Work plays a significant role in helping youth shape a successful career and a life of purpose and independence.
A job provides money for youth to buy and do the things they want. Paid work can also help youth learn new things and develop job skills while exploring their interests, creating friendships and networks, and building confidence. Help youth progress toward competitive integrated employment.
Awareness: Understand employment principles.
Exploration: Identify personal strengths, preferences, interests and needs within each employment topic.
Preparation: Practice skills, make decisions and get ready to enter into competitive integrated employment.
Implementation: Use work skills as independently as possible in competitive integrated employment.
Workplace readiness training
Hear what young people have to say about employment
Watch this 5 minute video and learn how these young people went about finding their jobs and why employment is an important part of living their best lives.
LEARN: Develop your knowledge
Learn how to support youth in thinking about employment.
Employment First means raising the expectation that all Minnesotans with disabilities can work, want to work, and can achieve competitive integrated employment. Each person is offered the opportunity to work and earn a competitive wage before being offered other services or supports.
By definition, competitive integrated employment:
May be full-time, part-time or self-employment (with or without supports)
Is in the competitive labor force, or on the payroll of a competitive business or industry
Pays at least minimum wage, but not less than the customary wage and level of benefits paid for the same or similar work performed by workers without a disability
It's important to encourage youth to think of employment as more than a job, but rather a lifelong process of career development that maximizes skills, interests, earning potential and satisfaction. In fact, youth who have paid work experience before age 18 are more likely to be employed as adults.
Work can help youth:
Experience meaningful community participation
Increase quality of life through physical and mental health benefits
Structure their time
Use and develop skills at an age when employers are more understanding
Get motivated to plan for the future (especially youth who struggle in school)
There are also additional benefits for youth to start work while still in school.
If they get SSI, the Student Earned Income Exclusion lets them keep more than $2,000 a month and still receive their full SSI benefit.
Employers tend to have more patience with younger workers, who are expected to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes.
They can earn spending money before they have to pay bills.
Self-awareness of strengths, interests, preferences, and needs
Occupations or career possibilities that match strengths, interests, preferences, and needs
Work-based learning experiences
Managing the job process
Job search strategies
Applying for work
How to advance at work
How to leave a job
Advocacy and supports in employment
Self-advocacy in the workplace
Work and benefits
Employment services and supports
Dive deeper into concepts related to employment. The comprehensive work toolkit developed for professionals will introduce you to steps you can take and tools you can use to help people with disabilities make informed choices about work and reach their work goals.
Complete the four activities in My Vault's work path to help youth assess their strengths, interests and resources, and then build a vision for what they want in a job. After each activity, discuss how to use their results throughout the process and how to advocate for what they want in a job.
Minnesota Career Information System (MCIS) is an online career planning tool supported by the Minnesota Department of Education and used by 80 percent of Minnesota high schools. MCIS includes a curriculum section for educators. A paid subscription is required for use.