C.R.E.A.T.E. Internships Program
The C.R.E.A.T.E. Internships (Career. Readiness. Education. And. Training. Experience) program will provide a paid, competitive, integrated employment experience to persons with Developmental Disabilities (DD) ages 18-24. This program is designed to link high school seniors with Developmental Disabilities to Occupations in-demand (OID) in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Working in collaboration with local employers, service providers, and school districts, Vocational Training Center (VTC) will imbed several highly successful best practices discovered through the US Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy's Disability Employment Initiative (DEI). These innovations will provide a unique opportunity to transition-aged youth with significant barriers to employment due to a disability.
A 2007 study titled Jobs for the Future addresses the impact of work-based learning in integrated settings for today’s transition-age youth. The study found that high school students who participated in work-based learning were more likely to go to work compared to their peers. Studies also found that those who participate in occupational education in integrated settings are more likely to be competitively employed than students who have not participated in such activities (Blackorby & Wagner, 1996; Colley & Jamison, 1998; Luecking & Fabian, 2000; Rogan, 1997). C.R.E.A.T.E. Internships will create integrated, competitive opportunities for interns by providing: 1) a paid, individualized, transferable employability skills training program (up to 40 hours) delivered in multiple teaching formats including work-based learning, and 2) a 120-hour, competitively compensated, community-integrated internship. The goal of this program is to provide the necessary work-based training and experience to give the intern the best opportunity to find success in a competitive, integrated work environment that he or she enjoys.
North Dakota State Council on Developmental Disabilities (NDSCDD) funding has allowed VTC to establish the necessary conditions for successful program implementation. Prior to putting even one intern in the program, several preparatory actions occurred. Program policies and procedures were developed. Program information materials for prospective interns, service providers, and employers were created. Significant planning and coordination was needed to ensure partnerships were sufficiently collaborative and all parties involved share a common vision. VTC continues to recruit potential employers to develop internship jobs with reasonable accommodations. These are just a few of the tasks that have been accomplished. Without NDSCDD funding, VTC’s current staffing or budget could not support the start-up costs and staff time associated with the initial development and implementation of the project.
Fargo VTC is uniquely qualified to offer Work-Readiness Internships because of the highly successful implementation of all phases of Day Support and Extended Services programing. Fargo VTC has historically worked with several local and regional businesses to provide a wide variety of work experiences in three distinct work settings. These settings included; 1) sheltered workshops to improve work-readiness skills, 2) Small-Group Supported Employment, a community-based program that transitions individuals into competitive, integrated employment, and 3) Supported Individual Employment in competitive and integrated jobs that match the skills, interests and aptitudes of the job seeker. In each of these settings, job coaching is provided to initially train and continuously improve the skills necessary to thrive in their chosen occupational fields. VTC's variety provides a broad spectrum of experiences that creates an optimal environment for the job seekers to successfully move along the career pathway of their choosing strategies.
VTC's ability to implement and sustain this innovative, empirically-tested best practice is enhanced through its well established and collaborative partnerships with area high schools, other Fargo community human services organizations, and the local Chamber of Commerce. VTC has established the necessary expertise to ensure CREATE becomes a staple of VTC's career pathway services, as well as a model for other DD service providers in the North Dakota.
In-School Youth - Employability Screening Qualifications
Out-of-School Youth - Employability Screening Qualifications
Fall 2018 CREATE Internships Application Packet