Discovery is the critical first step in the Customized Employment process. It guides FRW through a process of finding out who their participants are, what they want to do, and what they have to offer. Discovery in of itself is an alternate assessment; one that collects information about the job seeker’s interests, skills, environmental preferences, employment goals, and other topics related to the job seeker’s employment search, rather than outlining their deficits. It is strength based, individualized, qualitative assessment strategy that avoids some of the more comparative strategies that often exclude job seekers with significant disabilities and other barriers from generic workforce programs or the conventional job application process.
The process opens a plethora of possibilities for further exploration by the job seeker rather than just trying to “fit” into a fixed job description. Discovery is grounded in a belief that assisting job seekers to develop a full understanding of who they are is a critical step in successfully securing the customized needs of both the consumer and employer that is rewarding and sustainable because it creates a good fit for both the job seeker and the business that hires the job seeker.
The purpose of the Fontana Resources at Work (FRW) Student Service PWE (paid work experience) program is to provide meaningful employment experience to students currently enrolled in an educational program between the ages of 16-21. The PWE program aims to bridge the gap between High School and Transitional stages, allowing each student an opportunity to get real world job experience over the course of multiple 100-hour apprenticeships. There is no limit to the experience each student can gain while enrolled in this program. FRW strives to give those enrolled opportunities in multiple fields of work including retail, clerical/admin, hospitality, customer service, and other fields that become available as the program progresses. Once the student transitions out of High School, the doors open to many possible career paths of the students choosing.