SPOTLIGHT STORY

Buddyz

You may know Buddyz for their great food and fun atmosphere. But did you know that the McHenry pizza place also offers great opportunities to Pioneer Center clients? Since they opened in September 2010, Buddyz has actively hired clients from Pioneer Center’s Community Employment Services program. .

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Pioneer Center’s employment options helps adults with varying abilities, vocational skills and workplace experience to be employed.

Employment Services

Employment Services is a specialized program that matches the community’s employment needs with individuals that have dynamic strengths and talents.

Our Clients (Your Future Employees!)

Our clients can come from a variety of backgrounds and bring with them numerous skill sets. We’ve successfully placed individuals in positions including sales, telemarketing, reception, data processing, bus driving, secretarial, food service, factory, social services, retail, janitorial, and more.

Individuals that participate in this program include persons with:

  • Hearing or visual impairments
  • Cancer or diabetes
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Mental illness (most commonly depression or anxiety)
  • Physical disabilities
  • Learning disabilities
  • Traumatic brain injury

How We Prepare Our Clients

Each individual is individually coached and prepared for the workforce. Our job placement specialists analyze job requirements and match them with individual capabilities to ensure a long-lasting working relationship.

Prior to being placed in a job, our clients will:

  • Assist in the job search process (We don’t find jobs—we assist individuals to find a job themselves)
  • Learn how to fill out a job application and create a resume
  • Practice interviewing techniques
  • Be trained in workplace etiquette
  • Participate in skills training
  • Identify their job skills and strengths to be able to meet job needs
  • Know how to handle typical workplace problem situations and their solutions

Entry Into the Workforce

We offer an employment specialist that provides job coaching to reduce your cost of on the job training. This service is offered at no fee to the employer and continues until the individual reaches job independence. The employment specialist is there from day one to provide support if needed. Their job isn’t to do the work task for the individual, rather ensure that they have the understanding and tools to successfully complete it themselves.

The employment specialist works closely with the employer to determine the level of involvement he or she needs to provide—ensuring that the employer is comfortable with the individual’s performance. They also work with individuals off-site to provide job support.

Benefits to the Employer

Not only is there no fee for hiring our workers, but businesses may also be eligible for incentives such as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and wage reimbursement through the Department of Rehabilitation Services.

Skills Training

Sunrise Café Training Programs

The Skills Training programs give individuals training they can use in community employment.  The training is done on site at Pioneer Center and is completed in a 12 to 16 week period.  Individuals have a trainer throughout this period to develop strong work skills and habits, build self-esteem, become independent and prepare for future employment in the community.  When these skills have been mastered, employment will be sought in the business community for the individual.

Employee Development Services (EDS)

Employee Development Services (EDS) provides assessment of employability and develops employment skills that will assist individuals for future access and participation within their communities. Services are provided for students transitioning from special education to adult services and to adults who need to develop skills for competitive employment. Classes include job exploration and retention, workplace skills training, time management, communication and problem solving, computer skills training in our assistive technology lab, interviewing, resume writing and portfolio building, self-advocacy and also includes opportunities for volunteering leadership and peer mentoring.

Managed Enterprises (ME)

Managed Enterprises, or ME, is an entrepreneurial program designed for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities of all ages. Currently, the program has individuals ranging in age from 22 to 71. The program introduces basic business principles including:

  • Business structure
  • Concepts
  • Product development
  • Customer services
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Introductory accounting

Led by experienced staff in a supportive environment, program participants take lead roles in executing the essential functions of running and maintaining a business. When completing a specific task for one of the program’s businesses, individuals earn minimum wage. In addition, utilizing the skills learned in this program, many program participants work part-time in community based jobs.

Pioneer Industries

On December 31, Pioneer Industries will be closing.  In its place, a new community-based vocational program will open a whole new world of opportunities for our clients.  Read more about it.