Oregon Update: Youth Guided Group Discovery
As fall begins and students are returning to school, LEAD Center has already met with the transition network facilitators at our Oregon Guided Group Discovery pilot sites. Sites are gearing up to offer Guided Group Discovery (GGD) again at their schools, and the project will be expanding to additional schools during the school year. LEAD Center is collecting data from the pilot sites regarding students’ use of their employment blueprint, if they have secured employment over the summer break, and how they used the tools they learned during last year’s Guided Group Discovery classes.
All students were given a pre-test and post-test to measure their knowledge on topics such as knowing the services for which they are eligible and their comfort level on job interviews. LEAD Center also tracked individual responses as to how well students felt the Guided Group Discovery process worked for them. Students reported an increase in their knowledge of Vocational Rehabilitation, WorkSource, and Community Developmental Disability programs, as well as programs for mental health, work incentives and benefits counseling, Centers for Independent Living, etc.
Students reported that the most important things they learned were how to develop a networking pitch, conduct an informational interview, and identify their conditions of employment. One youth used his networking pitch to secure a part-time job before the end of the school year. Students reported an increased knowledge of their own skills and abilities, positive personality traits, interests, as well as disability disclosure, and requesting accommodations.
Below are just a few comments from some of the youth participants in answer to the question, “What did you find most useful?”
- Discussion about job opportunities and getting teachers’ feedback.
- Skills, interests, tasks, and positive personality traits.
- How to have an interview.
- Who we could ask for help when we look for a job.
LEAD Center offers a suite of materials on Guided Group Discovery including a Facilitator Manual, an accompanying PowerPoint slide deck (Introduction and Course), and a Participant Workbook. There is also an Online Participant Workbook, which can be completed using any browser. This user-friendly tool allows youth and adults to create a personalized Blueprint for Employment. Each participant receives a private link that allows them to add to, edit, or review their information at any time. The Workbook can also be printed out or downloaded to review with counselors, teachers, and others.
A Self-Guided Discovery Facilitator’s Guide is also available and can be downloaded from the LEAD Center website. We encourage you to visit the website, where you will find extensive additional resources on Customized Employment. There also are archived webinars on Customized Employment, Guided Group Discovery, and Self-Guided Discovery.