Description of the practice:

EmployU is a one-stop career service provider that began its work in 2012 and now serves 40 Florida counties from 20 regional offices. Its customers are youth and adults with disabilities referred through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD), and the American Dream Employment Network (ADEN).

EmployU’s services include assessments, employment skills training, support with resume development and interviewing, and paid work experiences. Students access many of these services through EmployU’s virtual pre-placement training program. The week-long class offers access to extensive, convenient training to help individuals prepare for or return to the world of work. The class combines instruction with interaction through learning exercises, discussions, and quizzes.

Adults interested in the class must have a reliable internet connection and basic typing and computer skills. The class begins with a 15-minute “tech check” for each adult on the first day to ensure that everyone can participate fully. Over the next four days, the class is taught in four 5-hour sessions that cover:

  • career assessment
  • developing a positive attitude and achieving goals
  • networking
  • resume development
  • applying for jobs
  • interviewing
  • following up with leads
  • the hiring process
  • maintaining employment


EmployU has received positive testimonials about the class from both the adults who participated and from family members who see the impact of class participation on their loved ones.

  • Students shared the training offered an opportunity to connect their lifestyle vision with their job and career goals. It was especially helpful to learn practical skills such as using job search web sites, filling out applications, and writing resumes.
  • Students also shared appreciation for the instructors’ ability to keep the class interactive by answering questions throughout the class, offering clearer explanations, and handling discussions well. One class participant shared, “I liked how when I ask a question, he answers it fast. We don’t have to wait till the end of class for questions.”
  • Both students and family members say the class has prepared people for employment by teaching them about workplace expectations and preparing them for future experiences, such as answering difficult interview questions and handling workplace interactions. Family members have higher hopes for the future when they see that the class has helped students become better informed, prepared, and inspired to become employed.

EmployU staff are beginning to track the effect of class participation on the students’ job search process, the type and amount of support they need, and their employment outcomes. So far, employment staff members observe individuals who take the class are better prepared for the job search, more confident overall, and do better in job interviews.

Lessons Learned:

  • A short, interactive online class can cover a great deal of information about employment and is an important tool to help individuals with disabilities as they pursue a job in the community.
  • Individuals can gain confidence about employment from taking an online class that prepares them for some of the situations and interactions they are likely to encounter.
  • Helping individuals with disabilities connect their lifestyle goals to their employment goals is important, not only for the job seekers, but for their family members who support their success.

For more information, contact:
Ashley McCracken, Employment Readiness Instructor: