End-Dependence Kansas Employment Service
As an Employment Specialist for the EDK program our ultimate goal is to get consumers competitive employment in a position that they want. Now, with that said it is not that simple. The EDK program receives referrals from Vocational Rehabilitation; the employment rate of people with disabilities is about a third of the rate of their nondisabled peers.
End-Dependence Kansas (EDK) is a 5-year initiative to increase employment of Kansans with disabilities. EDK provides individuals who have little or no work history, transitioning youth, low skill levels, or other barriers a way into paid employment that builds momentum and provides a means to increase skill level and confidence.
We get a consumer ready for a permanent position multiple ways. First, we can go on tours of the potential businesses they may want to work with. Second, we can do job shadowing, informal interviews, and mock interviews with our consumers. Third, we get our consumers into 6 week work experiences with job coaching. Hopefully, by the end of their experience they are offered a position.
This program opens up many doors that weren’t there before for people with disabilities. They figure out they can work and they want to work. They don’t have to be alone all day with nothing to do and no one to talk to. As we dig deeper into this program we are noticing some great strides towards our goals within the program. For example, one consumer was very shy, lacked confidence, used one word answers, and didn’t follow direction well. Now, after two experiences she is full of life and has learned those personal skills needed in a work place. We view this as a great success.
Many people with disabilities have been told their whole life they won’t be able to work because of their disability, they never thought of actually getting a job and being good at it. That is what we do here. We enrich the lives of those who just need someone to believe in them and their abilities.
It’s not about what you can’t do. It’s about what you can do.