What We Believe
Employment for All
Employment should be the first option for adults of any age who want to work.
Putting Skills to Work
Each person has something to contribute to our community and should be paid minimum wage or above for the work they do.
We facilitate jobs that are based on mutual benefit where a job candidate’s skills align with an employer’s needs.
At Edge Employment, we seek to enhance a person’s quality of life through community employment. We work with job candidates to discover their natural talent and ability, make connections with potential employers, as well as establish independence and job sustainability.
Our services include Traditional Supported Employment and Customized Supported Employment. Because we are funded in part by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), a job-seeker must be approved by OVR to begin the employment process. If you don’t have a connection with OVR, an Edge Employment Specialist can assist with the process. The only requirement for OVR eligibility is documentation of disability.
Edge Employment Specialists work one-on-one with a job candidate to determine how their contributions, interests, and conditions for success can be translated into paid work opportunities. We do this through weekly meetings with the job candidate, interviews with people close to the job candidate, engaging in familiar and new activities together. The process ends with a job planning meeting to prepare for Job Development, a visual resume to show employers, and a written Profile that documents the Discovery findings.
With the plan and portfolio developed during Discovery, an Edge Employment Specialist can either approach employers on behalf of the job candidate or take a behind-the-scenes approach, equipping a job candidate to represent themselves depending on their preference. While we prefer to serve as the initial point of contact, we strongly encourage job candidates to draw contacts from their own network because “it’s not what you know, but who” especially applies to employment.
During Job Development, the job candidate and Employment Specialist no longer need to meet weekly but will instead create their own plan for check-ins and accountability. When the operational needs of a business overlap with a job candidate’s interests, contributions, and conditions for success, the Employment Specialist will propose a match to the employer first. If the employer is interested, the Employment Specialist proposes the match to the job candidate.
When a job match is made, the Employment Specialist will support the employer by suggesting a training plan and support the employee by providing on-site and remote support until they are independent on the job. If an employee needs accommodations, adaptations, or workplace supports, an Employment Specialist will assist them in finding resources. After 180 days on the job, the employee will reach stable employment according to OVR. At this point, the employee, employer, and Employment Specialist will determine a long-term plan to support both parties.
Fading & Long-Term Support
Once the employee has become independent on the job, the Employment Specialist will begin the process of fading. Fading refers to an Employment Specialist gradually stepping back from remote and on-site support.
While we will not be accompanying the employee at work each day, an Employment Specialist will still be available to provide ongoing support to the employee, employer, the family, and others involved. The Employment Specialist will generally check in on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to ensure a smooth transition and promote job retention.
The amount of time spent supporting the employee after fading is determined based on employee and employer need. OVR financial support for employment services ends after 180 days on the job. At that time, the employee can receive long-term support through their waiver. If they are not a waiver recipient, the employee or their family can arrange private assistance.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
To receive Employment Services from Edge Employment or any support agency, you need to be eligible to receive support from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) in Kentucky, according to whom:
“There is no upper or lower age limit to be eligible for services, but an individual must be of employable age (14 years old in Kentucky) by the time services have been completed.” See more on the OVR website:
In order to be eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation services you must:
- Have a physical, mental, emotional, or learning disability that is a real barrier to you getting a job;
- Need Vocational Rehabilitation services to prepare you to get, keep, or regain employment; and
- Be able to benefit from the services that will assist you to get and keep the job or benefit from independent living.
If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) you are considered to be eligible.
Once you have an open VR case, Edge Employment can be authorized to represent you or your loved one.
For high school students and their families, we encourage starting considerations for employment before the student gets out of high school. Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) are available for high school students, paid for by OVR.
We encourage you to start thinking about employment well before the last year in school. There are things that students and their families can be doing in the time leading up to leaving high school that will better prepare exiting students to be employed after exiting high school.
Edge Employment specializes in Customized Employment. In Customized Employment, Employment Specialists spend intentional time getting to know each job candidate’s motivating interests, skills or potential contributions to the workplace, and their conditions for successor, what the job candidate will need to be successful in a workplace.
In addition to getting to know our job candidates very well, we strive to get to know the operational needs of local employers within their industries of interest. Is there work that would be better performed by others? Are there backups and/or bottlenecks? Are there miscellaneous tasks that never leave the to-do list?
This approach to Customized Employment works well for our job candidates AND for employers. It even works well for non-disabled employees! Employers who consider the strengths and needs of each employee will typically find their business running more efficiently, not less. Edge Employment is working to share this knowledge with employers to their own benefit.
There are many actions students and their families can take to begin preparing for employment before exiting high school, even if they need to be adapted. Some tips for future job candidates:
- Dream big! Yes, you may be able to get a job as a janitor or a ticket taker one day and there’s nothing wrong with those jobs, but you might want to do something different- something you may not have seen a person with a disability do before! Start with the dream and work back from the top. Don’t start by aiming low.
- Read books and do online research about careers, then discuss what those careers might look like for you.
- Spend time considering how you learn best. Being shown? Listening to or reading written instructions? Seeing the task performed by someone else, first? Repetitive practice? This is different for each person and will be good to tell employers when it comes to on-the-job training.
- Find chores to do at home that fit your strengths. The task can be big or small, easy or difficult- whatever works for you and your family. Maybe you do part of a task yourself and another person in the household does the rest. Then, do those chores regularly!
- Dress to impress when you go out in public, as if you’re going to a job interview. Ask your most stylish friends or family members for advice.
- Create an email address, open a bank account, obtain a phone, and have your state ID available for job-related needs.
- Ask those around you to treat you as the adult you are and treat yourself like one, too! You deserve to take risks and learn from your mistakes just like anyone else. Also like anyone else, you may need support from others to be successful in the workplace but it is still YOUR job- no one else’s responsibility.
- Encourage the student to speak for themselves and pay for themselves, to as great a degree as possible. And there are more ways of speaking than just using words!
- Network, network, network! When looking for gainful employment, it’s not what you know, but who. Family, friends, parents of your friends, teachers, coaches, neighbors, religious leaders, and employees of the places you frequent can all offer connections that may lead to employment. Use them. One of the greatest disadvantages many job applicants with disabilities face is a limited or non-existent network of connections.
- Practice talking about what does and does not work for you, including how this pertains to your disability and navigating everyday life.
More ideas to prepare for employment:
Employment Services are paid for by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) for anyone who is eligible and has a case opened. If you have an open OVR case, there is no cost for the Job Candidate to receive employment services from Edge Employment. Nor is there any cost to employers for Edge Employment. For those who cannot or do not wish to open a case with OVR, Edge Employment accepts private pay for representation. Please inquire with an Employment Specialist to learn more.
There is no one answer to this question. Edge Employment cannot guarantee that we’ll successfully find you an employment match. What we can guarantee is that you will receive personalized, top-quality representation from certified Employment Specialists that will help identify your interests, skills, and conditions for success. Our services are always customized to the individual, meaning our process may last longer for some than others.
Our process begins with a Discovery phase, where we spend around 1-3 months intensively learning about a Job Candidate’s interests, skills, and conditions for success. Clearly understanding these three elements are what help make for the best job matches. The Discovery phase culminates in a Customized Plan for Employment (CPE) meeting where potential task lists and specific employers, ideally with names of contacts, are identified to serve as a blueprint guiding the Job Development phase.
The Job Development phase starts immediately after the CPE meeting and continues until an employer match is identified by or on behalf of the Job Candidate. Identifying an employer match prompts negotiations for hire at their business.
We’ve been able to find some of our Job Candidates a job within three months of starting work with us, but for other Job Candidates, the process has taken much longer. And, as noted, there is no guarantee of a job match.
Our services are always personalized to the individual receiving representation. We spend time discovering each Job Candidate’s interests, skills and conditions for success. Understanding these three things about any Job Candidate will help identify the best employers to pursue. What kind of work a Job Candidate might do depends upon that person and the search is tailored for each individual.
Our Employment Specialists always strive to find mutually beneficial matches. For instance, we’re not going to simply “place” a job candidate as a ticket taker at a theater, just because they could do the work. We start by targeting the most socially valued, well-paying work available in each person’s area of interest, keeping in mind the qualifications that might be required for certain jobs. If someone we represent could be a Grocery Bagger at a supermarket for $8/hour but could also be a Digital Content Specialist for $11/hour, we would support the Job Candidate to pursue the higher paying, more socially valued role of Digital Content Specialist. This is rooted in our theory of practice, Social Role Valorization, which you can learn more about below:
Edge Employment is currently developing a paid internship model for job candidates with little to no paid work experience. Any internship that Edge Employment facilitates would be paid and personalized to the individual. More information will be available soon.
Edge Employment is an approved state provider for three areas of Pre-ETS: Job Exploration Counseling, Post-Secondary Enrollment, and Workplace Readiness. Like our employment services, all Pre-ETS are personalized to the individual seeking services. Pre-ETS has been utilized at Edge Employment for starting a bank account for direct deposit, meeting with a professional in your interest area for an informational interview, learning how to navigate TARC and TARC 3 buses, and class shadowing. You must have an open case with OVR to receive free Pre-ETS. Please inquire with an Employment Specialist if you are interested in creating a Pre-ETS plan.
If you are interested in connecting with an Edge Employment Specialist, please fill out the contact form below: