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Employment Services During COVID

Transitioning Off the Work Floor

In early 2020 Ability Works made the hard decision to begin transitioning our work floor on

to Vocational Habilitation services, a service that provides learning and work experiences.

We had initially decided to transition from the work floor by June 1st, but COVID hit and that

quickly turned to May 1st.

Ability Works Vocational Habilitation group in the classroom working on ties for Freudenberg

We were shut down for about a month. Once we opened up, our services looked very different. Without the focus being on production and what work the individuals could get done in a day, we can now focus on helping them reach their goal of having a job and making competitive wages.

We now meet in a classroom-based setting remaining 6 feet apart and taking all the

standard COVID-19 precautions. While many people miss the work floor, the new direction

of our Vocational Habilitation Service provides a better experience for our individuals. Giving

them more education opportunities to learn and refine skills that would make them a valuable

employee earning competitive wages.

Supported Employment

Every year our supported employment department assists people in obtaining employment in our community. In early 2020 we were working with individuals on their caseloads in-person, either Job Coaching or for a Job Development meeting. In March of 2020, it was decided that our Supported Employment team would be working remotely.

This meant no more team meetings or in-person job coaching could happen until we could ensure that our individuals and staff would be safe. We transitioned to video calls for all our meetings, and a lot of phone calls to support our clients.

As things began to re-open, we began more in-person meetings and were able to meet in person for job coaching. Some individuals are still receiving remote services as many businesses and nursing homes are unable to let us in to offer support to our clients. We continue to support these individuals remotely.

Ability Works client, Brandon Carr, Working at Mickey Mart

Our staff members are now starting to come into the office more and get back to some normalcy. The Supported Employment team adjusted well to all these changes and they stepped up to ensure that our individuals received the best assistance they could during this unexpected time. Things may look different now, but our services are still growing in the counties we serve and now we are gearing up for our Summer Youth Programs.


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