The Bridge, Community Workforce Services offers community based employment experience and placement for individuals with special needs that are aged 21 years-old through 25 years-old. Individuals are offered an integrated work experience that introduces them to the workplace, puts them on the employment path with learning job skills and interviewing, then placement at business partner locations.
The Bridge is organized into three different phases, with each step getting the individual closer into a successful job placement.
Phase One is the Discovery phase.
Activities for discovery include time spent with the individual observing leisure activities, questioning to gain knowledge of where and what type of job he/she wants, determining individual’s skills to make placements successful.
Employment Path, next step in this phase, offers workplace education to participants. This education includes general office skills, organization, filing, interviewing aids, how to handle social situations and workplace safety.
Phase Two is Job Experience.
During this time, individuals are set up on mock employment interviews with local business professional volunteers as the interviewers. This allows individuals exposure to different interview styles and settings. Individuals are then assigned to local partner businesses to observe different jobs task and perform certain activities.
Phase Three is Job Placement/Internship.
At this point, individuals are placed with local business partners for up to six weeks, depending on the length of time activities demand. Currently these placements are unpaid. However, the goal of The Bridge is to build a networks of partner businesses that will either pay individuals minimum wage during internships or hire them after completion of internships into a part-time position.
Goals of The Bridge are as listed:
1. To bridge the gap between individuals with special needs and the local business community, by showing businesses that these individuals can work in non-inclusive settings.
2. Place individuals at local partner businesses through paid internships.
3. Identify individuals with special needs that desire and able to work outside their inclusive settings in the community at large.
4. Provide education and training to selected individuals and introduce them to the community workplace.
Partners including the following:
Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities
Arkansas Department of Career Education, Arkansas Rehabilitation Services
Hope in Action
Charitable Christian Clinic
Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church
Hope Haven Assisted Living
Life House Church
Hope for Paws
Joel Thompson Construction
Ivan Smith Furniture
Hope Public Schools
Nevada County Circuit Clerk
W. Mays Enterprises
The Farm Store
Razorback Jack Custom Furniture
City of Hope
North Folk Farms
Additionally, The Bridge contracts with Social Security to provide free job support services to people who receive Social Security disability benefits age 18 through 64 who are interested in working towards the goal of replacing their benefits with income from a job. As an Employment Network, ROC offers career planning help, job leads and job placement, ongoing employment support and benefits counseling.
To learn more about The Bridge services or to
become an internship or job location, contact Lori Thompson.