The ACRES Project is an approved service provider through Pennsylvania's Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR).
These state-sponsored, outcome-based programs are designed to give neurodivergent individuals the skills they need to transition into independent living and meaningful employment. OVR clients may access these group programs at ACRES by talking to their OVR counselor. Groups are typically comprised of no more than 12 students with instructors to ensure a maximum 1:4 student/staff ratio.
High school students with a documented diagnosis may be referred to OVR by a family member or school personnel. Adults with a diagnosis may also refer themselves to OVR by creating an account on the Pennsylvania CareerLink website.
What We Offer
ACRES provides several Pre-Employment Transition Services (PETS) to help neurodivergent OVR clients develop the skills required for success in the workforce. Participants work one-on-one with a trained ACRES staff member. The goal is to assist individuals in discovering not just a job, but a satisfying career which truly fits their individual needs and goals.
Group instruction that teaches individuals to make their own decisions, advocate for their needs, and better understand themselves.
- Become better prepared to make decisions and plan their futures.
- Discover how to make friends, manage stress, and stay mentally and physically healthy.
- Learn how to explain their strengths and needs to others.
- Understand their diagnosis and how to advocate for themselves.
- Learn how to ask for assistance if needed at school or work.
Workplace Readiness Training
Group instruction that gives participants skills and behaviors needed to obtain and maintain employment.
- Learn about appropriate communication (e.g. verbal and nonverbal communication, email etiquette, voicemail) in the job setting.
- Gain strategies to support independence at work such as time management, self-monitoring performance, working with others, and accepting constructive feedback.
- Understand appropriate work behaviors, including but not limited to timeliness, performance, and hygiene.
- Learn how to apply for jobs, create a resume, and prepare for a job interview.
Independent Living Training
This program is designed to educate students on independent living skills such as budgeting, shopping, and laundry/hygiene.
- Understand basic budgeting skills.
- Learn about nutrition, shopping, and basic cooking.
- Learn about safety (food, fire, apartment)
- Learn safe use of the internet and social media.
- Learn how to do laundry and perform basic housekeeping tasks.
OVR MY Work
ACRES is an approved provider of OVR's summer employment program, which provides high school students with an opportunity to develop job skills in the community through paid employment at a local workplace. Work crews consist of one adult job coach and no more than five students.
Community-Based Work Assessment (available to ages 14+)
- Learn to identify their personal strengths, likes/dislikes, and goals in relation to the workplace.
- With the support of a staff member, participate in a temporary "trial run" of paid employment at a community-based workplace which best fits the individual's stated goals.
- Determine what types of employment are appropriate vocational goals.
Supportive Employment (ages 21+ only)
Career support services for jobseekers and newly employed adults include:
- Job mentoring (e.g. assistance writing a resume or submitting job applications)
- Temporary, individualized workplace support to establish good routines and learn specific job skills