When an employee is injured, sometimes the next step involves retraining for a different job. In order to find the most appropriate fit that makes the best use of an individual’s skills and experience, our team conducts vocational testing and analysis. The result is a recommendation that helps employees get back into the workforce as quickly as possible in a role that sets them up for success.
What is the Purpose of Vocational Testing?
Vocational tests are conducted to determine whether injured workers will benefit from further services. The test results help counselors identify employees’ levels for retraining and/or their fitness for specific jobs. For non-native English speakers, CASAS tests assess language proficiency in relation to potential employment.
What Vocational Tests Measure
Common vocational tests cover two main areas: academic levels and aptitudes or interests. Put another way, they measure what people are good at, what they need training in, and what they like to do.
Academic tests focus on reading and math comprehension as well as English language skills. In some cases, the next step may be working toward a GED; others may be ready to complete an Associate’s Degree or other trade certification.
“For anyone headed for retraining or going back to school, this gives us a snapshot of their academic levels at this point in time,” says Single Handed Consulting Vocational Counselor Allison Baldwin. “We can see if they need to take any prerequisites if they’re entering community college.”
Testing also helps employees identify career goals and potential strengths. “If someone wants to be a computer programmer but has weak math skills, that’s not a good match,” says Baldwin. “We help people to find where they fit and what they’re good at.” Once the testing is complete, Single Handed Consulting’s counselors go through the results with the injured worker, explaining their options and providing recommendations.
Benefits for Employees of Working with a Vocational Counselor
Many employees are resistant to vocational testing, fearful of what they don’t understand and concerned about showing poorly. Left to their own devices, some are intimidated by the prospect of visiting a local school to complete their testing and may be tempted to avoid the experience altogether or put little effort into it.
“People are often scared to death,” says Baldwin. “We try to ease them into process by explaining it in detail and letting them know we’ll be right there with them. To tell them ‘Just go to community college down the road and get your testing done’ is not enough. It’s easier for me to meet with them in person and walk them through what needs to happen.”
Working with a vocational counselor can help to allay those fears once employees have a better understanding of the process and how they can benefit from it. Counselors lead them through each stage step by step, gaining valuable insights into the employee’s background, strengths and interests along the way. This makes it more likely that they can effectively match the injured worker with an appropriate job. Occasionally, employees reveal learning disabilities that can be mitigated through retraining - but only if they’re known to exist in the first place.
Support from a counselor also makes people more likely to fully participate in the process, which ultimately provides them with more potentials when it comes to retraining. Failing to make an effort, particularly when it comes to identifying areas of interest, will result in few to no options.
“The testing gives workers an idea of things they might be good at and opens their eyes to some areas they may not have considered before,” says Baldwin. “If you don’t try very hard or demonstrate any interests, the scores won’t reflect that you have the aptitude for a job you might want.”
Benefits for Employers of Working with a Vocational Counselor
Generally speaking, once a worker has been referred for vocational testing matters are out of the employer’s hands as the employee moves through the system. However, for large companies or self-employed insurers who want to retrain and retain injured workers, bringing in a vocational counselor can help maximize their investment.
“We find something for the employee that’s an actual match, not a job that they’ll never realistically do,” says Baldwin. “When vocational testing is done well, we provide a lot more bang for the buck.”
Learn more about how we at Single Handed Consulting can help you by contacting us today.