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Work Toolkit:


Get ready

Strategize: Work is a solution

Work is a fundamental life activity for adults. It's what most of us do with 20, 30 or 40 hours of our week.

For people with disabilities, working in the community and earning a competitive wage provides more money, more freedom and more options to live their best lives, their way. Working is a great way to meet and connect with others, boost confidence, provide structure, increase stability, and improve overall health.

Better yet, it's not only the job seeker who can benefit from employment. Businesses also need good employees. People with disabilities often have exactly what employers are looking for — skills that meet their needs and commitment to do the job well.

During ordinary conversations with the people you support, listen for opportunities where work could be a solution to a problem or help meet an expressed need.

If you work, you'll earn more money. You can use the extra income to meet your needs, whether it's paying your bills or paying for things that are important to you — like hobbies or a trip. 

Listen for statements like:

  • I'd love to get my own place but I don't know how I would pay for it.
  • I wish I could visit my grandkids more often, but I don't have enough money to travel.
  • My electricity got shut off again because I couldn't pay the bill.

Most people work during the day. It can be hard to find other things to do or to make social connections when family, friends and neighbors are all working. The more you work, the more natural connections and supports you will have. You can use work as a way to meet new people, make new friends and stay connected with your community.

Listen for statements like:

  • I don't really have any friends.
  • I don't go out much.
  • No one ever asks me to do anything with them.
  • I'm bored.
  • I liked the friends I had when I was in school.

Working offers new experiences and opportunities to build new skills. Working can open doors for future opportunities, and can help pay for more of the things you want to do.

Listen for statements like:

  • I wish I knew how to (fill in the blank).
  • I've always wanted to (fill in the blank).
  • If I had more money, I'd (fill in the blank).

Everyone has contributions to make. We can explore your options to find the right fit for you. If your first try doesn't work — or your second try, or your third — you can try something else. You'll learn something new with each experience, and you'll have a better idea what to try the next time. With the right job and the right support, you can be successful at work.     

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