Sometimes one of the most difficult tasks for teachers and parents of high school students with disabilities is preparing a good transition plan for employment goals. In today's episode, you will get some of the employment questions that my colleague and I included in our STAR (Students Transitioning to Adult Roles) Person-Centered Planning module. (The link for the free module is below). I share my perspective on these questions and how you might be able to use them to initiate discussions with your teens regarding their future employment plans. You will also hear about ONET and Vocational Rehab resources.
Free STAR Person-Centered Planning Module
Free Insights from a Disability Specialist - 35 questions to ask your college Disability Services Advisor
Episode 43 STAR Person-Centered Planning Module and Self-Directed IEPs
Vocational Rehabilitation Contact Information for Every State
Episode 66 Meaningful Employment for Young Adults with Disabilities
Episode 48 Soft Skills for Work and School
Episode 42 Workforce Training for Students with Disabilities
Thank you listeners today, my podcast hit 5000 downloads. That's huge in my world. And I'm so so pleased that you're listening, and you're liking it, and you're sharing this with your friends. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And hopefully, your kiddos are having an easier transition to college. The reality is that employment is the end goal of education. And so everything that we do to help our kids transition to college is actually helping them transition to employment. And so today we're going to talk about that in a little bit more depth. And I'm going to share some questions and thoughts on some of the issues that my coworker and I put together when we built the star person-centered planning transition model for high schoolers heading to college. So welcome to Mickey teaches college disabilities and success. Episode 86. Planning college with employment in mind with Mickie Hayes, the opinions in this podcast are my own, please reach out to your college physician or legal services for additional information.
How did you get your first job and what was the final job and career that you ended up with? I was at a meeting one time and they asked us what our first job was. And they were trying to figure out who had the worst first job. And I'll tell you that the person who won was a person who cleaned the barnacles and sea life that attached itself to fish in the icy waters of Alaska as they were preparing them for market. And in my career plan. I was thinking about that when I decided to do this episode, I actually got my first job when I was still in high school. And we did announcements at the end of the day. And they announced over the PA that there was a company looking for cashiers, and clerks. And if anybody was interested to go down to the office and sign up on a list, so I hightailed it out of there down the hall and into the office. And I was the first one to put my name on the list. And they called me, the rest is history, I was hired. And I eventually worked for a discount store as a clerk and a cashier. Now this wasn't my lifelong dream or ambition or goal. It was simply a job. I knew that I wanted to go to college, I was fairly certain I wanted to be a teacher. But I also knew that I needed a job. So this was the job I took, most of the time when we take the first job that is not our end career goal. I remember kids coming in when I was a high school teacher. And I would say well, it says on your IEP, that you're interested in becoming a such and such, and they just look at me like I had a second head. No, that's really not their plan. They didn't want to do that. And so it's really, really important that when you're doing those transition plans in the high school that you really have a clear sense of where your child is headed when they talk about college and when they talk about their employment goals. So that's what we're looking at a little bit closer today. So I went back into the star person-centered planning module that my colleague Mike Muldoon and I put together based on students with intellectual disabilities making plans for college. But what we discovered was after we put it all together, that what we had created for students with intellectual disabilities, in reality, was very, very applicable to any student transitioning from high school to college, especially students who weren't quite sure of where they were heading, or what their plans were, what goals they had in mind. And so I decided to go back into the star that we had created and take a look at some of the questions we asked in relation to the career goals for star. And so that's is the basis of today's podcast. By the way, I'll give you the link to the star in the show notes. So that you can download all the materials for free. It's especially built for teachers, it's not something you would do at home with your child. But it is something that as a parent, you could definitely check out and then share with your child's teachers. So the first few questions would be questions that we'd ask to the student and possibly to the parents just to see if the parents and the students were on the same page. Because if you as a parent or a teacher are thinking one thing, and your child is thinking of something completely different, you need to know that before they get into the college situation. So what kind of work do you like to do? In other words, what kind of work does your child like to do? Now some kids will just say the type of work that they're currently doing if they're doing a part time job in an office or in a store or at a golf course, or mowing yards, doing yard work, things like that, whatever their part time job might be, that might be the thing they answer you with because that's their limited experience. And so you have to be very careful when you're talking about what kind of work do you like to do be because you want to get a sense of Yeah, you know what the child is doing right now, but is this the kind of work that you'd like to do for your life's work. And realize too, though that even is flexible these days, a life's work changes so many times from year to year. But the idea is to get a sense of really where their heart is in their desires for that career. And if you love being outside, and you just love doing yard work and gardening, and that's your passion, that's your child's passion, well, then cool, that might be the path you want to go in, because there's all kinds of directions you can take there. But if they're doing it, and it's a drudge, and they have to go, and they like it, okay, but they really don't love it. That may not be the direction for the career, it's just something to think about. Also consider volunteer work, when you're talking to your child, you know, there is some service work that most high schools now attached to the graduation process. So if your child is volunteering, sometimes voluntary work is the best plan. Because if a child is very passionate about the work, they're gonna love the volunteering that they're doing, if it's a drag, but they're gonna go do it, because they have to have the class credits so they can graduate. That's a different story. But voluntary work can be a very good clue to possible career paths. For the kiddos, ask your child, what's the hardest or the easiest part of their job? Like? What part do they find the hardest? And what part do they find the easiest, because that could make a difference in planning those career goals, if the hardest part of their job is keeping track of things, or writing things down, or remembering messages to tell people that would make a difference in the career path that they take, because that's a red flag that maybe they need a career path where they're not taking down information or messages or that sort of thing. But if they love that kind of thing, and they're they thrive on being in charge of knowledge and sharing it with people and telling people the message that they had and what they had to do. That is also a good indication that maybe a career along those lines in some sort of receptionist, or business owner or advisor of some sort could be a career path to keep in mind. Now, when we're talking about kids with disabilities, and especially physical disabilities, things like time of day make a big difference. If morning is a difficult time for your child, maybe they need a job where they can work in the afternoon. So they need a career path where they're not going to be called into a job at seven o'clock in the morning, that could make a huge difference. How about working inside or outside? Does the heat get to your kids? Does the cold get to them? Do they like being outside? They don't care about the weather? Or does the weather play a factor in employment because that makes a difference? For sure. In the kind of career path your child should be going in. I had a student who wanted a job as a roofer. And he had an opportunity for an interview and his car broke down. And so he ended up walking miles to the interview, made it just in time and ended up getting the job as a roofer. Now, whether or not he's still doing that job today, I
don't know. But he loved the job. To me, it's a hot, miserable job.
But if you're suited to that kind of a job, that's something you as a parent or a teacher should know. How about does your child like to work with others? Or do they prefer work alone, I knew somebody who didn't really care what his job was, he just didn't want to be working with anybody else. He just wanted to be working someplace alone. I think he eventually became a mailman, but it suited him and he could be alone. Most of the time, it might be worth a conversation with your child just to find out those things. Because if your child wants to work alone, that's fine. But it's really going to restrict a lot of job opportunities and career opportunities for your child. Does your child like to work with their hands? Do they want to work building things? Does the noise bother them? Because if you're working in a construction zone, or in an auto mechanics area, or in a factory, there's a lot of noise and a lot of confusion. And so those factors might play into those decisions. Do you think your child would like to work in an office? Ask him and find out some kids really thrive in an office situation. Because it's a very important personal reward being asked to do things in an office and so many, many kids find that very, very agreeable. Other kids don't want any part of being in an office because they want the freedom to be outside and to be away from that kind of responsibility that an office would have it really varies so much from one child to another. When you're starting to look at career plans and career goals, always ask your kid, is there any special job that you think you would be really, really good at? Now, let's pretend your child says, I want to be an influencer. I want to do work online. I want to I want to design games. I want to work with computers. Okay. If that's the case, then you need to probe deeper. Well, exactly what kinds of things do you want to do online? What kind of influencer Do you want to be? And how would you even go about doing that? Because they might surprise you, you know, they are very savvy, in many cases, to what's happening on social media. And I've had kids tell me that when I asked them about career plans, that that's what they wanted to do. They wanted to do online work and be an influencer. And you really need to dig a little deeper with that one, for sure. Now, some kids want to have their own business. And there's nothing wrong with that a lot of kids have been successful starting their own business. But that means they need the education and the guidance for that. And so that's where as parents, you figure out how to direct them to the right people. That's where you start talking to counselors and business owners to see what kinds of things that they would need to make themselves a successful business. Now, the thing with businesses especially is that I've seen a tendency where parents get an idea for a business because they like that idea, that's fine. But it's not necessarily the same kind of business as the kid has in mind. And so where are the parents sees it as a solution, the kid may see it as a problem. So you really need to make sure that if you have an idea, as a parent, for a particular type of business, for your child that your child thinks it's a good idea to, and they're not just going along with you, because you want it that they really see a future in that, because that's what's really, really important, helping that child determine their own future, their own plan, their own destiny, but with your support and backup in place. And if you're a parent, and you've had these conversations with your kids, you might want to have the teacher have the same conversation and see if you're actually getting the same answers both times because that would be worth comparing your answers to these questions to the teachers answers to these questions, because they may be different. And so if you're all on different pages, you have to kind of come to some plan, or some approach that's really student centered, you have to remember that the important thing is keeping these plans student centered. So if the student loves the idea, what can you do to make their idea work? What you want to think about when you're looking at career goals is not only what would suit the child, and what educational opportunities are out there, but what academic options will they need? What skills are they coming into this with? And what skills are they going to need to acquire. This is where teachers and parents need to really look at the education and training that is behind that career choice. There are some websites that are very, very helpful. And they will tell you if you need any college at all, and how much college you'll need and what the pay rate is, and the likelihood of being employed and all of those things. And one of the best websites that I've seen for that resource is the O net website. And I'll have that link for you in today's show notes. And I have several other podcasts that I've done with relation to employment, covering a variety of topics and resources. And all of those will be in today's show notes as well. The show notes will also have the star students transitioning to adult roles, person centered planning resource that you can download for free. Now one final resource today is vocational rehab, vocational rehabilitation, and I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about it right now. But I worked for vocational rehabilitation for a while and I know how it operates. And I know that when students are part of a vocational rehabilitation program, their whole purpose there is to figure out the education that's needed to reach the vocation that the student needs. Their whole goal is to help students and individuals with disabilities become employable. And they can provide some education. It depends on the circumstances, but it's worth talking to them to find out what the options are for your child. Every state has a vocational rehabilitation service because it's a federally mandated service. And every state has those counselors who could meet with you and your child to help set up some future goals for employment. So definitely consider that as a possibility. It's not for everybody, but it's a good option to think about.
I hope you found value in today's This podcast. I know, it's a difficult challenge when you're helping a child plan for their future, but allowing them to know as much as possible about options and opportunities that are out there really makes a big difference. So I hope today's podcast helps stimulate some conversation with some of the questions that I asked and get that ball rolling. If you have any questions, feel free to email me, I'm at Mickey firstname.lastname@example.org. That's M I C K i e, or check my website at Mickey teaches.com. All of the links will be in today's show notes. So you should have all the resources that you need. And if you have any questions about heading to college, and the kinds of things you should know, check out my guide insights from a disability specialist that has about 35 questions for you to ask disability services as your kid transitions to college. In the meantime, I hope you have a great rest of the day. And we'll talk again soon bye. The information contained throughout this podcast has been gleaned from my own personal experiences, but to ensure accuracy please contact the Disability Services at the college of your choice to have first hand information and the most up to date policies and procedures followed for your particular institution of higher education. The content in any of these podcasts is not intended as a substitute for information from legal, educational or medical professionals. Always seek the advice of your attorney or qualified health care provider with any questions you may have with regards to illegal educational or medical concerns.
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