Career Solutions

The Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville (DSAJ) launched its first Career Solutions Academy in September 2019.

The DSAJ staff and Board of Directors have been out in the surrounding Jacksonville community singing the praises of our adults with Down syndrome and the potential they have to be lasting and essential staff members of local businesses. That potential is there, but most people with Down syndrome do not have the individualized training to secure and maintain a job. The DSAJ has created a special curriculum to help them realize their employment dreams and then help those dreams become reality.

We know that people with Down syndrome learn and retain information very differently than those with other IDDs (Intellectual and Developmental Differences). Our teachers and staff know how to educate and motivate in order to ensure success in future jobs and careers. 

The Academy

This four-month program will be offered twice a year (fall and spring semesters) for 3 days per week, 3 hours per day. During these classes, the students will explore:

Human Resources & Social Skills

Students will be taught essential employ-ability skills such as enthusiasm/attitude, communication skills, problem solving, professionalism, teamwork and networking – all taught at a comprehensive and appropriate level to prepare participants to enter the workforce. The training will also place a focus on workplace etiquette including proper dress, hygiene, and behavior. Fundamental interviewing skills and resume preparation will be incorporated into the course. Sexual harassment, social media and social skills will all be covered!

Retail Skills

Students will explore the everyday operations of a retail business. Activities will include pricing items, restocking shelves, taking inventory, displaying merchandise, and practicing good customer service.

Office Skills

Students will explore what it is like to work in an office setting. Skills taught will include copying, shredding, labeling, answering phones, sorting & organizing mail, creating packets, what to do during break time and much more.

Food Service Skills

Students will explore what it is like to work in a restaurant or in the food service industry. They will practice skills such as setting tables, taking beverage orders from customers, busing tables, and on-the- job safety & hygiene, these skills will allow the student to become thoroughly familiar with the duties involved in food service.

Grocery Clerk Skills

Students will have exposure to working in a grocery store and will practice skills including bagging, stocking, product displays, checkout procedures and customer service.

All applicants must be signed up for Vocational Rehabilitation and have a job coach already secured before the start of the Career Solutions Training Academy semester. Must be over the age of 18. Transportation to the DSAJ office will not be provided.

For more information on this program, please contact DSAJ Employment Specialist Peyton Miller at peyton.miller@dsaj.org or at 904.353.6300.

EMPLOYMENT READINESS

“Working Towards Success”

Employment Readiness Course

(Ages 16+)

This six week course will be offered to individuals working towards a goal of employment. Essential employability skills such as enthusiasm/attitude, communication skills, problem solving, professionalism, teamwork and networking will be taught at a comprehensive level to prepare participants for entering the workforce. The training will also place a focus on workplace etiquette including professional appearance and behavior. Fundamental interviewing skills and resume preparation will be incorporated into the course. 

 

Each participant will have the opportunity to create a resume highlighting their skills and abilities. Using an array of teaching methods  including small group interaction, role-play, videos, and written and oral activities, the DSAJ hopes to effectively and realistically prepare individuals to be competent employees in the community workforce.

“Making It Work”

Job Task Training Employed Individuals

(Ages 18+) 

This course will be offered to individuals who currently obtain a part-time or  full-time employment opportunity in the community. The purpose of this program is to provide ongoing one-on-one support to the employee both in and out of their workplace. Participants will work with instructors to review critical workplace skills and topics such as gaining more responsibilities at work, asking for assistance, and what to do upon completion of duties. Each participant will create/update their resume which will highlight their individual skills and abilities.

Participants will have the opportunity to partake in individualized job task training, based upon their current occupation, focusing on the preparation and improvement of skills and tasks needed for them to be competent and capable workers. The overall objective for job task training for each individual is to work towards job task independence that can be transferred into their place of employment.

PAID INTERNS

“Working in Action”

Internship Program

Job Training Opportunity for Individuals with Down Syndrome

This six week paid internship at the Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville Office will be offered to individuals seeking to gain employment experience through a part-time work opportunity. This internship is ideal for individuals who have not previously held a job, as the individual will work amongst an instructor/colleague who will teach and review proper job etiquette and behavior, and will teach the skills necessary to work in an office setting. The internship is also open to individuals with prior work experiences who are seeking to expand their job skills. Skills will include copying, shredding, labeling, answering phones, sorting mail, organizing mail, creating packets using given materials and more. This internship provides experience for the individual seeking employment, and will be added to the individual’s resume upon completion.

EMPLOYER SUPPORT

“Work It Out”

Employer Support Program

The Employer Support program will allow the DSAJ to partner with employers that have provided opportunities of employment to individuals with Down syndrome. This program is designed to provide an adequate support system for employers which will create and maintain a successful working environment. The “Work It Out” Employer Support Program will offer guidance and suggestions on addressing any challenges.

The Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville, along with the service provider will work one-on-one with the employee to provide additional training. In addition, Down syndrome education, training and awareness is offered to the employee’s colleagues to ensure a comfortable work environment is in place for all.

Employ a Person with Down Syndrome

Do you want to add an employee who will have the most enthusiasm, the best attitude and the ability to make everyone around them happier in your workplace? Please contact Debbie Revels at Debbie.revels@dsaj.org for more information on how to recruit your next best employee!

employment program sponsors

Matrix OneSource
Global Down Syndrome Foundation
GATE Foundation
Marino Family Foundation
The McNabb Family
Florida Blue Foundation

Career Solutions Training Program

“When the doors are open to workers with
disabilities, corporations and businesses develop a new pool
of qualified employees who value their jobs and
provide much-welcomed diversity
in the workforce. “