Find a Mentor and Build a Foundation for Success
Our "News and Views" blog series, Help for Young People Considering their Future, is written for young people with disabilities moving from school into the workforce. Most people benefit from career guidance at certain times in their lives. If you get Social Security disability benefits, you may be able to get free career counseling and other employment support through Social Security’s Ticket to Work program!
This issue in our Youth-in-Transition blog series may help you think about:
- The benefits of connecting with a mentor
- Finding guidance and planning a career with help from Ticket to Work.
Mentors: What to Look for and Where to Find Them
It’s no surprise that young people benefit from caring relationships with positive role models. Mentoring can be formal or informal, but it usually includes an empathetic, consistent and long-lasting relationship, often with a mix of role modeling, teaching and advising.
When looking for a good mentor, consider that successful programs:
- Have clearly defined goals and expectations
- Have mentors with relevant experience helping others, and who are committed to 12+ months of participation
- Include activities that facilitate relationship building
- Involve parents and families
- Provide some structure to find the best fit between mentors and mentees
- Provide mentor and mentee training before and after mentors are matched with youth
- Have in-depth and reliable mentor screening practices to protect children
- Provide consistent oversight, training and support, including early problem detection, to ensure that needs of mentees are being met and concerns are being addressed effectively
- You can find a wealth of information on quality mentoring and youth programs through these resources:
- Interagency Working Group on Youth Program (IWGYP) www.Youth.gov
- United We Serve http://www.serve.gov/mentor/search
- National Mentoring Resource Center http://www.nationalmentoringresourcecenter.org/ offers a list of mentoring programs and evaluates and compares their effectiveness
- A Ticket to Work program provider may be able to connect you to people who can help you explore your continuing education and career options or find a business mentor
Planning a Career: Start Your Journey with Ticket to Work
Ticket to Work is a free and voluntary program that supports career development for people with disabilities who want to work. Through the Ticket program, you can get free employment support services to help you decide if work is right for you, improve your qualifications, find a job or advance in your career. Recipients of Social Security disability benefits age 18 through 64 are eligible.
If you choose to participate, you can use services such as career counseling, vocational rehabilitation, training, help navigating a job hunt, job coaching, advice about reasonable disability accommodations, and support that continues after you have found a job. Authorized Ticket to Work providers known as Employment Networks (ENs) or state Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies are among the providers who offer these services. The provider you choose will serve as an important part of the “employment team” that helps you on your journey to financial independence. The Ticket program offers a range of services to set you up for success in the workforce.
Check back with News and Views to read the next installment of Help for Young People Considering Their Future, which will focus on getting involved in volunteer work! To find a benefits counselor or a list of providers who can help you explore your employment options, use the “Find Help” Tool on this site. You can also call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 (V) or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY).
Notes and Sources:
- To learn about others who weighed the risks and rewards of job hunting and have useful stories to share, read or watch Ticket to Work Success Stories at www.choosework.net/success-stories.
- This piece stems from the following sources (excerpts may be included):