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Community Employment

“Contribution in the community as a valued, interdependent member occurs when human dignity is respected and opportunities are provided for each individual to pursue their unique path of development and fulfillment.” – Source: APSE

When people with disabilities find meaningful work with the accompanying benefits like income and social interaction, their overall quality of life improves. Their economic power increases and their self-image improves.

How Does Via Help People Find Jobs?

Via works to provide employment opportunities based on each person’s aspirations, interests, needs, and skills. We work with Lehigh Valley businesses to find a good match and establish follow-along and ongoing support that meet the needs of both the employee and the business.

Via helps people determine what types of jobs they would like to explore and then partners with local employers to provide job assessments. This allows people to experience different types of work to better determine their likes, dislikes, and skills.

Our staff work one-on-one with adults throughout the process, from job development to job coaching and follow-along support. We help adults increase their natural network of support, like family, neighbors, friends, and co-workers, to help ensure job stability.

How Do People Get Connected with Via to Help Them Find a Job?

Referrals for Community Employment Services come from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Office of Developmental Programs, Ticket to Work, Bureau of Autism Services, Office of Long Term Learning, individuals seeking employment, families, and other sources. Admission for Via Community Employment Services is based on an adult’s desire to work, not on perceived ability. Our admission staff assists individuals and families in accessing the necessary funds to begin this process.

Ticket To Work Program

Via of the Lehigh Valley is a Ticket to Work Employment Services Provider. Click here for more information.

For more information, contact:

Alivia Sinko, Director of Community Employment
A.Sinko@ViaNet.Org | 610-628-2326 x502

The Employment Process

Via helps participants identify job interests and the support necessary to guide the job search. Once a potential position is identified, our employment consultants work closely with the prospective employee and employer to find the right job for our participant and to provide the employer with someone whose skills benefit the company’s productivity, efficiency, and profitability.

Via provides job training and orientation, and support continues as long as it is needed — but typically becomes unnecessary as the employee acclimates to their work situation and responsibilities.

What Is Job Discovery?

Discovery is the active process of investigating an individual’s work interests and passions in the work world. Discovery is about figuring out someone’s ideal conditions of employment.

Assessment, Training, and Follow-up

At Via, we understand that everyone has unique needs. We work with each individual to develop a program that best suits those needs. Participants, their families, and caregivers are involved in the assessment process. A variety of options may be evaluated before a selection is made. Training is then provided. Most importantly, services don’t cease once an individual is hired. Follow-up evaluation is provided to meet changing needs.

Our staff assist individuals with:

  • Job Exploration – discovering work interests and abilities.
  • Job Development – finding a job matching those interests.
  • Job Coaching – helping learn the skills of a particular job.
  • Job Support – helping both the worker and employer with issues of job performance in a way that helps assure ongoing success at the job site.

The program begins with community-based assessments at actual job sites. Once a referral is made, an assessment of the individual’s passions, employment interests, and supports is completed. Job Development occurs following a successful assessment. A Via employment specialist is assigned to the individual to help them find a job. Once a job is attained, Job Coaching is available from a Via coach. Skills such as transportation training, communicating with the boss, and maintaining the job are taught in addition to learning the job.

Via provides a vocational assessment service to assist people with disabilities to determine their work abilities and interests. Assessments are done in the community at actual businesses to provide the opportunity to experience real community employment. Via staff can assist a person with a disability in pursuing funds for assessment services as well as the services recommended as a result of the assessment. Via’s goal is to complete the assessment from intake to team meeting within six weeks.

First, Via’s staff interview the person with a disability as well as the family and other direct service professionals who know them best to help decide the vocational areas to use for assessment. Typically, assessments are scheduled in three to four vocational areas for two to four days each, based on individual needs and interests. Via’s assessment coordinators provide one-on-one supervision during the assessment period. Task analysis and systematic instruction are used. The assessment gives the person with a disability the opportunity to try different types of work to help make an informed choice of work. The assessment process also gives Via staff the opportunity to assess the person’s work and social skills, support needs, endurance, etc. When the assessments are completed, a team meeting is held to review the data to outline a plan.

Via’s Job Developers take the time to match the employee with the employer. Prior to recommending a prospective employee, an extensive vocational assessment has taken place to determine the prospect’s work abilities and interests. Assessments are conducted in the community at actual businesses to provide the prospect the opportunity to experience real community employment.

Job Training and Coaching

Once a position is identified, Via provides a Job Coach specific to the employee. The Via Job Coach offers consultation and assistance to the employer and on-the-job orientation and training for the employee. This support continues as long as is needed but typically becomes unnecessary as the employee becomes acclimated to the work situation and responsibilities. Via employment consultants and Job Coaches also remain available to employers for questions and help in the future.

Assessment sites in the Lehigh Valley include:

  • Arby’s
  • Buza’s Greenhouse
  • Delta Industries
  • Easton Area Senior Center
  • Federal Courthouse
  • Guitar Villa
  • Just Born, Inc.
  • The Banana Factory
  • Trains and Lanes
  • Veteran’s Association Clinic
  • Via Thrift Shops
  • WalMart
  • Wawa
  • Kirkland Village
  • Martin Guitar
  • Radisson Hotel
  • Shop Rite
  • SPCA

A variety of assessment tasks and vocational experiences are available, including:

  • Animal Care
  • Clerical
  • Customer Service
  • Filing
  • Food Service
  • Greenhouse
  • Grocery Bagging
  • Housekeeping
  • Janitorial
  • Laundry Services
  • Light Assembly
  • Lobby Attendants
  • Stocking
  • Warehousing