Kennedy Collective team can more effectively find a job that is a right match for you.
It is very common to feel uncertain about what job you want to do, or what aspects of a job you would be best at. The Kennedy Collective offers you the opportunity to explore career options before making a firm decision. A Working Evaluation is designed to identify your skills and abilities in a particular job setting. The evaluation also helps show what limitations you may have – so that ways to work around those limitations may be planned, or additional skills may be taught, to turn a limitation into a strength.
The goal of the Working Evaluation is strictly to learn about your abilities – so there is no job offer at the conclusion of the evaluation. You will be paid minimum wage during the evaluation. The evaluation length will vary based upon the referral made by your funding provider.
Once you complete your evaluation, your team will get together to discuss your progress and future planning. At that point, you and your team may decide to pursue a Working Interview or Individual Planning & Job Placement.
Individual Planning & Job Placement
To prepare you for successful job placement, The Kennedy Collective team does Individual Planning to help you identify a career path, find employment opportunities that meet your needs, speak with employers about your skills, and train you to become a productive employee.
Job Placement is done through two programs: The Kennedy Collective Placement Program and The Kennedy Collective Mental Health Work Services Program.
You are hired directly by the company, and you are paid a competitive wage for that position by the employer. In some cases, a vocational staff person may be present during the beginning of your employment to provide you Job Training & Support.
If you receive clinical services from Greater Bridgeport Community Mental Health Center or LifeBridge Community Services, additional employment-related assistance is provided through our Mental Health Work Services.
The Kennedy Collective is also an Employment Network for the Ticket-to-Work Program, and can use your ticket to help you find employment.
The Kennedy Collective Job Placement programs are funded by the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, BESB, and the Department of Developmental Services.
Joint Community Placement
If you are interested in working near other people with disabilities, Joint Community Placement may be a good fit. Joint Community Placement is where multiple individuals may work at a community employment setting, across different departments and locations. Typically, there is one site supervisor who is assigned to the setting, and provides guidance to all members on an individual basis.
The Working Interview service from The Kennedy Collective addresses common stresses when people with disabilities prepare to enter the workforce – feeling uncomfortable during an interview, being unsure about the best way to impress the employer, getting nervous about the job tasks in front of you.
With the Working Interview, you can try out a job before committing to take the job – which also allows an employer to try you out before they commit to hiring you. In a Working Interview, you will work in the job position as if the employer has hired you. If the employer approves of your performance, they may offer you the job, and you may accept.
You will be paid minimum wage by The Kennedy Collective for the duration of your interview. Once hired by the employer, you are awarded the prevailing wage that the employer pays anyone else starting in that position.
Group Supported Employment
Some individuals with disabilities may require consistent coaching and supervision in order to meet the employer’s production and quality standards. If you are funded by the Department of Developmental Services, you may be able to obtain employment in a Group Supported Employment site or at a Joint Community Placement.
Generally, a Group Supported Employment site may have 6-8 individuals working together, with one site supervisor present who helps facilitate the group in meeting the production and quality standards. Tasks may vary, from three-step assemblies to more complex functions.
Job Training & Support
Starting your new job can be an exciting, but overwhelming, process. Job Training & Support, also known as Job Coaching, is a one-to-one service provided by The Kennedy Collective to help you meet all the expectations set forth by your employer.
A vocational staff member works with you, at your job site, to develop strategies and show you specific ways to perform your job more effectively. Your tasks will be broken down into manageable pieces, so that you continuously experience success. We will help you compensate for deficits, and collaborate with your colleagues, so that the work gets done – and so that you feel good about it. Individuals who do a Working Interview and use our Job Placement Programs often access this service.
Individualized Supported Employment
For some people with disabilities, the Job Training & Support services may not be enough to fully succeed at every task – and you may require more ongoing support in order to meet the production and quality goals of your employer. In this case, The Kennedy Collective offers an Individualized Supported Employment service – which is a limited access program funded by the Department of Developmental Services (and in certain cases, by the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services EOP Program).
Job coaches are available to assist you with learning new tasks, communicating with your supervisors, learning time management skills, and identifying other areas where you may need assistance.
Individualized Day Options
If you are a working person with disabilities who is funded by the Department of Developmental Services – and are looking for more ongoing support or training – Individualized Day Options from The Kennedy Collective may be right for you. Individualized Day Options provide the opportunity to explore further employment, volunteering or educational development to meet your goals. You are given one-to-one support and training in specific areas – while you, your team, and The Kennedy Collective come up with a mutually-agreed upon plan for what support can be provided moving forward.
Mental Health Work Services
The Mental Health Work Services program helps individuals with disabilities obtain and maintain competitive employment in the community. Using the Individual Placement and Support model developed by Dartmouth University, The Kennedy Collective Employment Specialists work as integrated members of the clinical teams that you may receive services from. This ensures that all your needs are met, and everyone that is a part of your support team is a part of your employment process.
Work can be an integral part of a person’s mental health. All the individual needs is to be interested in finding or keeping a job. If you are interested in expanding your employment options, please talk to your clinician or case manager.
The Kennedy Collective Mental Health Work Services are funded by The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), and work with Greater Bridgeport Community Mental Health Center and LifeBridge Community Services in Bridgeport, Connecticut, as well as the Western Connecticut Mental Health Network-Waterbury, Waterbury Hospital and Catholic Charities in Waterbury, Connecticut.
Let’s Discuss Job Opportunities
The Kennedy Collective Supported Employment Team would love to have a discussion about how you or someone you love can get placed into a rewarding job. Please provide some initial information, and a team member will be in touch with you.