May 26, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Ohel Opens Pre-Vocational Program in Teaneck

(Courtesy of Ohel) Do you remember receiving your first paycheck? Were you beaming with pride about your hard work? Did you capture that moment with a photo? Did you buy yourself a special gift?

Every person wants to lead a productive and meaningful life. We all want to feel like we make a difference in this world. It is no different for an individual with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD).

Bringing its 50-year history and extensive work with the I/DD population in New York, Ohel has opened a pre-vocational program in Teaneck and is very excited to have already enrolled a good number of individuals with I/DD into this training program based in Teaneck. The program allows individuals with I/DD to participate in volunteer or vocational community experiences to help them prepare for jobs in an integrated setting in the community where they will work alongside neurotypical people. Some people may not be quite ready yet or have not identified their employment strengths. Ohel works with each person to tailor a customized program in their desired area of interest.

To assist a person in finding the right job opportunity, trained Ohel staff first assesses their interests in several ways. The Ohel staff places them in volunteer positions to evaluate how they perform in real-life positions. The staff also administers a written assessment tool and helps them work through it. Videos allow staff to demonstrate to the clients what each job entails. Run by Abby Cohen, who has several decades of I/DD and/or employment training and placement experience, the program is currently helping individuals locate jobs in retail, including in an auto store, working with children, working with animals and doing office work.

As Ohel prepares its clients for the workforce, the staff works on skills such as respecting personal space, communication, recognizing priorities, computer skills, physical presentation, writing a resume and interviewing skills. Each person is assigned a job coach to help them in their preparation for the workforce and to accompany them on their assigned volunteer or employment opportunity.

Ohel is proud that some individuals have already been placed in positions. Yosef is currently volunteering at Holy Name hospital, together with his coach. Yosef is the “Number One” volunteer in the cafeteria. He comes to work daily with a huge smile on his face. He stocks food, organizes and cleans the tables. The supervisor seeks Yosef out for difficult tasks because he knows Yosef can handle them. Co-workers and customers always tell him that he does an amazing job. Along with the other individuals in the program, Yosef is very proud of the work he does as a contributing member of society. He also operates a silver polishing business, providing an important service to members of the community. (See related photograph)

According to Lisa Sheinhouse, director of Ohel’s Community Services, Ohel’s goal in New Jersey is to replicate and build upon its work in New York, which currently provides pre-vocational and employment services to well over one hundred individuals who are placed in jobs throughout New York City and Nassau County.

For more information on Ohel’s Pre-vocational program and other support programs, please contact 718-686-3133 or [email protected].

 

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