Easterseals Midwest Employment Services equips participants to find and keep a job in the community. Once you have a job, a job coach will assist you during the training process until you are able to handle your job on your own. There is no time limit to how long we offer support services. Our primary goal to is provide the support you need to be successful.
The first step in your employment journey is Discovery. You will identify things about yourself, such as your reasons for working, conditions you may have in regards to a job, and what type of support needs you will have on the job.
The next step is Exploration. During this phase, you will be exploring different work environments. You will have the opportunity to conduct informational interviews, attend job shadowing opportunities, learn about positions in high demand, and try out different types of work that you have an interest in. The purpose of these exploration activities is to identify the type of job you want, the hours you are available to work, where you want to work, how you will get to and from work, and the supports you will need on the job.
Most Discovery and Exploration activities are completed within six weeks. This may take more or less time. It all depends on how quickly you identify what types of jobs you are interested in pursuing.
If you and your team feel you are ready, you will begin Job Development. Your Easterseals recruiter will assist you in obtaining a job of your choice which best matches your skills and support needs. You will receive assistance in creating a resume, setting up a professional email account, job preparation skills training, and interviews with employers. Job Development is a team approach that involves the support of your Easterseals recruiter, your Vocational Rehabilitation counselor, and most importantly, YOU!
This will vary based on your interests, the job market, and your employment experience. It is also based on your level of participation in finding employment. Currently, we are averaging about 15 weeks from the start of Job Development to job placement.
Your Easterseals employment team and Vocational Rehabilitation counselor are here to support you. However, you are the most essential participant of your team. Your Easterseals employment team will ask that you dress as if you are ready for an interview (business casual), be punctual for all appointments, contact your Easterseals recruiter if you are called regarding an interview, organize a list of employers that are hiring, and gather information for your resume (job references, names, dates, and addresses of previous employers).
An Easterseals job coach will be assigned to supplement your jobsite training. Although you will be trained by your employer, your job coach will also assist you in job training. Additionally, they will support you in adjusting to your new work environment. Your job coach will educate you in the skills needed to learn your specific job tasks. Part of this learning experience can include developing job aids or identifying accommodations to support you in completing your job tasks. Your job coach could also support you in developing skills you may need to successfully maintain your job. This could include helping you learn how to return from lunch break or how to accept constructive criticism from your supervisor. While on the job, your job coach works with you to identify coworkers that could mentor and support you after job coaching ends. Your job coach will also work in partnership with your employer to ensure you are learning the job and performing according to your employer’s expectations.
Depending on your support needs, coaching can last anywhere from a few hours to nine months. Once you learn the job and your employer and job coach believe you are gaining the skills necessary for job independence, your job coach will begin to decrease hours of support. Once your job coach has decreased support to less than 30% of the time you are working on the job, you may then enter retention services. Not all participants qualify for retention support. Eligibility will be based on the requirements of the county in which you reside.
If you are eligible for St. Louis Regional Center services, you are also eligible for retention services. Once you enter retention services, onsite visits from your job coach will reduce to anywhere from once a week to once or twice per month. Retention provides ongoing support to employers and employees to ensure the continuing success on the job and satisfaction of both parties.
This support can last the length of your employment. Some of our program participants have received retention services for 25+ years!
Our staff members provide transportation ONLY during the Discovery and Exploration and Job Development process. You are required to provide your own transportation once you are employed. Your Easterseals employment team will be happy to discuss transportation options with you during any step of your employment process.
Easterseals employment services are FREE! Discovery and Exploration, Job Development, and Job Coaching are funded by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Retention support is funded by the Productive Living Board of St. Louis County, the Developmental Disabilities Resource Board of St. Charles County, or Developmental Disability Resources of St. Louis City.
Call the office within the area where you live, and they will schedule an intake meeting with you. They will determine your eligibility for supported employment services and refer you to start services. You have the right to make an informed choice regarding the agency you choose to work with.
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation:
St. Louis City: 314-877-3940
St. Louis County (North): 314-475-7999
St. Louis County (South): 314-877-1900
St. Louis County (West): 314-587-4877
St. Charles County: 636-940-3300