Career Connections, a division of HARC, assists people with disabilities and others in the community, who are seeking employment to achieve meaningful work based on each person's needs, desires, and abilities. Career Connections is located in the Herkimer Commons Mall at 125-127 E. Albany Street in Herkimer, NY.
RESOURCE FOR LOCAL EMPLOYERS
EMPLOYMENT SERVICES – AGES 18 AND OVER
WORK INCENTIVE INFORMATION SERVICES
SCHOOL TO WORK PROGRAM – AGES 16 TO 22
PERSON CENTERED PLANNING
RESOURCES FOR LOCAL EMPLOYERS:
Career Connections is also a valuable resource for local employers. The staff of Career Connections pre-screens individuals seeking employment to match their skills to the needs of local employers. To learn more about the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations, the benefits of hiring people with disabilities, financial incentives, and onsite training available, please click one of the following links:
Vocational & Educational Services to Individuals with Disabilities (www.vesid.nysed.gov)
New York State Department of Labor (www.labor.state.ny.us)
Americans with Disabilities Act (www.adata.org)
EMPLOYMENT SERVICES AGES 18 AND OVER:
To receive services from the Career Connections program individuals must: be of legal working age; be able to legally work in the United States; and have a documented disability or receive TANF funding.
To learn more about skills, interests, and abilities, Career Connections offers Assessment Services. Staff can help find out more information for individuals interested in specific types of jobs. Individuals can "try out" jobs at community businesses with the support of an HARC staff member. Career Connections can also help individuals to learn more about themselves through interest testing, personality career matching, and an assessment of specific abilities.
Development of a Vocational Plan
To develop a plan for employment, Career Connections staff meets with each person to discuss his/her current interests, prior work history, potential barriers to employment (such as transportation needs, health concerns, family matters, and/or other issues which need to be addressed before work can begin). This information may lead individuals to be referred for assessment services, job development, or other services to ready an individual for future employment—all dependent on their needs and the requests of the funding source.
Trained Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors guide individuals through a discovery and learning process. Individuals meet with their counselors periodically to talk about vocational goals and dreams. Counselors then offer suggestions to help individuals achieve their aspirations. If life challenges might prevent a person from getting a job or successfully keeping a job, counselors work to develop strategies. Counselors are there to support and advocate.
Often, there are several people facing the same challenges. It is helpful to discuss concerns and exchange ideas with other people. Individuals might be invited to join with group members, who might be able to offer suggestions to deal with challenges. This type of group is especially helpful as individuals approach new jobs or are already in jobs and facing new experiences. Other groups are more educationally focused as related to work. These groups might talk about safety issues, how to socially interact in the workplace, or how to succeed at an interview, as examples.
Job Development Services
For individuals who want to work in the community, Career Connections can help. A trained Job Developer will meet with individuals to discuss employment options. The Job Developer will ask a lot of questions about where an individual might want to work, what hours are good, transportation needs, benefits, health insurance needs, and more. After listening to needs and preferences, the Job Developer will have a better idea of jobs in the community which will best meet identified needs. Job Developers can also help create a resume, fill out applications, and prepare for an interview. Based on needs, interests and abilities, a Job Developer can help find the right job!
Once an individual is hired, Employment Specialists at Career Connections assist with keeping the job. From day one at work, they will be there—maybe even a lot at first. They can help and support the employee through job training. An Employment Specialist can also help individuals "fit in" with new employees as well as work through issues that related to transportation, benefits, child care etc. Once an individual becomes more comfortable with the new position, the Employment Specialist will encourage more independent work. Career Connections staff is always available to the individual and the employer, and they will continue to work to help individuals to succeed on the job indefinitely.
Employment Opportunities at Herkimer Industries
Within the Herkimer Industries' vocational program setting, the following job opportunities are currently available: Small Bench Assembly, Packaging, Industrial Sewing, and Mechanical Assembly work. Herkimer Industries may be the best place to learn a skill, to become a long-term vocational work center employee, or to re-enter the world of work.
Transportation services may be available to and from work, both for jobs in the community or at Herkimer Industries, a vocational work center.
Contacting Career Connections
For employment options and services, contact Career Connections at (315) 574-7000.
Assisting Individuals to Become Self Sufficient Through Employment
LIVES II staff can provide individuals receiving family assistance and SNA/TANF in Herkimer County or Otsego Counties with a variety of services and supports from a number of agencies that have partnered with LIVES II program. LIVES staff can help meet employment goals by matching skills with available employment.
- FA (Family Assistance) recipients in Herkimer and Otsego Counties
- Effective 1/20/12, individuals under 200% poverty level will also receive services
- SNA/TANF (Safety Net Assistance/ Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) recipients in Herkimer and Otsego Counties.
A LIVES II Case Manager can help individuals:
- Obtain eligibility information and assist with filling out paperwork
- Gain work experience that will increase their chances of finding permanent employment
- Obtain their HS Diploma, GED or a Trade Certificate
Contacting Career Connections
Catherine Loomis/ES Planner
Amanda Ortiz/ES Supervisor
WORK INCENTIVE INFORMATION SERVICES:
Individuals will learn how working may positively affect overall income if they receive Social Security disability benefits, or social security insurance. Learn about the government Medicaid buy-in program that affords access to Medicaid, even if an individual is working.
SCHOOL TO WORK PROGRAM – AGES 16 TO 22:
The Career Connections School to Work program assists students, ages 16 to 22 with documented disabilities, to transition from an education to a work setting upon leaving school.
To receive School to Work services, students may be referred by their parents, schools, other agencies (including VESID), or by themselves. Career Connections offers a variety of options. After meeting eligibility requirements, students may obtain a job within the community or at Herkimer Industries—a vocational work center at 304-306 Fourth Avenue in Herkimer. Job placement will be based on a student’s interests, needs, and abilities.
Finding a Job
For individuals still in high school or at Herkimer County BOCES, through cooperation with their schools, eligible students can work part of the day and attend school for the remainder. Career Connections will continue to help students to achieve their work goals even after graduation. The process includes an intake—gathering information such as interests, needs, strengths, and future goals. Individuals can also try jobs out. Once placed, students will work with a Job Coach to ensure that they adjust, learn the new jobs, and get to know their supervisors and coworkers. Staff will also assist with finding job opportunities, filling out applications, and practicing interviews.
Transportation services may be available through HARC, Herkimer BOCES, and/or the student’s school to get to Career Connection services or community or vocational work site employment.
Contacting Career Connections
For School to Work employment options and services, contact Career Connections at (315) 574-7000.
PERSON CENTERED PLANNING:
HARC’s Compliance and Quality Management department offers opportunities for individuals with disabilities to participate in a comprehensive, enhanced Person Centered Planning (PCP) session. The process involves group sessions with members of the Compliance and Quality Management department meeting with individuals, their staff, and family members and/or caregivers who support them. The tools enable each individual and their family to envision individualized possibilities for their future; determine supports and resources for each person; and enrich lives with unprecedented levels of customer satisfaction. The tools that assist with Personal Centered Planning include: PATH (Planning Alternatives Tomorrows with Hope), MAPS, Essential Lifestyle Planning, Personal Outcome Measures, Framework for Planning, and Importance Satisfaction Mapping.
The Compliance and Quality Management Director oversees HARC’s Ethics Helpline, a confidential secure voice mail system that is committed to timely identification and resolution of all issues that may adversely affect consumers, staff, and/or the organization. People can call anonymously. Telephone calls to the Ethics Helpline might include: known episode of misconduct or violation of agency procedures and/or questions regarding documentation or the implementation of agency policy. To call the Ethics Helpine, dial (315) 866-7946.