Employment is an important step in a young person's journey towards independence and adulthood. Career exploration, matching strengths and interests and building basic work skills are the first steps in preparing for employment. Soft skills will help the worker maintain a job and develop good working relationships with co-workers.
We've all been asked the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Some of us have a clear idea of what we want to do and what steps we need to take in order to be prepared for that career. Others have no idea what types of jobs are out there that they might be suited for and what types of education and training they may need in order to get that job.
Career exploration is the process of learning about yourself and the world of work. It is about researching, identifying and exploring jobs that you may find interesting and satisfying. And, finally, it is about developing strategies that will help you achieve that job.
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Matching Strengths and Interests
Understanding yourself is an important key to success. To know yourself means to be aware of strengths, weaknesses, needs, interests and preferences. It is important that young people, especially those with disabilities, gain an understanding of their abilities and disabilities. Matching their strengths to their interests will allow them to develop goals that reflect personal desires and lead to successful life choices.
Basic Work Skills
The term work skills refers to basic abilities and habits employers are looking for in their employees. Work skills might be foundation skills like reading, writing, and math, but they can also be job specific skills such as driving, keyboarding, or operating a piece of machinery. Learning work skills can contribute to a young person's ability to finding and keeping a job.
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Soft skills are everyday skills, like getting along with others, that help youth succeed in all aspects of life. For students with disabilities, these everyday skills may need to be learned and practiced before they become a natural part of the day. Developing these soft skills will not only help lead to success on the job but will lead to greater independence in the community, and positive experiences in social situations.