Date: Thursday, July 8, 2021 5:00 PM- Thursday, July 8, 2021 6:00 PM
Lead/Instructor: Patricia Bahr
Session Author: Patricia A Bahr (Iowa's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities)*; Eva Castillo (Hope Haven Area Development Center); Rachel Phipps (Hope Haven); Amber Kratz (43 North Iowa); SueAnn Morrow (Money Follows the Person)
The project’s purpose is to determine if the Work Autonomy App (WAP) is useful and helpful in lowering the time spent by job coaches, increases communication between supported employees and their employer, and increases workplace inclusivity. With decreased funding for supported employment services, the importance of the use of technology to support workers with disability cannot be overstated. The presentation introduces the five core features of the WAP, how community rehabilitation programs used it, and (if COVID allows workers to return to work) results of surveys of end-user and employer perceptions of the usefulness of the WAP in the workplace.
Three CRPs received grants to purchase iPads, the Work Autonomy app, and training. Each CRP team consisted of three to five Direct Service Providers (DSPs) and all attended two days of training, then weekly mentoring sessions. Each team focused on various aspects of the app and supported employment. One team worked on the business pitch, another on video resumes, and the third on electronic job coaching. Each team’s focus will be presented. The business pitch is a presentation to sometimes reluctant employers and includes information on why it makes good business sense to hire people with disabilities. Video resumes allow individuals with disabilities to show their skills, education, and work experience to employers who may not be experienced with hiring individuals with disabilities. Electronic job coaching allows consistent messages and steps as to how to complete job tasks. The message is available when a job coach is not available and is consistent even when job coaches and supervisors change.
The survey component of the project was approved through IRB and will be presented if COVID allows workers to return to work. Questions are based on a five-point Likert scale ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree. The questions to the supported employee are:
• I believe the Work Autonomy App allowed me to talk with my boss more than I otherwise would have.
• I liked using the Work Autonomy App.
• I liked using the Work Autonomy App better than having a job coach with me.
• The Work Autonomy App made me feel more independent.
• The Work Autonomy App made me feel part of the workplace.
Questions for the employers are:
• The Work Autonomy App was helpful to me and my workplace.
• The Work Autonomy App has increased my communication with my employee.
• I like the Work Autonomy App better than a job coach.
• The Work Autonomy App increased my interactions with my employee.
• The Work Autonomy App increased the productivity of my employee.
• The Work Autonomy App increased the inclusion of my employee.
• Other employers would like the Work Autonomy App.