Track: American Indian/Alaskan Native Vocational Rehab & Employment

Finds Their Way: Communities for Native Youth Transition

In collaboration with tribal, state, and community partners, the Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities (the Sonoran Center) has created Finds Their Way: Communities for Native Youth Transition. The project addresses unique needs and challenges experienced by Native American youth with disabilities by utilizing a multifaceted and indigenous approach. The goal is to increase access for Native students with disabilities to skill development, knowledge, services, and supports to participate in long-term competitive integrated employment careers. In it’s second program year, Finds Their Way staff discuss the building of a landscape analysis, best practices, and continuing/future efforts for upcoming years.

Key Learning Outcomes

During time at the presentation, attendees will:

1) Discover benefits of a Cross Cultural Tribal Community Collaborative approach to addressing transition outcomes for Native Youth.
2) Understand the importance of a Native American-led transition to employment framework for Tribal youth responsive to culture that focuses on improving education, post-secondary, and employment outcomes; and
3) Establish a basis for creating similar project activities in individual service areas that can be effective, seamless, and sustainable transition approaches for Native American youth with disabilities at the state and local levels.

Building Self-Employment Capacity within State and American Indian Voc. Rehab. Programs

Self-employment is an important employment option for people with disabilities. VR agencies, however, close fewer cases than expected when compared to national self-employment rates among people with disabilities.  This presentation will highlight research about some reasons for low rates of self-employment closures within VR, and then shift towards showcasing two free and comprehensive online resources meant to overcome some of these barriers. The VR Self-Employment Guide (www.vrselfemploymentguide.org) was developed for VR programs and the Tribal VR Self-employment Toolkit (www.tvrselfemployment.org) was developed for American Indian/Alaska Native VR programs.  Both resources include 8 chapters and multiple worksheets to assess consumer readiness, business feasibility, and business planning. Participants will receive a tour of the VR Self-Employment Guide and consider how it might support their work with consumers.

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Attendees will identify barriers to self-employment within their own programs.

2. Attendees will become acquainted with two free online resources to assist consumers in self-employment exploration and business planning.

3. Attendees will learn how to conduct consumer readiness and business feasibility exercises to help consumers evaluate if self-employment is a good choice for them.

Creating a Tribal VR Individualized Plan for Self-Employment

Self-employment is an important employment option for people with disabilities. This is especially true in AIVRS (American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services) Projects. Many tribal communities are located in extremely rural areas where self-employment is one of the only employment outcomes for tribal vocational rehabilitation consumers. This presentation will highlight the differences between a common IPE (individualized plan for employment) and a self-employment IPE and identify the elements that need to be addressed, included, and identified when working on the plan. In addition, self-employment resources and comparable benefits will be discussed in order to increase the availability of resources that can assist Native American/Alaska Native consumers in achieving a successful self-employment outcome.

Key Learning Outcomes

  1. Attendees will identify barriers to self-employment within their tribal communities.
  2. Attendees will identify self-employment successes within their AIVRS projects.
  3. Attendees will become acquainted with how a common IPE (individualized plan for employment) differs from a self-employment IPE.
  4. Attendees will learn how to develop a self-employment IPE that can be used as an example when working with consumers.
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