now envision work
In 2014, the MA Commission for the Blind became the first agency to sponsor Project SEARCH for adults who are legally blind.
This national program called Project SEARCH traditionally provides internship experiences for transition age youth with developmental disabilities. With MCB and the Carroll Center for the Blind, the Polus Center helped to adapt Project SEARCH to support unemployed adults in Massachusetts to build their skills and get back to work. When funding ran short for MCB to continue Project SEARCH in October, 2017, the Polus Center got to work writing proposals to private foundations and corporations to keep some version of the program alive.
The NEW program, called Now Envision Work, is quite different from Project SEARCH but builds on what we learned from 3 years of implementing it for older adults who are legally blind. The NEW program provides 6 months of comprehensive training, internships, and 1:1 mentoring/coaching followed by up to 6 months of job search support, in part through collaboration with Career Source, the One-Stop Career Center in Cambridge, MA.
We are proud to be offering our first 6-month program beginning June 4, 2018. Funded in part by generous grants from the Boston Foundation, Partners for Sight, and the John Hancock Foundation, and with the ongoing support of our host business, MA Eye & Ear, we are excited to begin this new opportunity for people who are legally blind who want to explore their options for going back to work. We continue our strong partnership and appreciate the ongoing support of the MA Commission for the Blind and we are very excited to be kicking off the "NEW" program that we hope will continue for many years and be a model for helping people who want to find meaningful work explore their options and gain the skills needed to make their employment goals a reality.
Click Here to apply for the next NEW program to begin June 4, 2018.
About the NEW program
This program combines on the job work experiences with professional development workshops and 1:1 mentoring and job search support. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday mornings, interns gain valuable work experiences and references by working in MEEI departments such as HR, Surgery, and Vision Rehab. On Tuesdays they begin the day with 1:1 or small group coaching, and then participate in Career Planning workshops and complete assessments such as Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Strong Interest Inventory to explore their career interests, and then focus on job search and mastering the art of the perfect interview.
Thursday mornings are for technology training, and the afternoons bring guest speakers on topics such as Emotional Intelligence, Giving and Receiving Feedback, and Effective Communication Skills. Business leaders from a variety of industries share what it takes to be a successful employee, and other people who have vision impairments share their journey to meaningful work.
Classroom dialogues address workplace issues sparked by the participants' own experiences and what they are learning from others in the program, on the job, and through speakers, TED Talks, reading, and self-reflection.
While most of the workshops are the same as one would find in a typical corporate professional development program, guest speakers from organizations such as Work Without Limits provided seminars on when and if to disclose disability, and online workshop topics sometimes address issues of specific interest such as transportation for people who cannot drive. One of the mentors and trainers in the program is legally blind himself.
Now Envision Work and other internship programs with MCB, represent collaborative cross-agency and business focused approaches to supporting people with disabilities to find competitive, integrated, meaningful work. Click Here to learn about workshops open to all people with a disability, even if they are not in the Now Envision Work program.
For more information