Mission Employment

New Program! DISCOVERY

Discovery is…

  • A process that involves getting to know people before we help them plan
  • Spending time with people, instead of testing or evaluating them, as a means of finding out who they are
  • A way to find out the best that people have to offer
  • Getting to know people in their everyday setting
  • A way to identify the contributions people have to offer
  • Customized outcomes for people
  • Self-determination and choice
  • Developing a profile that indicates the person’s skills, experiences & talents

Customized Employment is…

  • A strategy that Provides individuals with life complexities, and indeed other applicants with significant barriers to employment, with an alternative to traditional, competitive jobs. According to a new definition used by the U.S. Department of Labor, Customized Employment refers to:
  • Individualizing the employment relationship between employees and employers in ways that meet the needs of both. It is based on an individualized determination of the strengths, needs and interests of the person with a disability and is also designed to meet the specific needs of the employer. (Federal Register, June 26, 2002, Vol. 67. No. 123 pp 43154-43149).

Customized, Person-Centered Planning is…

  • An activity that follows discovery and is based on the information and findings that result from getting to know each individual
  • Owned by the individual, not the provider
    Focused on facilitating outcomes in employment, life activities, preferences and contributions of the individual
  • An opportunity for the individual, not the provider to decide the direction and outcomes of services and supports
  • The individual, not the labor market, to direct job development efforts
  • Then a Planning meeting is set-up to strategize a custom job within the community

Image of employees walking, one of which is accelerating in a wheelchair with a briefcase

What are Pre-Employment Transition Services?

Pre-Employment Transition Services (PETS) are designed to support the transition from school into adult life of high school students with disabilities. In order to pave the way for employment, PETS services provide vocational exploration, hard and soft skills training, and competitive integrated vocational experiences to high school students. Designed to give students an introduction to work that will serve to both, inform their future vocational choices, develop work habits and obtain experience that will make them more marketable in the competitive workforce. PETS services are specifically designed to be provided to students who are enrolled in high school. Classes are around an hour to an hour and a half.


For every student to serve an independent life through meaningful work.


Engaging every student in career planning activities that lead to a fulfilling adult life through work.

Work-Based Learning Experiences

The Work-Based Learning Experience is the centerpiece of PETS services. A work-based experience, such as an internship, is an on-the-job training program. Training will take place in cooperation with employers, to high school students. This work-based experience is intended to assist high school students in developing necessary skills and abilities to effectively place them into competitive integrated employment.

The Work Based Learning Experience/Internship must involve competitive, integrated employment. An integrated setting is one found in the community, in which an individual with a disability interacts with employees and other persons, as appropriate to the position, who do not have disabilities to the same extent that employee without disabilities who interact with these persons. Employment enclaves, work crews, and segregated employment sites are not considered appropriate integrated employment or internship sites and are not acceptable.

Job Shadowing

Mission Empower will provide information and reporting on progress, abilities, and workplace behavior.

CVS Spring Program Success!


Students that have participated in the CVS Spring program are working alongside the best role models. With the retail store experience, they gain skills to set them up for success. Students appreciate to learn a trade, have a job that pays them, they leave this program with work experience and confidence to take on their next job. Thank you, students, for taking the steps forward, letting Mission Employment help to direct you, and the initiative to invest in your future. 

Questions? Contact Us:


Mission Empower
1611 Peach St Suite #120, Erie, PA 16501

Program Contact:
Norma Lewis

Contact Phone:
(814) 825-0788

Contact Email:

Publication of this Website’s page is made possible through a Cooperative Agreement Grant # H328C160010 between OSEP and Mission Empower (M.E.). The contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government or by Mission Empower.