Adelante wants to recognize and congratulate Emilia Sanchez, one of our job coaches, on earning her ACRE certification. ACRE, or the Association of Community Rehabilitation Educators, certifies employment support staff for people with disabilities such as job coaches and job developers to enhance their skills in getting clients jobs.
ACRE’s website says: “We share a common mission of advocacy through education to improve the quality of employment services for people with disabilities.”
To explain, in her training, Emilia learned different strategies to provide customized employment services. “It’s a lot of information,” she said. Additionally, much of ACRE’s comprehensive training covers how to highlight the strengths of people with disabilities in their job searches.
Firstly, assessing different individuals and age groups on their talents and abilities is important. This then helps a job developer match good employment options to a particular client. Emilia says, “One important part is just talking to clients, and getting to know them and what their interests are. Learning what they enjoy is necessary, because if they don’t enjoy their job, what fun is it?” As a result, Emilia gets a better idea of the kinds of jobs in which a client might excel.
To point out, Emilia works as part of the Adelante EmployAbility team, a supported employment program that helps connect people with disabilities to jobs in local businesses. Therefore, she and her co-workers often have to be creative to increase the chances of a person with a developmental disability finding a job. For example, when Emilia helps a client to create resumes when they have little or no work experience, she includes all tasks the client is able to do, including chores at home, to demonstrate their skills to potential employers. Emilia has also can help create a video resume of a client chores to show their skills. Furthermore, highlighting a job candidate’s strengths could involve finding and discovering job skills others wouldn’t consider.
Furthermore, ACRE teaches advocacy skills, as well. Emilia says this training really helped her in asking employers to consider hiring a person with a disability. Hence, she is more confident about politely approaching potential employers to open their minds. “I ran into one company that didn’t have a good experience working with a person with a disability. I told them ‘Not every person with a disability is the same, just like how you and I are different.’ I asked them if they could maybe give my client a shot. They gave him a shot and he actually ended up getting a job with them.”
Community in Certification
Importantly, ACRE is also a community, allowing those with the certification to share strategies. People working in the field of supportedemployment often do not have many opportunities to network, so ACRE stays a valuable resource after the training is over.
A point often overlooked is that studies show about 75% of employers said their employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) were good or very good on qualities like dependability and work quality. Unfortunately, only 19% of Americans with IDD actually participate in the workforce, which is why Adelante continues to offer a full range of employment services for people with disabilities.
On the positive side, local businesses can be part of the solution by either working with Adelante’s social enterprises or by directly hiring a person with a disability. If you are looking for good employees or if you know a person with a disability looking for a job, contact Adelante’s supported employment team at (505)341-2000 or email ExplorePrograms@GoAdelante.org .