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Community Based Programs

Vocational Support Program

When a person who was once dependent becomes a valued contributor, everyone gains. We offer thoughtful, expert assistance to people with disabilities or mental illness as they prepare for employment. We offer guidance and support throughout the entire process, from the exploration of each individual’s interests and potentials, through training and ongoing coaching for employed workers.

The Supported Employment Program provides prevocational skills, intensive job training and ongoing integrated services to individuals who are employed or looking to become employed in the community. The goal of the program is to assist individuals in identifying, locating and maintaining meaningful employment. These services are provided in conjunction with Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) as well as the New York State Office of Mental Health. 

Employment Services 

Everyone benefits from guidance and training in preparation for work. Our highly individualized approach includes the careful matching of the role with the candidate, and that can include individuals who may once have been thought incapable of productive work. The program is flexible in meeting the needs of people with specific challenges, whether that entails additional training or transportation issues.

  • Job Development and Placement - Job developers locate and/or develop a job based upon a person’s interests, abilities and the current job market. Job-seeking skills, interviewing and resume preparation services are available from the staff. Jobs are developed to meet each person’s abilities and interests. Our services are tailored specifically to the particular job and individual.
  • Intensive Supported Employment - Once a job is secured, Vocational staff provide intensive job coaching services, on and off the job site, to assist in the transition period. Each individual receives assistance in developing the supports needed for success on the job including developing supervisory relationships, on site job training, advocacy, job site crisis intervention, case services. The staff provide continual services until the job is stabilized and the individual is moved into the extended supported employment services.
  • Extended Supported Employment Services - Once a person completes the initial period of supported employment, a key component to ongoing success is the follow-along services. The ongoing interventions may be routine or a response to a crisis situation. It is our practice to provide staff intervention as often as needed. Extended support services include training, advocacy, case services, crisis intervention.

Vocational Services

  • Standardized Assessment - A focused evaluation for persons who have an employment/educational goal which needs to be assessed and/or explored.
  • Work Site Evaluation - Situational evaluations to assess work skills in Janitorial maintenance, digital imaging/microfilming and sub-contract packaging as requested.
  • Community-Based Assessments - Job site evaluations in the community for specific job matches as authorized by ACCES-VR.
  • Work Readiness - Scheduled Classes, both in-person and via zoom, for individuals to learn about the concept of work, work ethics, appropriate social protocol, and associated behaviors for success on the job.

Student Services 

When high school students have an, the (IDEA) says they have to have a transition plan. Its purpose is to create a smooth transition to whatever they plan to do after high school. That might include going to college or going straight to work.

MHA’s Vocational program seeks to help all students reach their highest and most independent level of vocational skill development. Vocational training opportunities are planned and implemented by Vocational Program staff members, who serve as job developers and job coaches. All services are directed toward helping students to reach a vocational goal based on your individual needs. Examples of types of services include:

  • Work Readiness - Pre-vocational experiences build a foundation of necessary skills and knowledge that will open vocational opportunities for a student’s future and develop skills that are integral to everyday life. 
  • Post-Secondary Counseling for Students - To provide students with counseling related to education options after high school. 
  • Job Exploration Counseling for Students - To provide students with counseling related to careers options after high school. 
  • Work-Based Learning Development for Students – To develop an internship, work try-out or work-based learning experience. Work-Based Learning Development may be used as a stand-alone service. 
  • Work-Based Learning Experience for Students – To assist with paid work experience in instances where the employer is unable to place the student on his/her payroll; and
  •  Work-Based Coaching Supports for Student Employment – To provide coaching for supports youth engaged in paid work experiences.

A referral from the Office of Mental Health or Adult Career and Continuing Education Services: Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR).  If you are seeking services for your child, and they have an IEP, they should be working with their school counselor on a transition plan, in which Student Services (Pre-ETS) may be recommended. How to Apply for ACESS-VR Services


What is ACCES-VR? 

The Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services (ACCES) is part of the New York State Education Department and is comprised of three primary areas: Vocational Rehabilitation (including Independent Living Program Administration), Adult Education, and the Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision. ACCES-VR: 

Administers vocational rehabilitation and independent living programs. 
Provides a wide array of services to assist eligible individuals with disabilities in obtaining employment 
Provides transition services to students and youth • Provides individual consultation, recommendations, and training to assist with maintaining a job 
Provides information and support to employers What is vocational rehabilitation? Vocational Rehabilitation agencies, often referred to as “VR”, are managed by every state, but are overseen by the federal government. VR is designed to help people with disabilities meet career goals, from entry-level to professional. It helps people with disabilities get jobs, whether the person is born with a disability, develops a disability or becomes a person with a disability while working.

To learn more about the Vocational Program including how to enroll in the program contact Jessica Welsh, Community Engagement and Social Programs Supervisor, at or 845-342-2400 x1258

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