Pre - Employment Services

Disability Network is thrilled to offer several new youth programs for 2021. Programs have been designed to allow for participants to join either virtually or in person as we navigate the COVID 19 pandemic. Connect with Independent Living Program Manager Cody Gascho for details on how to participate in the youth programs.


Virtual Job Shadow Program

Virtual Job Shadow is a new and exciting offering that aims to allow consumers to begin the process of exploring career interests from the comfort of their own homes. The program can be offered in both group and individual settings and allows consumers to explore careers through ‘day in the life’ videos, summaries and assessments highlighting the skills needed to be successful in each position. The online platform offers an educational and vocational training search tool to explore colleges and training programs in desired fields and social skills workshops. All sessions are facilitated by a Disability Network Independent Living Specialist.


Training in Educational and Vocational Options I 

This workshop series serves to introduce consumers to educational and vocational options post high school including apprenticeships, internships, 2-year and 4-year college programs and certificate or training programs. The workshop aims to broaden the participant’s knowledge of post-secondary options that may align with their career interests and future goals. Topics include disability awareness, accessing disability resources, assistive technology, seeking out and advocating for accommodations, and exploring financial aid options including the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This program can be offered both virtually and in person and will include discussions with school, program staff, financial aid advisors and disability services where applicable. All sessions are facilitated by a Disability Network Independent Living Specialist.


Training in Educational and Vocational Options II

Training in Education and Vocational Options is a new program targeting students who are bound for college or vocational training programs post-high school. The workshop focuses on independent living skills as the student transitions from home to living on their own with the goal of developing stability necessary to maintain employment.
Topics include banking and budgeting, balancing daily living, cooking, maintaining an apartment, healthy lifestyle, community safety, recreation, developing and maintaining healthy relationships. All sessions are facilitated by a Disability Network Independent Living Specialist.


SHE Women's Group or HIM Men’s Group

These peer support and self-advocacy groups for Pre-ETS aged youth meets over 6 sessions to participate in various exercises that address the correlation between young women’s and men’s issues and successful employment including:

  • Self-esteem
  • Creating a strong support system
  • Connection to area resources
  • Stress management
  • Healthy relationships
  • Employer expectations
  • Community involvement


SHE Women's Group 

Young women, and especially young women with disabilities, are more susceptible to low self-esteem, which can impact their ability to appropriately navigate healthy decision making in relationships, family, education and career. SHE Women's Group (Strong, Healthy, Empowered) was born out of the noticeable barriers that teenage women with disabilities face in these areas.


HIM Men’s Group

Young men face a wide variety of challenges during the teenage years. Stereotypes, social pressures and traversing changing bodies and emotions are just a few hurdles young men deal with today. Young men with disabilities may have the added pressure of potentially navigating these things with fewer peer supports than their non-disabled peers. It is because of this, that the HIM Men's Group (Healthy, Independent, Men) was established. Together the young men gather to discuss and problem solve issues that they face in everyday life; especially those surrounding preparing for successful employment. 


Summer Community LIFE Program

Disability Network’s Community Learning Independence From Experience program is a four or eight week summer intensive that works to improve students’ independence in the community and helps prepare them for employment. The program focuses on learning public transportation, community agencies, safety and navigation within the community, volunteer opportunities simulating employment, budgeting, comparison shopping, exploring housing options and developing daily living skills.

This program has successfully been offered in multiple communities around northern lower Michigan including Traverse City, Cadillac, Kalkaska, Petoskey, East Jordan and Alpena.


We Care About You, Let's Connect

Cody Gascho, IL Program Manager - 231 922 0903 ext. 325