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, Vocational Services Manager at 231-220-2323 or sfreed@pioneerresources.org.

Integrated Supported Employment

Supported Employment provides opportunities for individuals to work in paid positions while developing skills for competitive integrated employment in the community. We have year-round and seasonal positions available for paid training. This is not a destination for paid work; this is a training opportunity to support participants’ employment goals. Available work sites include:

  • Custodial crews
  • Camp work crews
  • Lawn maintenance crews

These programs are authorized by Healthwest and Community Mental Health of Ottawa County, depending on where you reside. Supports Coordinators can assist you with defining your goals and referring you for Pioneer Resources Integrated Supported Employment Services.

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, place contact Stacy Freed, Vocational Services Manager at 231-220-2323 or sfreed@pioneerresources.org.

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. The cost is $550.00 per participant. For more information about this programming, place contact Stacy Freed, Vocational Services Manager at 231-220-2323 or sfreed@pioneerresources.org.

Vocational Programs in Action

Robert’s Story

Pioneer Resources's vocational programing recipient washing dishes at a local restaurant

Robert works for Boar’s Belly as a dishwasher/prep cook. He started this position on April 23, 2018. Jess, the General Manager, states that, “Robert is an absolute joy to work with. Every time he walks in the building it becomes a better place. His smile is infectious to say the least. He is by far one of my personal favorites.” Chef Ashley, his former supervisor, stated, “Robert has been wonderful to work with. His work ethic is amazing, he is always willing to help no matter the task. Quite simply he has been one of the best employees for our establishment. We greatly appreciate him and his infectious work habits.”

Robert started his employment path with us in our Skill Building Program. Quickly, we identified Robert as being ready for his employment journey. Our Employment Specialists supported Robert in Job Readiness and helped him develop his resume. We then assisted Robert in his job search and placement. Once Robert was placed in his position he received job coaching until he learned his new role and felt confident. Then we quickly faded our services to let him shine. 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.

Luke’s Story

Luke started his journey in our Skill Building Program. Early on we knew that Luke possessed a strong passion for theatre and art. We did our best to prepare him for employment by participating in volunteer sites and vocational based activities while we explored his strengths and abilities. Luke was approved for a pilot program through Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) for Customized Employment. We knew that Luke would be the perfect candidate for this pilot project and wanted to ensure we found the perfect fit position for him.

Customized Employment includes up to 40 hours of discovery activities aimed to discover your personal genius. We took him to tour art galleries, talked to employees that worked in theatre and the arts, job shadowed at flower shops and attempted floral arrangement, and met radio personalities. During this time he explored many interests. We made every attempt to explore every avenue related to arts and entertainment. During this time we connected with radio personality, Andy O’Riley, with Muskegon Channel Radio. Andy offered to mentor Luke weekly so that he could learn voice over work for radio. That was just the beginning for Luke. He now has a paid position doing voice over work with Muskegon Channel and you can often hear him during commercials and radio advertisements. He then connected with Lorin Industries who did a video portfolio – like a video resume. Luke is now working his 3rd season at Michigan Adventure, he works with stage set up and props with The Playhouse at White Lake and continues to work with Andy at Muskegon Channel. He is happy, engaged in his community, and has quite a busy schedule.