Vocation Innovation Project: A New Type of Job Readiness Training

The Vocation Innovation Project (VIP) is a pre-employment transition service for high school students 16-21 years of age with a developmental disability. In partnership with Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, ACCESS® provides individuals the opportunity to learn work-readiness skills in preparation for competitive employment and independence.

The Vocation Innovation Project offers high school students with developmental disabilities an
innovative way to discover opportunities for independence and a bright future.
-Cheri Stevenson, ACCESS Director of Academy and Young Adult Services 

The VIP program is aimed at helping high school students discover opportunities available after high school; learn what is expected of a desirable employee; develop skills that will be useful in gaining competitive employment; recognize how to advocate for their rights.

Through a combination of classroom instruction and on-the-job training, this exciting and engaging project will help individuals develop a rich, well-balanced life and independence. VIP participants will learn about:

  •  Job Exploration
    Learn about your interests, skills, and abilities using specially designed assessment tools….What do I like? What would you I to do? What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses?
  • Work Readiness Training
    Develop social skills and increase understanding of independent living…What does an employer expect of me? How do I interview? How do I dress? How do I communicate with my boss?
  • Counseling On Post-Secondary Opportunities
    Realize the range of opportunities beyond high school… Can I go to college? What other kinds of trade schools or vocational training programs are there? Do I want a job right out of high school?
  • Self-Advocacy
    Understand the importance of self-advocacy…How do I assert myself? How do I protect my
    interests? How do I negotiate for myself in an interview or the workplace? How do I
    appropriately exercise my rights as an individual with disabilities? How do I plan for my future? How do I set goals that set me up for success and independence?
  • Work-Based Training
    Practice the skills learned in the classroom setting during short-term job opportunities that allow participants to experience a competitive work environment.

The VIP program will be available through two options. For ACCESS Academy Upper School students, the program will be integrated into your academic curriculum to provide students a balance of both academic and vocational skills needed to develop well-rounded individuals. For those qualifying high school students who do not attend the ACCESS Academy, an eight-week summer training program will be available from June 4, 2018 – July 27, 2018.

Contact ACCESS today to learn more about the Vocation Innovation Project.

The Vocation Innovation Project was supported by Grant 18-AGI-001-16-SG and was made possible through funding provided under Public Law 106-402 as administered by the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities for the State of Arkansas.


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