LDI believes in matching students interests and passions with abilities, aptitudes and the work environment they are considering.
Students will develop the decision-making skills needed to make “smart choices” in the pursuit of a career direction. Students will develop a plan that takes them through self-discovery. This approach builds on the results of identified personal values, vocational assessment and labor market data. Career development and strategic decision-making concepts and processes are introduced to students as they begin to take initial or intermediate steps towards the identification and pursuit of personal/professional standing in the adult world.
A career plan is completed that challenges the student to determine how well their values, interests, aptitudes and abilities fit into their desired work environment. There is specific attention given to helping the student acknowledge the social expectations of adult workplace settings, as well as recognizing and developing alternatives in case the primary career goal is unattainable. Extensive fieldwork requires the student to complete a sequence of vocationally-related activities with local employers and other postsecondary options to determine the next steps. This provides the student with a forum that identifies how the selected career path is a good fit based on individual qualifications and workplace setting expectations. Students are then expected to execute their plan through enrollment into pre-screened postsecondary educational programs in collegiate, technical and vocational settings of full-time employment.
Volunteerism and service learning is big at LDI. Program staff encourages students to develop their community awareness and participate in the LDI leadership program by becoming a volunteer in the local LDI community. A few examples of these activities have seen students reading to underprivileged kids, packing supplies for countries suffering extreme poverty or drought, and working in a food supply warehouse. The students really get a lot of personal satisfaction out of acting as volunteers as they can see first-hand the difference they are making and come to appreciate the ability to be a part of the community.
By virtue of service learning, students also obtain basic job skills which form the foundation of any career. While enrolled in the program, students are expected to make themselves marketable by obtaining these skills through an internship or volunteer position within the community. The amount of hours per week in which a student works is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Students seeking compensated employment and service learning opportunities work closely with their advisor on career development. Using a career plan, LDI staff and students work collaboratively to identify opportunities that cater to each student’s unique talents, strengths, passions and interests. To ensure success during the interview process, LDI staff will conduct a series of interviewing preparation techniques including doing mock interviews so that students are prepared for the actual interview. As part of the services we also aid students in selecting proper attire for an interview based on the position in which they are applying for.
Students utilize these services to set up college and company tours as well as job shadows during the career exploration process. As part of the services, student advisors will set up mock interviews for the students with potential employers whereby the students receive written and oral feedback on their interviewing skills. Once students are employed LDI staff monitors their progress by doing monthly job tracking, and job coaching if the student needs further assistance with their job.”