Job Development Script

by Marc Gold & Associates

“Hi, it’s nice to meet you. (Take a seat and tell yourself to remember the employer’s name.) My name is Michael Callahan. I want to thank you for your willingness to allow me to meet with you today. I know your time is valuable, so let me get right to the point.”

“I’m with Marc Gold & Associates, an organization, (hand over your business card at this point) that assists people with disabilities to negotiate specialized employment opportunities with employers.”

“I have been hired (you might use: “assigned to represent” or “selected”) by a young woman in the Ocean Springs area who has developmental disabilities, to assist her to find an employment situation that meets her needs as well as the employer’s.”

“Your company was one of several in our area that was identified as a result of an employment planning process that is paid for by public funds available to persons with disabilities who want to become employed.”

“We have found that some persons with disabilities benefit from a representative like me, called job developers, to call on potential employers and to relate the unique contributions that they may be able to make to your company.”

“I realize that you may not currently have job openings or might not be interested in hiring at this time, even for targeted tasks, but I’d like the opportunity to introduce this applicant to you and have you consider whether this approach might work for your company.”

“Before I introduce the applicant, I’d like to take a few minutes to describe this new approach to assisting persons with disabilities, especially people with more significant disabilities, to become successfully employed.” (At this point, set up the portfolio on the employer’s desk.)

“Our organization has developed this presentation portfolio to assist employers to more clearly understand what is called the supported employment approach. In this approach, supported employees and employers receive assistance from an employment specialist or job coach.”

“We start the process by admitting that the typical job openings that you might have would probably not be a good job match for most of our applicants. (Refer to the first page of the portfolio.) Therefore, we use an approach in which I’ve been approved by the applicant to disclose their disability in an effort to negotiate a job that matches both the skills of the applicant and unique needs of the employer.”

“My job is to find out whether you might have any problem areas or bottlenecks – ‘things that need to get done, but that are not getting done’ in a timely enough manner – and to see if those areas might match the skills of the applicant and possibly become a job.”

“As I mentioned earlier, the concept is called supported employment. In supported employment, both the employer and the supported employee receive assistance in targeting work tasks, job analysis, initial employee orientation and training and on-going supports through public funds available from vocational rehabilitation and developmental disabilities services in our state.”

“The disability field has been using this approach for over fifteen years and we have found it to be very successful. When job tasks are well-matched to applicants, even employees with significant disabilities can make valuable contributions and employers can target problem areas within their company.” (Show 3 – 5 pictures of persons working. Don’t tell stories unless asked by employer.)

“We have found the best way to provide that support is to offer employers and employees with disabilities assistance in working successfully together. Therefore, we frame all our support strategies from your perspective (the employer’s). We start by doing job tasks the way you want them done.” (Show the “Ways” page of the portfolio and the picture(s) that describe that section.)

“Regardless of the type of task to be performed or the business we are in, we listen to the needs of the employer and observe the way the employer wants the job done. This process starts during a tour of your business and is finalized in a process we call job analysis.”

“We also utilize as much as possible the same means that you use to teach all new employees their jobs. Our training, supports and suggestions begin with your strategies as our starting point. (Show the “Means” page of the portfolio and the picture(s) that describe that section.) Of course we are also able to offer additional supports and strategies beyond those that your company might use, but we start with your approaches first.”

“Your people are also important to us. (Show the “People” page of the portfolio and the picture(s) that describe that section.) We want to assure that your supervisors and other employees feel comfortable in supervising and training the supported employee.”

“To accomplish these steps, we offer all employers, as well as your new employee, a job analysis that address your ways, means and people. We start the job analysis with a tour, with your permission of course, during our negotiations and finalize it after you agree to hire but before the new employee starts work. (Show the Job Analysis page of the portfolio and the picture(s) that describe that section.)

“We ask you to have an employee or supervisor demonstrate the job in the manner you want it performed and then teach it to our employment specialist. The employment specialist will then be responsible for developing a written job analysis that you would approve.”

“We typically need about a week to complete this job analysis and offer other logistical assistance to the applicant from the time an employer says ‘yes’ to hire before the first day of work. (Show the page “Getting started on the job” and the picture(s) that describe that section.) The first days of work are much like those for any other employee, unless we agree to something different during the job analysis.”

“The employment specialist is right there to assist your people and the supported employee to successfully learn and perform the job. If any party, you, our organization or the applicant feels that more support than you typically offer other employees is needed, we’re right there to assist. Of course our employment specialist will always clear any additional support that may be needed with you before getting started.”

“We also offer back-up supports to you and your employee, over time, after the initial days on the job. (Show the page “Back-up and on-going supports” and the picture(s) that describe that section.) While the amount of support is determined by the public funding we receive, it is the intention of supported employment to offer whatever assistance is needed to both the employer and the supported employee. With its twenty-five years of service in the disability employment field, MG&A will be there for you over the long haul.” (Show the Services offered to Employers page at this point and the pictures that describe that section.)

“Now, I’d like to introduce you to Jenni Guthrie, the applicant who I am representing. I’ll do that in two ways. First, I’ve worked with her to develop a sort of ‘visual resume’ to help you understand who Jenni is and what she may offer and I also have a written packet of materials, including her resume, that I can leave with you.” (Show the pages starting with the applicant’s name as well as the subsequent narrative pages that describe him/her.)

“The pictures that I have of Jenni describe her former job at VL Logistics, here in Ocean Springs, as well as selected tasks that she performed at school (she graduated in 1999) as well as at home. These pictures are provided to give you an impression of Jenni as an employee.” (Show pictures of applicant working.)

“In our planning process that I mentioned earlier, we also do extensive discovery of actual and potential tasks that Jenni can perform (with support). We also hope that they represent job tasks that might be performed and needed in work places around our area.” (Show the list of job tasks that the applicant hopes to perform.)

“Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. She might certainly be able to perform other, similar, tasks with the support that we can provide.” (Offer the employer the packet of materials that describe both the applicant and the process.)

“What I’d like to do at this point is to first say ‘Thank you’ for your time and your willingness to have me present this proposal. I also want to ask if you feel that this concept might be an idea that you would like to pursue with further discussions. If you are interested in continuing this process, with the understanding that you have not made a commitment to hire Jenni, we would first start with a tour of your company on a convenient day later this week or next. (Brief pause) I would also be glad to answer any questions that you might have concerning anything that I have discussed.”

Likely questions and possible answers:

Q: “I thought that with supported employment, employers got a full time job coach to do all the training and employee support. This approach seems to require more of me (the employer) in support. What’s the deal ?”

A: “In the early days of supported employment we felt that it was necessary to both the employer and the supported employee to offer to take over virtually all the up front training and support. However, we found that this approach resulted in dependency by both parties – employees and employers. We too often got in the way between the supports that are naturally available in work places and the employee with a disability. With this approach, we are still there to assist, but we start by helping you and your employee work together. If you need us to fill in, we will do that, but we will also help you figure out how to support this employee when we are not around.”

Q: “Why not just have your applicant apply for job openings like everyone else?”

A: “The unfortunate fact is that the overwhelming majority of adults with disabilities remain unemployed (about 75%) even after a decade of laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act. One reason is that the persons represented by organizations like mine are often not able to meet all the essential responsibilities for the job – your job description – even if you provide reasonable accommodation and targeted recruitment efforts. Additionally, these persons often have difficulty representing themselves in a way that distinguishes them from other applicants and highlights their contributions. Frustration and even litigation can follow. This approach allows employers to become voluntary partners – rather than adversaries – in hiring people with disabilities.

Q: “Do I have to have an employment specialist/job coach in my business? What if I want to provide all the support through our company?”

A: “This is a difficult question for us. First, we certainly believe that employers should have control of both their workplace and their employees. However, the needs associated with significant disabilities are often subtle and complex. They are usually resolvable in a way that meets everyone’s needs, but they do exist. Our role is to assist you and your employee with a disability to work successfully together. We will be as flexible as possible to make that happen, but we need to be there in some way to offer you and your employee the assistance that is necessary for success. We promise to work with you to determine the best strategy for support.”

Q: “What about my liability? Won’t my insurance rates go up?”

A: “We understand that all employers worry about liability in these times. I would not be qualified to comment on your liability or insurance rates. We do know, however, that your liability is related to the performance of your employees, that quality and safe employee performance is related to good training and supervision and that, with supported employment, you get extra assistance – an extra set of eyes – for training and supervising your supported employee.”

Q: “All our jobs here require high productivity. Employees are expected to meet strict performance standards. Can your applicant meet these kinds of demands?”

A: “We understand employers’ needs for productivity. However, as I mentioned earlier, our applicants typically have difficulty meeting pre-determined productivity demands, due to their disability. By targeting tasks that comprise problem areas that you have, we hope to negotiate productivity demands and job scope in a way that meets your needs and the applicants skills. In any case, you would know in advance of hiring the applicant our best guess as to his/her productivity. (If the employer responds that negotiation of productivity is not possible, then say…) We also understand that this approach might not meet your needs. In that case, thank you for your willingness to consider our proposal.”