PROMOTES stands for “Providing Realistic Opportunities to Mentor On-site Training for Employment Skills”, and is a program designed to provide supports to students interested in gaining paid employment. The program was developed through a partnership between the Department of Psychology at Western Michigan University (WMU) and the Van Buren Intermediate School District (VBISD). Currently, the program is supervised by Dr. Kayla Jenssen as the practicum coordinator and Dr. Jessica Van Stratton as the Faculty Supervisor and Program Director.
PROMOTES is a practicum opportunity available to undergraduate and graduate students completing coursework in the Psychology Department or related programs at WMU. Practicum students serve as job coaches to young adults diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities, ages 16 and older, before and after they have obtained paid employment in the community. This program focuses on the use of individualized evidence-based practices with a behavior analytic focus to support students in building vocational and job-related social skills relevant to a successful integration into the workforce and community.
Services and supports provided by PROMOTES will help participants:
- Practice essential job skills (vocational, safety, time-management, organization, social, etc.)
- Identify employment opportunities in the community
- Access community resources
- Identify and list preferences for employment positions and locations
- Build and revise your resume, business cards, and curriculum vitae
- Network with employers and make cold calls to businesses
- Develop strong professional writing and communication skills
- Resolve conflicts and develop healthy work relationships
- Increase and monitor work productivity
- Set and achieve employment goals
- Develop materials that will help you at work (i.e. job aids)
- Advocate for accommodations and equal work opportunities
Please contact us via email if you have any questions about the PROMOTES Employment Project team.
If you are interested in applying to participate in the PROMOTES Employment Project, please click the button below to complete an application form. Please note, submitting an application does not guarantee you a position in the program. Acceptance into PROMOTES is determined by a number of factors, including team capacity and available funding.
Following receipt of your application, the PROMOTES Program Coordinator will email you to provide you with the team referral packet. Upon review of that packet, the PROMOTES team will contact you with additional information.
A very special thanks to those who have gone above and beyond in supporting the PROMOTES Employment Project and the success of its students:
- FlyWire Cameras for providing first-person point-of-view cameras as tools to create training materials for the PROMOTES team and participants.
- Dr. Hooks for providing plaques for local employers who employ and support PROMOTES clients.
- The Van Buren Intermediate School District (VBISD) for their on-going partnership and collaboration with the Department of Psychology at Western Michigan University.
- Jim Yana for volunteering countless hours to the PROMOTES team by nominating deserving participants for state and regional awards, as well as for creating videos for the job-related social skills curriculum developed by the PROMOTES team.
- Walgreens for their outstanding support of our students in both paid employment positions and work experience opportunities.
- Meijer and Headstart for their ongoing partnership and long-term collaboration with PROMOTES job coaches and employed PROMOTES students.
- The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) for their initial funding and support when the PROMOTES Employment Project was established at Western Michigan University.