Counselors Seeking Information
Is your client ready for our program? The Statler Center program is the step directly prior to employment. We ask counselors to keep in mind that applicants should have an “everyday” use of technology skills, and feel comfortable operating their specific assistive technology in order to ensure success. Over the years, our staff has recognized some critical areas for counselors and clients to be mindful of so that the experience is maximized to their benefit and employment success. Please click below for further information about our program requirements, and “best practices”.
Best Practices For Counselors Sponsoring a Client
Over the years, our staff has recognized some critical areas for counselor and client to be mindful of so that the experience both before and during training is maximized to their benefit and employment success.
Arrival to Buffalo
Because our lodging students receive orientation services prior to class starting and because these services include O&M from our Olmsted staff—we ask that counselors and clients prepare to arrive two days prior to the start of classes so that there is no interruption to class instruction time. Please remember that it will be the student’s responsibility to contact the hotel directly upon arrival and request pick up from the hotel shuttle. Statler staff will NOT meet students at the airport or train station. We do highly recommend that when making travel arrangements you request Skycap services from your airline to assist your student traveler within the airport, through gate changes and to baggage claim.
It is most helpful for our staff if a client and counselor are able to share specific information as pertains to employment goals and as agreed upon during a client’s finalized ISP or service plan. Additionally if a student has had a 504 or IEP that is recent and reflects academic supports put in place during secondary programs this can assist our staff in planning ahead for specific needs and teaching supports. This information will be requested and if client and counselor agree to share it will be privileged only to the Director, admissions and placement staff on a “need to know” basis and who will be directly working with your client.
Orientation & Mobility Skills and Independent Living Skills
Counselors should have a full and current understanding of their client’s skills with regard to O&M and daily living. Clients will receive O&M services to acclimate to the hotel and the Statler Center however; in depth skill training is not able to be provided in lieu of classroom instruction. Additionally, because students lodge in an extended stay hotel (with single occupancy and a full kitchen) counselors should be mindful that meal preparation, daily hygiene, dressing, medications, service animal care and any other daily living skills should be at a level of independence.
In addition to the independent daily living skills that may require a student to monitor a health condition with/without assistive devices or take daily medicines, we ask that clients and counselors have an up to date understanding of any medical conditions and risks. This planning should include emergency plans, emergency contacts, understanding of health insurance coverage out of state and current Dr.’s releases to attend training should there be any significant health concerns.
In terms of placement and employability, we ask that if a student has been deemed disabled by a DR. or court, that both client and counselor know the percentage of disability that has been determined as this can heavily weigh on appropriateness for the program and on future placement determinations.
Some candidates have audiological needs and may utilize amplification and other direct audio input devices. We ask that client and counselor have an updated audiogram and recommendations for class management from an audiologist. We further ask that client, counselor and audiologist ensure that all equipment is performing as it should and that client is able to manage and troubleshoot equipment. We also suggest that a back- up plan be put in place should personal equipment need repair and that the client has an ample supply of batteries to complete their training with us. We will ask for the contact information of the audiologist in case of any equipment or hearing issues arise and ask that client be prepared to manage these circumstances with counselor.
Personal Finances and Related Personal Issues Readiness
We encourage counselors to have a frank and open discussion with their clients regarding financial issues that may affect their receiving per diem monies directly and to make sure that clients have a credit card or debit card with ample amount of funds to be held by the hotel to cover their policy regarding incidental room charges. While we strongly discourage the use of hotel services that would result in a room charge (i.e. room service), we must abide by the hotel policy for all guests in securing credit card or debit card holds in case a client does accrue charges or cause damage. For more information, please see the Welcome Packet or contact the Admissions office. Incidental charges will not be approved for payment by Statler from a client’s lodging authorization monies if we are acting as a pass through for billing.
For local students that may be commuting daily, we ask that counselors implement a discussion and plan with their client for how they will travel to and from school daily and whether they need financial assistance to do so.
Some students may have required and frequent appointments or mandated frequent appointments that may affect their ability to attend a daily on-site training session from 9:00am-4:00pm. Please take a moment to ensure that your client is not only able to attend but also ready to attend and seeking an employment outcome at this time. We understand that some absences will occur and instructors will adhere to our attendance policy in those instances however, repeated and regular absences that involve required appointments may become problematic over time. Communicating any problems or concerns regarding the training schedule is best done prior to registering for training with Statler. Please note that we can NOT change our instructional schedule to meet a student’s needs.
Statler does require that our students wear “business casual” dress. This means that students should not wear jeans, sneakers, sandals, flip flops, hats, hoodies, t-shirts etc. We ask that students wear what would be appropriate in an office environment including appropriate shoes. We understand that for some students this may be an initial hardship and we ask that counselors discuss with their clients the availability of enough clothing for their time at Statler. There are some programs that we can refer a client to for an outfit for interviews but clients should be prepared with enough clothing prior to their arrival. Laundry facilities are available at the hotel and while there are shopping malls in the area, this must be an independent activity and outside of class hours. Statler staff will not schedule shopping with a student.
What do I need to bring to Statler?
Often students and counselors wonder if they need to bring any equipment with them such as laptops, braillers, recorders etc. It is not necessary to bring a computer with you as we will provide your workstation including the applicable software that your client uses while they are here with us. All students will receive materials electronically (including on-line learners) with regard to class notes, texts, worksheets etc. Some students may also prefer to have some items in particular brailled and we can do that should they wish. Again, it is not necessary to bring devices with you however, if you have a particular item that you feel comfortable with and want to utilize such as a recorder or a refreshable braille display then feel free to bring it—we ask that you know how to use it. We will not stop class to train on a personal device-this includes students who bring laptops for personal use. Statler is not able to troubleshoot or repair personal items.
Housing Upon Return Home
Counselors sponsoring a client through the In-house trainings at Statler should have a discussion with client prior to departure from home about any housing issues that they may have that would affect their return living arrangements and any benefit related programs they may jeopardize. The Statler would never want a student to jeopardize their housing or ignore any housing issues that might be priorities over training at that time.
Overnight Guests at the Hotel
The Statler Center has entered into a contract with the lodging hotel to enable our students to receive specific services and a discounted rate of stay while they are in Buffalo. Some students have family members that would like to show support at graduation by coming to Buffalo to attend the ceremony. We ask that they limit their arrival to the week of graduation and that they do not extend their stay past one week. The hotel policy regarding guests of registered guests is to charge a daily fee to cover the housekeeping and breakfast buffet charges, to extend the use of the courtesy shuttle only if the registered guest is present and the shuttle is available and to require that the guest also provide a separate credit card or debit card to hold an incidental charge amount according to hotel policy.
Guests of Statler students should refrain from coming to Statler unless it is graduation day and at the time of graduation so that the student is able to focus on their coursework. Only current and registered Statler students should be on location with the exception of the graduation ceremony and luncheon. Additionally, separate transportation to and from the ceremony should be arranged. Because counselors are sponsoring a client through our programs with state monies, we do also ask that counselors agree to any guests that their clients may invite. If any extenuating circumstance exists that a counselor would approve a guest longer than the week of graduation – we ask that counselors communicate this specific situation as soon as possible. **Please keep in mind that Statler is unable to dictate or change hotel policy.
Should a guest of a Statler student become problematic according to the hotel’s determination, the hotel will act on their policy which may include removal from the hotel and premises. The guest will be fully financially responsible for their own travel and subsequent lodging needs – Statler will not intervene nor be held liable. If a Statler student is involved in any behavior that is contrary to hotel policy and the hotel wishes to remove them as guests- they may also be dismissed from the program. Statler will not assist with secondary or emergency travel or lodging; the student will need to contact counselor for direction.
Of course we welcome a student’s service animal into class, the Statler Center and at the hotel. All student’s with service animals will be asked to sign that they acknowledge the local leash and waste removal ordinances within the city of Buffalo, the hotel location and that they will independently care for their animal. We ask that service animals are not left unattended in the hotel rooms. We also ask that both client and counselor ensure that they have up to date vaccinations and an emergency plan in place should veterinary services be required. Statler acknowledges the great service that guide dogs provide and understands the importance of a well-trained animal in assisting our students. Therefore, we ask that if there are any issues between student and guide dog such as age, skill deficits, new dog arrival etc. that you take these in to consideration when assessing if this is the right time to apply for training at Statler and if your client will be able to begin a job search post-graduation and focus on that search.
Conferences and Reporting During Training
Progress reports from all instructional staff are provided to counselors twice per course at the mid-point and final point of each class. These detailed reports and conferences are very important in ensuring that client, counselor and Statler stay on track with any skill concerns, training concerns, remedial or accelerated skills that may positively or negatively affect employment or placement determinations. It is extremely important that counselors attend these conferences either in person or remotely. Statler requires a counselor to participate in a conference at a mutually convenient time at least once per class taken. Additionally, counselors will be asked to acknowledge that they have received and read provided reports.
Placement Contracts Conferences and Ongoing Reporting
The goal of our training is to work with motivated students who have been actively pursuing employment but need additional skills and assistance in vocational development to achieve it. Again, because Statler views placement success as a shared effort between our staff, a motivated student and their sponsoring counselor, we require counselors to attend the initial placement meeting whether in person or remotely at a mutually agreed upon time. Subsequent to that, we ask that counselors and clients attend meetings on a monthly basis whether in person or remotely at a mutually agreed upon time until placement is finalized.
Statler has a long history of employment placement success on a national basis; we do however recognize that there is a great benefit to working with a local agency in conjunction with our efforts as trainers and employment specialists. The client who has a locally based employment counselor and Statler staff support working together will have a more beneficial experience and likely faster path to employment.
Statler values a reciprocal and transparent flow of communication between center, counselor and student. Because of this and to ensure accurate reporting, we ask that counselors notify us immediately of any change in counselor whether temporary or permanent. We also understand that counselors have large caseloads; therefore, if possible it is often helpful to provide the name of a counselor’s assistant in case of a situation that may require immediate response (in addition to contacting the counselor of course).
Likewise, we prefer that any authorizations for service be sent via email or fax. While some entities do also send authorizations and purchase orders via US mail—we find that this greatly delays the requirements of our finance department in setting up your client’s needs for arrival. A digital copy is preferred and, as always—a client should never arrive onsite prior to an authorization from their sponsoring agency. We do require authorizations to be “in hand” before your client departs to travel to Buffalo.
Please direct all concerns or questions to; The National Statler Center Elizabeth Schmidt, Admissions Coordinator
ADDITIONAL APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS
- Two Letters of Professional or Character Reference
- Open case with Commission for the Blind or Vocational Rehabilitation service provider
- Recommend the sharing of an ISP regarding employment goals and/or if applicable a recent 504 or IEP plan to assist staff with instructional supports
- Copy of High School Diploma, GED or Transcript OR Copy of Bachelor’s degree or transcript with conferral of degree
- Admissions Interview
- Keyboard Assessment (20 word per minute threshold required)
- Online Learning applicants must complete an on-line exercise
PLEASE DIRECT ALL CONCERNS OR QUESTIONS TO;
THE NATIONAL STATLER CENTER
ELIZABETH SCHMIDT, ADMISSIONS COORDINATOR