Learning Disability Career Planning

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 with learning disabilities will develop a career plan that takes them through self-discovery. Our learning disability career planning 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.

College Path

Students interested in pursuing a college emphasis while attending LDI have both credit and non-credit college-level courses available to them through local community colleges and universities.

This includes students who are interested in completing associate degree requirements, developing academic competency to the level of college proficiency, and/or matriculating to four-year colleges or universities. All college courses offered on the LDI campus or in the community are fully approved and accredited by the North Central Association Commission on Higher Education.

LDI and its advisors can help students select their classes and use local community college or university staff resources to determine (based on the student’s focus/degree goals) what classes s/he needs to take. The local community college counseling/advisement center along with their disability services department and LDI have good working relationships.

On-campus and on-going academic assistance is scheduled on a one-on-one basis or in small group tutorials. Mentoring support is provided throughout the student’s on and off-campus program period. Each student has an individual accommodation plan developed and given to the office of disability services staff at the college campus where courses are being taken. In addition, all students taking college courses have an assigned mentor who interfaces with off-campus college personnel, and to make certain that reasonable classroom accommodations are implemented.

Vocational Path

The vocational path involves placement into programs for advanced or more highly skilled post-secondary technical education or training which prepares students to enter employment upon completion of coursework.

Students who decide that they want and need advanced training that is directly related to a career goal have nearly 400 career college options to choose from in the metropolitan Phoenix area. The Vocational Path emphasizes choosing an institution that offers occupation/career-specific education and training with community-based trade or vocational programs, technical schools and businesses. Students attending this type of program will receive intensive, industry-specific proficiency-based, professional postsecondary training and instruction that culminates into a specialization diploma or certification.

LDI staff helps students interested in this option make informed decisions about the profession they choose to pursue, select the right kind of program and make certain that specific accommodations are in place. Most often, students attend these programs during their second year and beyond. Because of the scheduling structure inherent in a career college, it also allows the student to hold down part-time employment. LDI staff track and monitor progress as well as provide support and advisement for all contracted students during their program of instruction.

A common service characteristic of career college programs is that they have active links with area employers with whom the institutional staff arrange externships, part-time employment, or other work-related experience during their course of study. A successful graduate should expect competitive employment opportunities to be arranged by the career services department of the institution. LDI can act as a backup entity to facilitate career search efforts as needed or requested.