What Is Vocational Rehabilitation?
A large portion of the nation’s unemployed are individuals who have a mental or physical disability. According to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the unemployment rate is nearly twice as much for people with a disability than those without.
Vocational rehabilitation is a service that is provided through state or government agencies that helps disabled individuals find and maintain employment. A federal vocational rehab program is also available and exists for assisting disabled veterans to find and retain jobs.
Vocational Consulting Services
Vocational Consulting is a service designed to assist individuals with disabilities to find, gain, and retain employment. A Vocational Consultant performs an assessment of the individual and directs them on how to proceed in finding a job. There are five steps the Vocational Counselor follows:
- Assessment of the disabled person’s strengths, weaknesses, and interests.
- An individualized plan of employment is established. This plan may include education, medical assistance, or assistive technology.
- Issues are identified and addressed with the client and individual. This may include solving transportation issues or training required with certain technological devices.
- The counselor helps the individual secure employment. This may include assistance with job applications and contacting employers who encourage disabled applicants.
- Job maintenance and longevity are assessed. This step requires the counselor be aware of any issues that may arise on the job in order to help the client maintain employment over the long term.
Counseling services within a vocational rehab facility may also include job preparation and education. Job preparation involves interviewing preparation and behavior where a candidate is taught how to conduct him or herself throughout the interviewing process.
Requirements for Vocational Consulting
Basic requirements for a person to be eligible for Vocational Consulting are often determined by the state or local agency. Some of the blanketed requirements include the participant’s age. The individual must be at least 16 years old to participate in the program.
Other requirements may deal with the person’s disability. The disability may not result in a barrier to employment. For example, the person may not have a learning disability or mental health disorder that makes them psychotic in any manner. A psychotic disorder typically makes the individual unemployable. Learning disabilities do not prevent the individual from being employed but may inhibit them from being eligible for certain types of jobs.
An assigned coach or counselor can assist a person with a learning disability in finding the right job for them. A job coach may also stay on the job with the individual until they feel comfortable enough to be left alone.