Our team of experienced Employment Specialists can help teens with disabilities prepare for a brighter future with a rewarding career. We aim to help bridge the gap between high school and adulthood by assisting teens and young adults who have little or no work history with an opportunity to explore possible careers through short-term work experiences.

Pine Tree Society is a provider of the Maine Department of Labor’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) Progressive Employment activities to assist youth in preparing for the transition from school to work.

Employment Specialist, Marie DeFranca explains, “Progressive employment is a way to give individuals between the ages of 14 and 22 a way to experience different types of work that they have never been exposed to. It’s beyond the scope of their everyday activities. It’s beyond working in a grocery store and maybe actually getting into a work experience that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.”

Progressive Employment, also known as Career Development or Pre-Employment, provides individuals who have little or no work history, low skill levels, or other barriers a way into paid employment that builds momentum and provides a way to increase skill level and confidence.

Our Employment Specialists help facilitate company tours, informational interviews, job shadows, and short-term work experiences. We evaluate existing work skills, and identify training, support or accommodation needs. We help the individual develop interpersonal and customer service skills.

Progressive Employment eliminates the need to be “job ready.” Since it is low risk for both the employer and the participant, the barriers to gaining meaningful employment experiences are significantly reduced. These experiences help the individual build a resume and professional references.

DeFranca gives an example of how Progressive Employment actives are helping a young man she is working with explore a meaningful career opportunity. He currently works in a grocery store but he is interested in a career working with animals. DeFranca arranged for an informational interview and job shadow experience in a local veterinary practice. Watch a video about Progressive Employment below.

For more information about Progressive Employment, click here or contact Career Development Services Manager, Lillian Doughty, LSW, ACRE at (207) 386-5841 or email ldoughty@pinetreesociety.org.

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