Patrick and Alex are building skills for community employment, through participation on the Life & Work Connections work crew. Recently, Life & Work Connections, Inc. contracted with Midwest Special Needs Trust, for the provision of cleaning services. Patrick and Alex are among several crew members who rotate in filling two shifts per week at Midwest Special Needs Trust, which offers financial services to people with disabilities and their families.
While office cleaning and associated “hard” skills are byproducts of participation on the crew, the core intent of job preparation training is to foster “soft” skills portable to any community job. Skills like following directions, completing tasks, achieving productivity standards and quality results, responding appropriately to supervisors/coworkers, attendance and punctuality, problem solving, safety, and workplace social skills are ultimately what we hope crew members develop and carry with them into community jobs.
“The crew members’ experience at Special Needs Trust enhances their skill development for several reasons,” says Community Skills Specialist Diane Barber. “Communication and teamwork are particularly important in meeting the terms of our contract. Crew members are applying and testing their skills in a totally different environment, with different expectations and responsibilities from the Boone County Family Resources office environment. It’s been a positive experience for them.”
Patrick says he appreciates the gig because he gets to interact with the MSNT staff. “I’m a people person,” he says. Alex says he likes the office space at Midwest Special Needs Trust. “It’s a nice space and I like the detail.” Patrick and Alex both aspire to work independently in the community. Patrick says his future plans for employment are “to do something with my hands”. Alex isn’t sure exactly what line of work he’ll pursue, but he plans to think about it and explore possibilities.
“We feel like it’s a win-win partnership,” says MSNT Executive Director Lynn Carter. “We’re happy not only to have our office space kept clean, but also to be contributing to the development of aspiring workers.”