Special Populations Collaborative

Effective Practices for Students with Disabilities

Santa Rosa Jr College - Career Development Services

Dena Bliss, Employment Specialist, 707-527-4822 or dbliss@santarosa.edu

1501 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

Patie Wegman, Coordinator of Disability Resources, 707-527-4906 or pwegman@santarosa.edu

Description: This practice helps disabled students improve employability skills and obtain employment in a self-selected occupational or career area. The program serves students with a variety of educational objectives, including those obtaining a certificate or degree, or increasing life skills and employability. The program works with disabled students at any level, providing job development services such as:

¨ Career interest surveys (COPS and Myers/Briggs)

¨ Resume development

¨ Work experience through volunteer positions, job shadows or internships

¨ Mock interviews

¨ Assistance with job placement, and

¨ Referral to the College’s Career Center to explore occupational areas.

The college has approximately 2,000 disabled students, each of which is a participant in the college’s case management system. These students are referred to the program. Other referrals come from the Department of Rehabilitation, or from faculty who are aware of program services. An employment specialist conducts the assessments, works with students on employability skills, assists them with job placement, and refers them to the Career Center.

Each student that completes a significant milestone (e.g. receives certificate or degree; becomes employed) receives a congratulations card from the program. The program sees a high percentage of participants pursuing either a certificate or achieving a life-altering change.

The practice depends on having a positive, energetic employment specialist to staff the program – a person who loves the job, loves the students, and understands the realities of the world of work.