Employment First: Job Seeker

Community employment is not beyond anyone’s grasp!  Employment First is working to empower people to reach their employment goals.  Let’s look at what this means and where you can start.

What is having a job really about?

Every person has gifts to share with the world. Every person has their own unique interests, talents, and abilities to offer to others. Every person has dreams and goals for their life and every person should have the opportunity to work towards their dreams and goals. Our community and employers have a lot to gain from you working a community job; employers need the gifts you bring as an employee. Having a job is not just about making money, its about having the chance to lead the life you want. Lets look at some more reasons someone might want to find a job in the community. Below are thoughts about what having a job is really about!

A Job You LOVE!

Having a job in the community means you have the chance to go to a job you choose, a job you love to do. Think about your dream job, where do you want to work? Think about the special talents and abilities you have and look for work that will highlight this. What kind of environment do you want to work in: inside, outside, loud, busy, calm, with lots of people, alone? If you think about things you already love and learn about the types of jobs available you might just find the perfect match. Your job should be fun and enjoyable!

Opportunity Make More Money 

Work is not only about making money, but it is a big part of it. Community employment must pay at least $7.95 per hour. Those working in a sheltered setting might make less per hour due to federal laws. A lot of people like going out with friends, buying new things and traveling. Having a job allows you to have a lot of opportunity for fun! Having a job also helps you fulfill adult responsibilities like paying bills and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Working in the community means you are making a difference for yourself and your family, and most importantly giving you an opportunity to be proud of this accomplishments.

man in officeMore Schedule Options

Working in the community means you will have the chance to work how ever many hours as you want. If you need more or less hours you have the ability to talk with your supervisor. By working more or less hours, you have the opportunity to make how much money you need. Your hours at work for a community job do not depend on what your budget or waiver will support but instead how many hours your boss needs you. Since local businesses need employees for many different shifts, you can look for a job that offers time/days that you want to work. If you are working at a sheltered workshop, you can only work during the workshop hours.

Working for Independence

Most people, once they graduate from high school, go on to find a job or get some type of education that will help them find a job. In many ways, high school is training for the adult work life. You have to be on time, dress appropriate, and complete assigned tasks. You may have explored career options in high school. This is because adults have to find work pay for things like food, rent, clothing, and bills to be independent. Sure not all adults work but it is the expectation in our society. Having employment helps someone learn more about themselves. A job can allow for your talents to shine and new skills to be developed. By having a job and the responsibility that comes with working, a person can find more independence and self determination in their life.

Making Friends and Making a Difference

When working together everyday you can’t help but make friends with your co-workers. Having a job in the community gives you a chance to meet new people and make new connections. Whether its co-workers or the customers you interact with, people will get to know you from the work you do. Plus, you’ll be able to share fun or interesting work stories with the friends you already have. For many people having a job is about being able to give back to the community. Every person can make a difference by the work they do. By helping customers, creating something new, being a good co-worker, or simply smiling to brighten someone’s day, you can make a difference through your job. Having work means staying busy and not being “stuck at home”.

I’m Interested in a Job, What Should I do Now?

Finding a job can be an exciting but also an overwhelming time. Your SSA can help point you in the right direction when looking for community employment.

Finding your Spot on the PATH to Employment 

Every person will have a spot on the path to employment. This means that even if you are still unsure about working in the community, your SSA will talk to you about community employment.

Opportunity for Ohioians with Disability (OOD)

Many people, especially those who have never worked before, will need help to get a job. Talk to you SSA about sending a referral to Opportunity for Ohioans with Disability (OOD also know as BVR or VR). This agency helps anyone with a disability find employment; they fund support and services you might need while finding a job. Once your application is accepted the OOD will assign you a caseworker to gather all information needed for your new OOD case. This caseworker will help coordinate services and develop your employment plan. Then you’ll have the chance to choose a provider who will act as a job developer. The job developer will learn all about your skills, talents, interests, and help you find a job.

OhioMeansJobs Erie County  

OhioMeansJobs Erie County is a part of our local Job and Family Services. This office offers free employment seeking assistance in the form of computer, internet access, printing, and job postings. The office also offers free workshops nearly every day of the week. OhioMeansJobs Erie County also supports a website www.ohiomeansjobs.com where you can view local “help wanted” ads. Located at 221 W Parish Street OhioMeansJobs Erie County is open to anyone and is on the SPARK bus route. Check out the link to view our local Ohio Means Jobs website www.northcoastjobs.org.


man working in shopDevelop Your Skills 

Finding a job can be a big task for anyone. Part of getting the job you want is being well prepared. Preparation can include developing employment skills, building tools such as a resume, and gaining some experience.

Beyond the Usual

Everyone’s needs are different, which means employment will look different to every person. Some people want to work 40 hours per week and others only want to work 3 hours per week. Employment to you might mean starting your own business or volunteering in the community.


light bulb "idea" graphicStarting your Own Business 

Starting your own business is a possibility. There are many resources available to someone wishing to become a small business owner.





Our community is always in need of hard working caring people to give back. Volunteering, although unpaid, is a wonderful way to build work experience and skills. The Volunteer Center of Erie County will help match your volunteer interests to a community agency in need of help. For more information check out The Volunteer Center of Erie County website www.thevolunteercenter.com.