Metro Work Center Inc.









EMPLOYMENT

The majority of the individuals involved in Metro Work Center's programming want to participate in some type of work. Employment options vary and are designed to meet the outcome goals of each individual. Individual consumer's interests and skills are always considered in developing the right job opportunity.

Many employment opportunities are community based and may include experiences with differing levels of supervisory support. Job settings may range from independent employment to supported employment which includes a Metro Work Center supervisor on site. Some community employment opportunities are designed around groups of two to four Metro Work Center consumers working together to complete job tasks. Additionally, there are opportunities to stay at our facility and participate in work activities.

Some individuals secure positions as a direct hire of another company. For example, they may work at a local bank or in the neighborhood grocery store. If the job is part-time, the member may also spend the rest of the day participating in leisure and recreational activities at the Metro Work Center.

Other consumers want to participate in a community job-share or an enclave work site. Based on an individual's interests and skills, we match that person with one of our current work sites or our Employment Coordinator develops a position to meet the individual's needs. Persons may work one or more days per week, depending on their interests and capacities. Work schedules are coordinated to include vacations and free time, as well as any personal appointments the individual might have. Job productivity is reviewed every six months and pay increases are available as skill levels grow.

Metro Work Center also offers in-house employment options. Individuals participating in on-site work opportunities experience a variety of jobs in a very supportive environment. Most in-house work is clerical or light assembly in nature. As examples -- members collate, fold and stuff papers; seal, label and stamp envelopes; and copy, collate and assemble pamphlets and booklets for seminars. Those who job share or work at a community enclave also have the option to work on in-house projects.

Choosing to spend the day at the Metro Work Center does not mean the individual has to be in the work area all day. We also meet individual needs in leisure and recreation activities as well as non-employment community integration opportunities


COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION


Metro Work Center works with consumers to maximize their integration into the community. Our Center location is close to shops, stores, and the city bus and light rail lines. Travel training provides a skill set that many of our participants explore. We have a direct bus route or light rail line to the airport, the Mall of America, or downtown Minneapolis. Target, Cub, Rainbow, Walgreen's and Denny's are within walking distance. Other restaurants abound in the area. The Midtown "Y" is within a few blocks and the fitness activities are available and accessible to our consumers. The recently renovated East Lake Public Library is next to the Metro Work Center and is a popular destination. Most days find a few individual consumers choosing a soda from McDonalds or a cup of coffee from Dunn Brothers, as part of a neighborhood outing. Our location is very accessible to the community; and our neighbors are open and friendly to our inclusion in the fabric of the area.

In addition to interacting with the community as service users, the consumers participate in community events and volunteer in the neighborhood, when such opportunities arise.


LEISURE AND RECREATION ACTIVITIES

Leisure and recreation activities are another favorite pastime. During non-working hours the consumers work on arts and craft projects. The sound of music fills the air. There is strong competition in board and card games Individuals might participate in our "Women's" or "Men's" group. The fitness club concentrates on health and fitness. As part of the club, consumers like to take neighborhood walks, participate in exercise videos, and discuss healthy eating. Clubs meet on a regular basis, have official memberships and plan their own agendas and activities. Seasonal and holiday parties are always exciting events. Consumers create special artwork and decorations related to a party's theme. Some bad weather days will find participants choosing a video for an afternoon at the movies. In addition, there is an on-site gym for indoor physical activities.

Getting out of the facility for bowling, a Twins day game, Como Zoo, or the State Fair becomes an exciting option for consumers. Our close proximity to Minnehaha Park enables us to enjoy outdoor settings for program activities. We also have our own yard games including bean bag toss, kick ball, soccer, catch, and croquet. Having fun and laughing are important parts of the day for participants in our recreation and leisure program.


OTHER SERVICES AND OPPORTUNITIES

Life Skill Development is an important programming component at Metro Work Center. The recreational "clubs" help meet many life skill goals. General health and hygiene activities are reviewed and taught regularly as part of the Men's Club, Women's Club, and Health and Fitness Club. The club structure also supports the development of communication skills and appropriate social interaction processes. Cooking, cleaning and transportation skills are also addressed, to help maximize independence for our adult consumers.

Programming Flexibility is often key to meeting individual consumer goals. Not all participants attend our program on a five-day per week basis. For some individuals, participating two, three or four days per week meets their needs. Some prefer only the leisure and recreation programming options. They may consider themselves retired from work and are looking for a slower pace, yet want to remain socially involved.

Transportation to and from the Metro Work Center is provided by Contemporary Transportation Services and Metro Mobility. Whenever possible, we take advantage of public transit for outings, recreation activities, and for travel to and from work. Consumers use their own bus card (we participate in the Jobseekers program) select their own seat and, with staff assistance, enter and exit the vehicle as independently as possible. All public transit rides are staff supervised. Many of the bus drivers have befriended our riders and inquire about vacations and work days, while offering friendly assistance.