What's a Job Coach?
2001 Teresa Kellerman

John has a job coach. This is provided as part of the services available from Vocational Rehabilitation (VocRehab) which is a federally funded program for people with disabilities. The nice thing about VocRehab is that the eligibility criteria are based on FUNCTIONAL ability rather than IQ. John became qualified for VocRehab services through the Transitional Plan that was mandated to be part of his IEP when he was in school. (I will have to look that up on the IDEA site, for those of you in the U.S.)

John has had many job coaches in the two years he has been working at his VocRehab job, due to high turnover, low pay, too much responsibility, etc. But the ones he has had have been really good. Because I have impressed the agency that has contracted with the Feds to provide a job for John with the liability factor (it is THEIR responsibility to ensure he is adequately supervised so as to avoid inappropriate behavior that could lead to legal trouble, for which they would share responsibility), they have arranged for John's work group to be relatively small, just three to five workers, even though VocRehab funds for him to be in a 1:6 ratio group. Right now there are only two workers in John's group, and his job coach is caring and committed, so we don't have very many problems.

As far as training, I have volunteered to do the FAS training for the agency's workers, and I request that ALL job coaches be trained in FAS because they all share responsbility for all the workers, and there are probably other workers there with unrecognized FAS/E disorders.

Even with the federal criteria for eligibility, it might be difficult for adults with FAE to qualify for VocRehab services, but you just have to push and pull and twist arms and maybe get the local protection & advocacy group to help if you have to appeal their decision.

I understand that there are different levels of funding, some are temporary, John's is for life (long-term), and is for so many service hours per month, I'm not sure how much funding is designated for John. I do know that his program is a "sheltered workshop" which works best for him as it minimizes potential inappropriate contact with the public. (I need to keep him on a leash when we go to the mall! - just kidding, but I do threaten.)

Here is a government site that has some information about Job Coaches: http://www.ed.gov/offices/OSERS/RSA/PGMS/RT/carsupem.html
This is where to find your state's VocRehab agency:

John's Daily Work Schedule

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