An essential part of the customized employment process is Discovery, a two month period where the Employment Specialist works with the participant and his or her family to discover interests and talents and correlate those skills with potential jobs that may directly or indirectly use that skill set. Job sampling is one way for an Employment Specialist to discover a participant’s hidden talents.
Job sampling can take many forms. One easy way to sample different types of jobs is through volunteerism. When people volunteer to help others, they gain a sense of pride and accomplishment. It is also a good feeling to be on the giving, rather than the receiving, side of charity.
For example, our participants often volunteer for the local nonprofit, For My Sisters, which raises money to help single mothers. Participants work at the Gwinnett Arena concession stand doing various tasks from deep frying french fries and chicken nuggets, filling soft drink orders, making soft pretzels, filing popcorn buckets, cutting and serving pizza, as well as counting inventory, and cleaning counters, soda machines, and washing floors. A portion of the concession proceeds go to the charity.
We also took several participants to Lion’s Lighthouse Foundation last week to volunteer and learn job skills such as following directions, using a lensometer, sorting donations and washing, cleaning and drying glasses.
The Lion’s Lighthouse Foundation provides vision and hearing services through prevention, detection, education, and treatment throughout the state of Georgia. It also takes donations of glasses, sunglasses, hearing aids, and cell phones to refurbish or recycle. Prescription and reading glasses are donated to people overseas and in the US.
Our group sorted the donations, cleaned the glasses, and read the prescriptions so the foundation could collect the orders for each need. One of our participants, is receiving low cost hearing aids from this foundation. She is giving back to the very organization that is giving her clearer hearing.
Job sampling is a great way for individuals to get hands-on work experience and make a contribution to the community!