Programs for Adults
The Cove Center, Inc. +21 — Rhode Island
The Vocational Services Program operates as an educational division within the Groden Network. The department provides training and placement experience with the goal of helping each individual maximize his/her full employment potential. Vocational Services provides the necessary curriculum, staff support, and collaboration with community-based employers, to ensure our students and adults receive a well-rounded vocational education so they can meet their individual employment goals.
About The Program
Self-esteem, a positive identity, and a sense of accomplishment are benefits that vocational training and employment can offer to a person. The opportunity to be a productive worker and to contribute to the community promotes independence and enhances awareness of the value of person’s with disabilities.
The Groden Network Vocational and Employment programs for youth and adults assist individuals to discover interests and to develop the skills necessary for employment in the community. Through job sampling in the community and in our training centers, each individual has the opportunity to experience a variety of vocational opportunities. Once preferences are identified, intensive training is provided to assist individuals in acquiring the vocational and social skills essential to employment success.
Our Vocational and Employment programs serve individuals 14 years and older. Most of the individuals served are already participants in our Network services. In some cases, individuals are referred for specific vocational services such as vocational assessment or job-related social skill training. Referral sources include local education departments and the Office of Rehabilitation Services. While the Groden Network has developed a reputation for high quality services for individuals with autism, our vocational program has recently expanded into serving individual with other challenges such as mental illness.
Vocational Training at The Cove Center
The Cove Center Vocational Program emphasizes the inclusion of the individual into the community to engage in productive, paid employment. Most adults receiving services through the Cove Program engage in paid or non-paid community employment. Similar to the Groden Center program, adults starting their employment search undergo a community-based vocational assessment. From this assessment, vocational goals are set and prospective jobs developed. In many cases, there is a simultaneous emphasis on teaching vocational skills while working with prospective employers to modify tasks or duties as needed.
Developing meaningful vocational skills and getting a job is a significant event for many of the adults we support. Opportunities for reinforcement are plentiful – from reinforcement for learning a new skill to a positive identity and recognition as a community member. In addition, the community has benefited from an increased awareness of the needs and capacities of the adult with autism.
A typical vocational and employment program for an adult participating in the Cove program is difficult to describe because there is such variation. Similar to the Groden Center program, the individual might be involved in horticulture at the Groden Network Greenhouse, or delivering Meals on Wheels. In addition, people are working computer jobs at Amica Insurance, recycling at Wheaton College, window washers for a company called Squeegie Clean, at Pastry Art Wholesale Bakers, Moses Brown school, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, the Car Store, Office Recycling Solutions, and various other sites. We have also developed beautification partnerships with Waterfire and Merchant's Associations for Federal Hill and Hope Street. Additionally, jobs within the Groden Network have been created and customized to meet the employment needs of the Network while capturing the unique vocational skills of many of our clients.