Vocational Training

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Pioneer Resources provides participants with a path to employment and greater independence. We believe that every person has the potential for employment and we support individuals in developing successful outcomes. We work with families, outside providers, and employers to provide a continuous transition to employment and ongoing skill development toward independence.

Supported Employment

Individuals with an open case with Michigan Rehabilitative Services (MRS) can receive job placement assistance. We work with each individual to develop an Employment Plan with specific goals toward employment. As an agency, we are utilizing best practices and exploring various assessment and job readiness tools to prepare persons for their employment journey. Our Employment Specialists are ACRE Trained. Being ACRE trained means that our Employment Specialists have a foundation in employment services approved by our Association of Community Rehabilitation Educators. We take our participants through the discovery process to explore all of the positive traits to find that “best match” in a job. We provide an array of supports including:

  • Job placement
  • Job coaching
  • Resume Development
  • Job Readiness Workshops
  • Soft Skill Development
  • Social Skill Development
  • Customized Employment
  • On the Job Evaluations
  • Job Shadowing

We’re committed to our individuals’ success and work closely with participants, families, natural supports, and employers to ensure positive outcomes. For more information about Vocational Services contact Stacy Freed, Director of Programs.

Skill Building

Pioneer Resources’ Skill Building program is committed to supporting and advocating for individuals to reach their best potential. The outcome for our participants is integrated competitive employment in the community. We support our participants in exploring different career options in the community and teach soft skills related to employment. Our days are spent in the community in small groups at various work and volunteer sites to develop our tools for success. Participants in this program can expect to learn and participate in these kinds of activities:

  • Volunteering
  • Business Tours
  • Job Exploration
  • Computer Skills
  • Communication and Soft Skill Development
  • Utilizing Public Transportation

This program is authorized by Healthwest and Community Mental Health of Ottawa County, depending on where you reside. Supports Coordinators can assist you with authorization for this service. For more information about this programming, please contact Kelsey Kassner, Transitional Supervisor.

Paths to Employment

Pioneer Resources’ PATHS is a 4-day, 3-night camp offering transition students ages 16-26 the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to be successful in the workplace. Our goal is for each student to depart feeling confident and equipped with the necessary tools to be effective on the job. Each day is packed with educational, hands-on learning activities. Students will learn through role-playing, guest speakers, prepared curriculum, and skits while sitting around the campfire. Students can expect to leave camp with an expanded knowledge of the tools necessary for employment:

  • Developing Self-advocacy Skills
  • Self-determination
  • When and how to disclose a disability
  • How to request accommodations
  • Goal setting
  • Professionalism
  • Leadership skills
  • Knowing your rights and responsibilities
  • Benefits planning and wage reporting

This camp takes place on the grounds of the beautiful Pioneer Trails, located in the Manistee National Forest on Big Blue Lake. Campers will also enjoy nature and traditional recreational activities such as swimming, challenge courses, fishing, boating, arts and crafts, archery and canoeing.

Marcoux Transitional Supported Independent Housing

Marcoux is a 4 bedroom unlicensed residential setting. It provides the opportunity to practice independent living skills in a safe setting with decreasing need for care and supervision as the participant’s transition from dependent living to self-sufficiency or independent living. Transition living is designed for adults with developmental or intellectual disabilities to enter a phase of care that will eventually transition them to an independent living setting.

  • Participants must want to become more independent with a focus on moving to a less restrictive housing setting.
  • Participants can remain safe being left alone, including over-night hours.
  • Ability to pay monthly rent.
  • Be willing to live cooperatively with other housemates, respecting housemate’s space and belongings.
  • Understand landlord/tenant rights and responsibilities.
  • Prevent actions that may lead to eviction.
  • Play an active role in home cleanliness.
  • Cooperate in learning independent living skills.
  • Participate in group CLS classes.
  • Develop and follow a budget.
  • Willingness to learn and utilize public transportation.
  • Desire to work on goals developed in the Person Centered Plan.

For more information about this residential option or current availability, contact Kelsey Kassner, Transitional Supervisor.

Vocational Programs in Action

Tony’s Story of Growth

Tony currently works for Northside Pub as a dishwasher and started this position in October of 2018. When he first began his position, he was very hesitant to communicate with his coworkers and speak up for himself. He has always wanted to do more than just dishwashing, but afraid to ask for the added tasks and responsibility. Tony states that with the help of job coaching and follow along supports, he is a lot more comfortable to talk to his boss about doing extra work, and more outgoing than he used to be. He now helps his coworkers with prepping ingredients and folding pizza boxes when he has the availability. Tony wishes to move up within his company and is looking forward to his future with Northside Pub.

Tony started his employment path with us in 2014 in our Skill Building program. Throughout his journey in Skill Building, Tony has been able to explore different career options in the community, and develop soft skills related to employment. Our Vocational Training staff supported Tony in Job Readiness, and assisted him in his resume development, job search, and placement.  Once Tony was placed in his position, he received job coaching until he learned his new role and felt confident in himself.  We continue to provide follow along supports and check on him twice per month to discuss any challenges, concerns, or areas where he would like to grow.

Robert’s Story

Robert has been employed by Lakeside Café as a dishwasher since August 2020. Robert is very outgoing and always willing to go above and beyond anywhere there is a need at work. Robert’s boss is consistently impressed with his work ethic and dedication to his position. Robert has previously worked for Boar’s Belly and Hennessy’s. Our Vocational Training staff provide Robert with follow along support twice per month to ensure safety, success, and address and challenges or concerns that may arise. Robert states that he is very appreciative and thankful for the excellent services he receives through Pioneer Resources as it has greatly impacted his success over the years.

Robert has been involved in many areas across the array of services that are provided by Pioneer Resources including the Skill Building Program, the former Coastline Deli, and lawn and camp crews. He currently participates in the LARC program as well as Supported Employment. Robert really enjoys being part of the community anywhere he can. He volunteers as a ride along for the Shoreline Trans, and proudly serves on a consortium combined of agency providers throughout the community. Robert shares that his most recent achievement includes training to become an Independent Facilitator for HealthWest where he will assist persons served in the Person Centered Planning process.