A new Havre service designed to help people with developmental disabilities find and keep a job is inviting local residents to come Tuesday to find out what it has to offer.
Chad Stewart, career enhancement specialist with Quality Life Concepts, said the program will host an open house in the Atrium Mall from 5 to 7 p. m. Tuesday.
“We want everybody to know we are here and that we can help, ” he said.
Stewart said the idea of his job is to help people find out what they can do, coach them in applying for a job and helping them once they are in a job, as well as finding an employer with the right position.
The idea is to create a win-win situation for the employer and the employee, he added.
“That’s what we strive for, ” Stewart said. “We strive for creating a situation where the employer wins, the employee wins.
“We don’t help people, we empower them, ” he added.
Stewart said he works closely with Darrel Hannum of Montana Vocational Rehabilitation, which can help the client find many other services and help in other areas outside of what the career enhancement program does.
Part of the career enhancement program, he said, is called “Bridge to Benefits, ” helping clients find programs they might be eligible for.
In the program, Stewart said, the counselor helps the client identify what skills he or she has — “It might be something they aren’t aware of, ” he added — and helps them train to apply for a job, including help with resume-writing, filling out a job application and training how to be interviewed.
Another part of the program helps clients to find a job, including what he called “job-carving. ” In that process, the career enhancement coordinator can work with a potential employer, creating a position tailored to the abilities of the client.
For example, Stewart said, a client might have high skills related to cleaning but be uncomfortable working around people. A special position might be created after store hours for cleaning.
Another might be stocking merchandise on shelves.
“Some of our clients who excel at that, ” he said. “They can go in for 20 hours a week and free up others to work at the till or for talking to a customer. …
“It’s really a matter of showing the employer that (our client) has value to their organization, ” Stewart said. “Then they usually are more than eager to hire (the client) once they realize it’s a good deal. ”
He said the program has been in Havre several months now, and he is working with about seven clients.
The size to which the program grows is unlimited, Stewart said. More coordinators can be added to take care of more clients, with the program attempting to keep the ratio of coordinators and clients about 10-to-1.
The Havre program is intended to have more of an outreach than programs in larger communities, where the focus is on that specific community.
Stewart said that, in Havre, specialists will work with people in outlying communities. One is working in Chinook, while another is focusing on working from Havre to Fort Benton.
The program wants to be helping clients in all directions from the Havre area, he said.
Stewart said people are welcome to come to the open house Tuesday, where some leaders in the program will be available to answer questions, or people can call him at 399-0658 or contact him via email at chad. email@example.com.
What: Quality Life Concepts career enhancement program open house.
Where: The Atrium Mall
When: Tuesday, 5 to 7 p. m.