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My Choice Employment

My Choice Logo

My Choice Employment is Hope Haven’s community-based, integrated employment service option for youth and adults in Northwest Iowa. My Choice is based upon Employment 1st principles and philosophy that all people regardless of severity of disability can work in competitive jobs in business and industry if provided the necessary supports. This approach is both supported and encouraged by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).  Employment Specialists work with individuals to find jobs based on interests and skills that match the specific needs of employers.  My Choice accepts referrals from schools, case managers, vocational rehabilitation counselors, care coordinators, families, and individuals looking for employment services. All services are tailored to the individual.

Established in September 2013, My Choice Employment is a recognized leader in Iowa and the nation, receiving the National APSE 2017 Best Practices Award.  My Choice has been a lynchpin of Hope Haven’s organizational transformation effort, shifting employment focus from facility-based to integrated settings.

Woman standing outside of McDonald’s building

Goals of My Choice...

  • Pay is at least minimum wage but preferably at the prevailing wage rate.
  • People with and without disabilities work together in an integrated setting.
  • Support is ongoing and provided as needed.
  • Services are individualized.
  • Job selection is based on a person’s preferences and skills.
  • Competitive employment is the goal.

My Choice assists individuals with...

Employment Planning: Employment Specialists help job seekers identify interests, aptitudes and abilities to assist in career planning. 

Job Placement Services:  Job Placement Services provide job development and placement services to individuals who desire to obtain competitive employment.  Job sites in the local labor market are developed for individuals based on their interests, skills and abilities.

Job Coaching Services:  Supports provided by a Job Coach assist a person in maintaining his/her job in the business/industry.  These services are provided in direct support to the person or indirectly on behalf of the person.  The amount of support is tailored to each individual.

Vocational Consultation Services: provides professional and technical vocational programming advice to customers who need information or training to increase skills. Services may include:

  • Work accommodations/adaptive work devices
  • Assistive technology
  • Job analysis and task analysis
  • Transferable skills analysis
  • Enhanced planning
  • Benefits planning

My Choice focuses on employers…

A primary focus of My Choice Employment is to meet the needs of businesses, while assisting individuals to obtain employment where they will succeed and find fulfillment -- contributing to both the business and their community. Employers who use My Choice Employment services may experience a reduction in turnover, decreased training costs, increased productivity, and quality customer service through innovative task matching.

My Choice offers cutting edge service models…

Customized Employment:  An approach that is both encouraged and supported by the U.S. Department of Labor.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Customized Employment means individualizing the employment relationship between the employer and job seeker. It is based on the individualized determination of the strengths, needs and interests of the job seeker and is designed to meet specific needs of the employer.  My Choice Employment Specialists spend time getting to know a job seekers’ skills and contributions, as well as getting to know businesses in the communities where the individual lives. Employment Specialists work with a business to identify tasks that the job seeker could do to help improve the efficiency and productivity of the business, as well as increase the diversity of the company. Employment Specialists then match an individual job seeker, with the right skills and desires, to fill that position.

Customized Employment Focus

  • Tasks reflecting business unmet needs
  • Tasks better performed by others
  • Tasks that would improve your business

My Choice Role/Impact

  • Provide matches with needs to our diverse, skilled job seekers
  • Pre-screened/qualified job seekers
  • Connections to resources
  • Accommodation technology
  • Work opportunity tax credit
  • Provide follow along supports to employer and employee

Target Specific Work-site Issue

  • Episodic duties
  • Slower components of task
  • Back ups/bottlenecks
  • Material supply
  • Interruptions
  • Unattended products
  • Waste/scrap materials
  • Misplaces materials
  • Unsafe/unsightly conditions

Benefits to Employer

  • Identification of workplace needs that might be met by job seeker
  • Identification of support providers, as necessary, for customized employees
  •  Recruitment and matching of skills to employer needs
  • Assistance in customizing job roles for current employees who become disabled
  • Reduced turnover rate
  • Decreased training costs
  • Increased productivity, quality and revenues through innovative task matching
  • Aides in business expansion
  • Increased workforce, decreased financial stress on Social Security

Individual Placement & Support (IPS):  IPS is the evidence-based practice of supported employment for persons with serious mental illness. IPS is different from other types of supported employment in that employment services to an individual are integrated with his/her mental health treatment. The IPS model requires commitment and cooperation among Mental Health Provider, Funder, and Employment Service Provider.  All three participate in training on the model, and are engaged in continuous quality improvement.  This ensures that the partners adhere to IPS principles, providing the best opportunity for individuals with mental illness to not only find a job but also to continue receiving the job supports that help them to keep the job.  Link to

Hope Haven

Hope Haven 712.476.2737 1800 19th Street Rock Valley IA 51247 US 43.21034340 -96.29112910