Community Employment Opportunities
Misericordia offers a robust Employment Service program, with more than 70 residents holding more than 100 positions with more than 30 employers in the greater Chicagoland community. Residents of Misericordia can be found working from the North shore to the South side of Chicago, and as far West as the O’Hare corridor. Employers range from small businesses to “Big Box” corporations, from universities to franchise locations. Residents of Misericordia hold positions in food services, customer services, housekeeping, maintenance, retail, light industrial, and other varied employment settings.
There are two typical types of community employment: competitive integrated employment and enclave employment. Each employment type has their own advantages, and provides an appropriate level of support to the individual. Residents who obtain community employment retain their position through the length of their employment; their employment is not subject to rotation, and the individual can maintain their employment as long as both the individual and the employer are willing to maintain the employment.
Competitive Integrated Employment: Competitive integrated employment (CIE) is when the individual works directly under the supervision of the employer, within the employer’s typical management systems. CIE employees interview with the employer, utilize natural supports within the workplace, and are subject to the performance expectations of the employer. Residents employed through CIE receive their paycheck directly from the employer, and may receive benefits, based on the employer’s personnel policies. All CIE employment is based on wages at or above minimum wages.
Enclave Employment: Enclave employment is when the individual works within a small work crew, comprised of residents of Misericordia, working at locations in the community, under the supervision of a Misericordia Job Coach. The Job Coach learns the expectations of the employer, and provides direct supervision to the enclave workers. An enclave makes it possible to support a person who may need additional support in the community. An enclave worker does need to be able to perform to the work productivity requirements of the employer. Enclave workers may receive their paycheck from Misericordia, where the employer pays Misericordia for the service. Enclave employment is almost always paid at minimum wage or above.
Misericordia’s Employment First Philosophy
Misericordia maintains an Employment First philosophy where employment in the greater community should be the first and preferred option for Persons with Disabilities, in which the person has both the desire and ability to obtain competitive integrated employment (CIE). Misericordia further understands that CIE is not right for everyone, and that the wants, needs, and preferences of the person should be considered first, along with input from family supports.
The Process of Community Employment: The process for assisting a resident find employment starts with knowing the resident well. The Employment Services Team works with residents interested in community employment and their support team to learn about the resident’s areas of employment interest through assessment and job exploration. The Employment Services Team works continuously to find new, prospective employers. When a potential job opportunity aligns for a resident to interview for, the Employment Services Team assists them with the application process. When a new hire occurs, a Job Coach is assigned to work with both the resident and their new employer to successfully start their employment. Once initial training and supports are successful, the Employment Services Team maintains ongoing support to both the resident employee and their employer, to ensure long-term employment. This support includes developing a transportation plan based on the skills and needs of the individual.
Assessment and Job Exploration: Misericordia uses an extensive competitive integrated employment assessment to truly understand the resident’s employment interests and abilities. This assessment process starts with obtaining guardian approval, and involves gathering information from the resident and their support team. The assessment process also considers a vast array of skills and statuses, such as community skills, self-preservation skills, health status, and communication skills. The Employment Services Team reviews the resident’s work history, and goes over their current work interests. Residents have the opportunity to explore jobs both through work with a job developer and through the Community Access program.
Prospective Employers: The Employment Services Team develops relationships with prospective new employers through a variety of sources. Many prospective employers are introduced to employing persons with disabilities through contact and relationships with Misericordia family members, staff, benefactors and other individuals and businesses networked to Misericordia. Some are introduced through Misericordia events. Many are the result of the Employment Services Team calling businesses in our residents’ commuting radius, and through researching corporate mission and diversity statements. It is estimated that over 20% of people in the Unites States identify with having a disability, which makes persons with disabilities an important component of a business’s customer base, and thus should be represented in their employees. If you have a potential employer lead, please contact Michael Diaz, Administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org or Anne Pellettieri, Employment Services Supervisor at email@example.com. All leads are appreciated!
Job Coaching: Job coaching begins with the initial application and interview process. The process of starting new employment begins with a Misericordia Job Developer, who specializes in learning the needs of the employer, and providing the initial training needed for the resident to begin successful employment. The length of time that a Job Developer stays on site is flexible by both the resident employee’s demonstrated ability to perform required duties, as well as the employer’s preference for taking the lead on their own training and supervision. The average time for a resident to have onsite job coaching is about 2-3 weeks (equivalent weeks).
Ongoing support: Once the resident employee has moved to the direct supervision of the employer, and no longer requires onsite job coaching, the Employment Services Team continues to provide ongoing support to both the individual and the employer. The Job Developer will maintain regular contact with the employer, to provide an early opportunity to assist with any areas concen, as well as to be a resource to the employer for any disability related questions, performance issues, or future opportunities for growth or advancement. The resident continues to receive job coaching services to ensure their safe traveling to and from work, to include transportation routes and communicating departures and arrivals.
Transportation: Residents working in the greater community utilize a variety of transportation methods to get to and from work based on their skills and needs as well as the location of the employer and available mass transit routes. Transportation methods include mass transit CTA bus and train routes and Metra, door-to-door PACE Transit services, walking, and the Misericordia transit fleet. Every attempt is made to utilize the most independent method that is available and appropriate- the Employment Services Team will work together with the individual and their support team to identify the appropriate form of transportation.
Current List of Employers:
Misericordia appreciates every business that provides employment opportunities for residents of Misericordia. Following is a list of employers who currently employ one or more residents. Please support the following businesses!