Job Placement Specialists
Placement is a stage in a sequence of events that begins long before an individual receives a job offer and continues long afterward. Prior to the job offer, placement specialists assist visually impaired job-seekers to focus on attainable career goals, develop job-seeking skills, conduct a job search, convince an employer to hire them, and, above all else, know which tools and assistive devices they will use to perform their duties.
Job placement specialists evaluate their consumers to determine the level of intervention they will need. According to one scheme (Wolffe, 1997), consumers fall into three categories: information, instruction, and advocacy.
Informational consumers require minimal assistance. Placement specialists can give directions and expect them to follow through. These consumers can apply information-gathering (e.g., finding job leads), job-seeking, and interviewing skills independently or with only occasional coaching from the job placement specialist.
Instructional consumers require more help in the beginning, but can ultimately self-place. Placement specialists may have to engage in job development—direct contact with employers for the purpose of finding appropriate job matches, introducing and marketing the consumer, and providing close follow-up services. With practice and training, the majority of these consumers lives independently and works competitively.
Advocacy-level consumers require extensive support, perhaps for life. Placement specialists may need the assistance of a job coach to place and support a consumer on a job that has been selectively sought for the consumer. One-to-one instruction is often required and a variety of creative teaching techniques must be used before these consumers master their job duties. Often, job coaches assist these consumers throughout their working lives.
Job placement specialists are supported by the National Rehabilitation Association of Job Placement and Development (NRAPD), a division of the National Rehabilitation Association.