Job Development: Case Study

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Section 6: Case Study - Stacy

Introduction to Case Example

The best way to understand how to use the Positive Personal Profile and Features to Benefits Strategy is to review a descriptive example.  The following case study examines and exemplifies what a job developer can do to help support a student in his/her job search. The full story and description of Stacy’s story is told in narrative by Amy Dwyre in the podcast; it is recommended to listen to that in its entirety.

Stacy is 18 years old and has an intellectual disability. She attends a postsecondary program at a 2-year community college where she takes college courses. According to her program coordinator and professors, she is not a candidate for work because she:

  • is lazy
  • nonverbal
  • disrespectful
  • can’t focus on tasks
  • is consistently late to class
  • misses a lot of full days

During a campus interview and observations, she:

  • never makes eye contact
  • does not answer any questions
  • actually falls asleep between classes 

What we did:
The job developer working with Stacy in Chicago scheduled a visit to her home on a morning before her classes started, followed by breakfast at a restaurant. Here is what she learned:

  • She lives in a terrible housing project.
  • She lives with her mother (who has more severe disabilities than she has), two younger siblings, and a younger cousin.
  • Stacy prepares all meals, including school lunches, for the entire family.
  • She dresses the kids, packs their backpacks, organizes homework, and feeds them breakfast.
  • She walks the elementary school kids to their bus.
  • She walks the middle school kid to his bus stop, packs herself up and gets to school.
  • If one of the children is sick, Stacy stays home with that child.
  • If her mother is having difficulty with her medications in the morning, Stacy waits until it is managed before leaving for class. 

By the time Stacy headed off to campus, she was tired, worried about the kids getting off the bus stop, worried that her mom might get confused and take too many pills, embarrassed about where she lived, and saw no useful purpose for taking classes in her life.

At breakfast, Stacy:

  • knew the workers at the restaurant
  • ordered appropriately
  • gave the right amount of money, and even checked her change.

The job developer could see the change in the way Stacy held her body as she walked into class—at home, hanging out around campus, and in the restaurant, she stood tall and confident; in class she slouched and pulled a hood up over her head.

In this case, the information gathering consisted of:

  • Coordinator/professor interview
  • File review
  • Campus observation
  • Home observation
  • Community observation
  • One-on-one student interview

The one-on-one interview revealed that Stacy:

  • really likes kids and enjoys being around them
  • does not enjoy reading and has difficulty with it, but can get by.
  • takes pride in how things look: The apartment is always spotless, the kids are dressed in cute outfits that she picks out, and underneath her oversized hooded sweatshirt, she wears a fashionable shirt, matching belt, and shoes.
  • is very personable when in comfortable situations
  • exhibits great organizational skills when running the household.

 Steps to help Stacy find employment

STEP 1: Pull out Stacy’s best FEATURES

STEP 2: Target the types of employers you want to approach—based on interests, dreams, and talents

Possible ideas for Stacy:

  • Child care center
  • Fashion retail store
  • Children’s retail
  • Children’s Party/Gym business
  • Sports retail

STEP 3: Use Features to Benefits Strategy

STEP 4:  Meeting with the Employer to Secure the Job. The Features column on the right side of this chart, lists all of the details needed to approach the manager at a children’s clothing store.  Like we said before, you don’t want to read from a specific marketing script—you just need these points when talking to the store manager. These talking points can help you provide a more focused description of Stacy and all the positive attributes she would bring to the job. 

So, did Stacy get the job? Yes!
Because the job developer knew exactly what Stacy’s strengths are and how they could be used as positive employee attributes, the children’s clothing store hired her on a part-time basis.

Stacy was motivated to be there on time because she was getting paid and the job matched her interests. Furthermore, by talking to her peers at the store, Stacy was encouraged to study harder to pursue her college education to learn more about working with children. 

If you want to see this process again using a different case study, go to Resources and pull up Greg’s Case Study. This will walk you through a the process with a different individual with different interests, issues and support needs.

This is a case study about Greg, including a Positive Personal Profile and some sample questions to review. Read more