Two accomplished professionals with cerebral palsy now offer non-profits and corporations a unique opportunity to be a part of helping individuals with special needs become ready to work in today's job market.
Jim Hasse, ABC, GCDF, is the founder of www.cerebral-palsy-career-builders.com, the comprehensive career coaching guide for parents of CP youngsters 7 to 27 years old.
He’s the owner of Hasse Communication Counseling, LLC, which helps people gain the confidence they need to put disability to work as their competitive edge in today's job market.
For 10 years, he served as senior content developer for eSight Career Network. For 29 years before that (10 of them as vice president), he was head of corporate communications for Foremost Farms USA.
Jim is an Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) and a Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF). He is a writer, publisher, marketer and facilitator. He has a B.S. degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
He’s the author of 14 books about disability and disability employment. He has had cerebral palsy since birth.
Jessica Kleist, MS. Ed., LPC-IT, is a speaker, facilitator, Professional Counselor in Training and owner of Abilities First Counseling, LLC. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation in 2000, her Master of Science Degree in Education in 2001 and her Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling in 2011 from the University of Wisconsin-Stout.
She has had cerebral palsy since birth and says it’s “honor and privilege” to join others along the path to self-discovery through group training and one-on-one counseling.
Jessica was a peer support coordinator-resource counselor with the Center for Independent Living for Western Wisconsin (CILWW) in Menomonie. During her CILWW tenure, Jessica managed the Peer Project, a pilot program for helping high school students with disabilities learn from their peers how to better prepare for their transition to adult life, post-secondary education and employment.
is currently serving 30 individuals with a disability and their families as a
counselor with IRIS, Wisconsin’s self-directed supports program for older
people and adults with disabilities.
Mainstream employers often admit that, despite much effort in recruiting, it’s difficult for them to find “qualified” candidates with a disability for open jobs.
There may be two reasons for this situation.
First, attachment theory, the study of the importance of early childhood emotional bonds, suggests that youngsters who have stronger relationships with their parents develop stronger self-esteem and better self-reliance as they grow older and explore the world – even though disability is involved.
a stronger self-esteem tend to be more independent, perform better in school,
have successful social relationships, experience less depression and eventually
do well in the world of work.
Individuals with a disability may have difficulty with the psychological ramifications of living with a visible or invisible vulnerability in a society which often presents a distorted picture of disability.
This may be particularly true when unexplored misconceptions within the family unit about disability impede a healthy connectedness between them and their parents.
The result could be an “encumbered” job candidate who does not have the self-esteem, emotional intelligence or interpersonal communication skills to perform well on a job.
Second, in today’s highly competitive job market, getting hired and building a career require career management skills that are increasingly becoming more sophisticated.
Acquiring and continually updating these career management skills are crucial to on-the-job success because “no one else is going to do it for you” in a temporary-work world where job holders are “free agents” and employee turnover is high.
Individuals with a disability often encounter barriers in getting hired because they are using outdated employment models and job marketing methods.
They cannot expect to do well in today’s work climate without access to contemporary career management tools, knowledge about how to use them effectively and insight about how to modify them so disability is a competitive edge instead of a disadvantage in the minds of hiring managers.
These are the needs Jim and Jessica are addressing through their materials and trainings.
Here are some possibilities for getting involved: