Learn more about what DARS and the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired are doing with a federal grant to help individuals with disabilities gain training and credentials for jobs in high-demand industry sectors, including Advanced Manufacturing and IT. For more information on Career Pathways for Individuals with Disabilities and upcoming Dream It. Do It. Virginia Academies, visit https://www.vadars.org/gsp/cpid/cpid_home.htm
In 2015, the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services and the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired were awarded a five-year Career Pathways for Individuals with Disabilities grant, helping participants gain credentials and training for high demand industry sectors, including Advanced Manufacturing and Information Technology, leading to both a livable wage and career.
Well, part of our goal with Career Pathways is to partner with, um, individuals within the community.
We have a wonderful partnership with the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired.
But we also partner with pretty much any partnership that’s out there that works with individuals with disabilities that’s career goal, um, oriented.
The Career Pathways for Individuals with Disabilities grant is a workforce development strategy that helps individuals with the most significant barriers access employment.
And so the Career Pathways is an opportunity to help people access credentials that they can stack that will lead to in-demand jobs that have good wages and that are in different industry clusters within the state.
Manufacturers need skilled and talented workers to meet the demands of the 21st century advanced manufacturing.
CPID is training individuals with disabilities and it’s helping to be part of the solution.
We’re working with CPID to inspire, certify and employ.
If an individual is interested in Career Pathways, the first step would be for them to either work with the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired or the Department for Aging and Rehab Services.
They would work with a counselor in each of those areas.
What they do is then talk with their counselor about what their interest are.
They might have assistive technology assessment done. They might have a vocational evaluation done.
It really is individualized for each person, which is kind of exciting because we’re working with, um, an individual on their terms.
We’re looking at not only what we know about advanced manufacturing at the VR side.
We’re learning what the demands are from businesses, but we’re also sharing information about our individuals with disabilities and the abilities that they can give.
We had all these people going to four-year colleges and now what we’re seeing is the pendulum switch and with a new Virginia economy, looking at credentialing.
And credentialing is so important because a lot of the hard working individuals that are going out there are finding that they just need a credential, and getting wonderful jobs.
We’re looking at the Manufacturing Technician 1 certificate, which will let individuals start out in jobs such as Machine Operator and Technician 1.
These are solid jobs that lead to some really wonderful wages.
This program, the MTT program that all of my full-time clients are in now, that program is geared to meet the needs of industry in Virginia.
We’re giving them time to absorb this level of information and they’re going to be very good contributions, uh, to any plant that they work for.
This is a great program. I want to get certified so I will be able to tell myself I wasn’t limited and that I was able to do it and now I’ll be able to go pursue a job and a career.
The certification, um, to me is going to be another stackable certificate that I can show employers that says, “Yes, I can do this job. Yes, I’m willing to work for you, and I’m willing to put that amount of effort and experience to work for you or your company.”
We’re the largest minority in the country and what a wonderful way for us to fill that skills gap is to fill it with people with disabilities that are more than capable of doing the jobs that businesses need.
Thanks to instructor Jim Leech, participants of the MTT program, and the participants of the Dream It. Do It. Virginia academies for their participation in this video.