Rehabilitation, Employment & Community Services FAQ For
What services are offered by BEi?

BEi offers Sheltered Employment to help teach you work skills while you earn money; Vocational Evaluation to help you get a better understanding about your job interests, skills, and abilities; Work Study so that you can work and earn while you are still in high school; Life Skills so that you can learn how to live independently; Community Based Assessments so that you can try out jobs with local companies and businesses; and Supported Employment so that you get on-the-job training for a job in the community.

Who can answer my questions about services at BEi?

Marilla Norton is the Services Intake Coordinator at BEi. She can be reached directly at (814) 723-8431, Ext. 20 or by email at

Who pays for the services at BEi?

Services are paid through a variety of funding sources coordinated through several organizations such as: Warren County Human Services (726-2100), PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (723-2790) and the Warren County School District (723-6900). The service referral process and eligibility determination is completed by each of these entities; each has its own guidelines for specific services.

How am I paid for working at BEi?

There are a variety of work opportunities offered through BEi at the North Warren workshop and in the community, each of which has different pay rates ranging from piece rates for contract manufacturing work to hourly rates for contract janitorial work. You will receive a paycheck every two weeks.

May I tour BEi to help me decide if I want to work there?

Absolutely! We encourage you to tour the workshop facility to see work in progress. A tour is a good way to help you in your decision making. Call Marilla Norton at 814-723-8431, Ext. 20 to arrange a tour.

How do I get to/from BEi on workdays?

BEi contracts with a local bus company to bring employees to and from work. Buses travel routes to designated stops in Sheffield, Youngsville and Warren in the morning and afternoon. If you do not live near a stop, you must make arrangements to get to one of the stops. There is a cost to ride the bus, but it’s often paid for by the same organization funding your services.

What does SES mean?

SES is an abbreviation for Supported Employment Service. SES is a word formed from the initial letters of the several words in the name. This is known as an acronym. For a list of acronyms of common titles, organizations, offices and related items of interest for people with disabilities see our web page of acronyms.

Why Should I Work?
  • Working gives you income.
  • Working makes you feel good about yourself.
  • Working promotes independence and helps you develop self-confidence.
  • Working helps you meet new friends.
  • Working enables you to learn new skills.
  • Working makes you a productive, taxpaying citizen.
Can BEi’s SES help me find a job that I can do?

BEi’s SES personnel can help you find a job that’s just right for you. If you would like to work in the community, they will:

  • evaluate your interests and abilities.
  • carefully match your abilities with job requirements of a local business or industry.
  • set up a 4-8 hour job sampling (see next question) for you accompanied by a “job coach” who will help teach you how to do what is necessary to meet the job requirements.
  • continue to have a “job coach” accompany you once hired on the job until the job coach, you and the employer are satisfied that you can independently do the work that is expected for that position.
  • provide ongoing monitoring to assure that your work continues to meet the performance standards of the employer and to make sure that you’re happy with the employer and the work which you’re expected to do.
  • continue to provide training and counseling support for as long as you remain employed.
What is job sampling?

It is a paid tryout of a job with an employer. You will work on a job for 4-8 hours. A job coach will accompany you. This tryout will give you an opportunity to test your abilities as well as allow you to determine if you like the work.

Will BEi help me find a job in the community?

If you are an individual with a disability, ask your Supports Coordinator if you are eligible to receive funding for Supported Employment Service (SES) from the Forest-Warren Counties Department of  Human Services or contact the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation at 723-2790. For further information about BEi job placement service, call Pamela Tidrick, BEi’s Job Placement Specialist, at (814) 723-8431, Ext. 28 or email

What is the Work/Study program?

BEi’s Work/Study Program provides opportunities for students with special needs to obtain skills and work experience that will aid them in making the transition from school to work and everyday lives. The Warren County School District offers this opportunity through BEi. Students aged 16 and older are employed in our sheltered workshop approximately two hours per day while attending school. At BEi they earn a paycheck while learning real work skills as well as habits and behaviors they will need in order to be successfully employed as adults.

Will I be able to work at BEi after I graduate from high school?

BEi provides adult services and we enjoy continuing to work with individuals after they complete their educational goals. After graduation you will no longer be eligible for school district sponsorship for our sheltered workshop. To continue services you will need to obtain a referral from a Forest-Warren Counties Department of Human Services Supports Coordinator or Beacon Light Behavioral Health Systems Case Manager. We suggest you make this request no later than a year before you plan on graduating. If you currently do not receive any services from the Department of Human Services, you should apply immediately to determine your eligibility for services after you leave school. This may be done by calling 726-2100 and requesting an appointment to apply for services.

How much money will I earn working in the BEi workshop?

It depends. In most cases, individuals working in the sheltered workshop are paid “piece rate” which is based on the prevailing wage for the same job at the company with whom we are contracting the work. People who work steadily, quickly, and complete the work correctly can earn as much or even more than someone working on the same job at the company for whom we are doing the work. While it is not common, on certain jobs, individuals have earned as much as $15.00 per hour. It is not unusual for good workers to average more than minimum wage on our piece rate jobs. On the other hand, if a worker spends most of his/her work time visiting with others, making rest room visits, or not working, he/she will earn much less, averaging less than $1 per hour. There are a few jobs in the sheltered workshop for which individuals are paid an hourly wage, which is the minimum hourly rate. In the community based assessment, also referred to as “job sampling,” individuals are paid the minimum hourly rate for the time they work.

What is the Vocational Evaluation Program?

The Vocational Evaluation Program is offered to individuals with disabilities. BEi’s Vocational Evaluation is an individualized and interactive program which assesses the individual’s employment potential, abilities and needs. Assessments are made in the areas of job skills; work related behaviors, characteristics, attitudes and preferences; job seeking skills; and social, community and personal living competencies. Results are obtained through individual counseling; hands-on work experience in real jobs in which the adult has an interest; and standardized work evaluation tests. The evaluation’s results are then shared with the individual and representatives from relevant agencies. Recommendations on actions to be taken to meet vocational goals are made at that time.

Will you get me a job when I’m done with the Vocational Evaluation?

The purpose of a Vocational Evaluation is to obtain information about what knowledge and skills you have now in regards to working, what skills you need to learn or improve upon, and what supports or accommodations you may need in order to become successfully employed. A Vocational Evaluation will not find you a job, but it will give you valuable information about yourself and recommendations for steps you can take to find a job.

What is the Community Activities Program?

The Community Activities Program is a program designed to give individuals with disabilities an opportunity to participate in activities within the community. Many different activities are planned to try to incorporate different personalities and physical tolerances. Activities are scheduled for after BEi work hours, 3-5 p.m. or on Saturdays until the activity is over and the occasional Sunday activity. Participants are responsible for any fees associated with their chosen activities. If any fees are necessary for a planned activity, they are usually less than $20.00 per person.

What types of activities does this program include?

Activities vary each year, but participants may have opportunities to:

  • attend and support local theater events, art shows, musical events at the Library Theater, the Warren County Fair and Music in the Park.
  • attend Jamestown Jammers’ baseball games and local football games.
  • participate in lunch and movie outings in both Jamestown, NY and Warren, PA.
  • enjoy bowling events, swimming parties, putt-putt golfing and dances.
  • participate in art shows in Warren, Erie, Dunkirk and Jamestown as well as display items at the Warren County Fair.
  • cruise Chautauqua Lake on the Summer Wind Yacht in Celeron.
  • visit the Erie Planetarium and the Erie Zoo.
  • work with the trainer at the Jefferson DeFrees Gym as well as attend weekly yoga classes to improve health.
  • take arts and crafts classes such as quilting, watercolor, photography, art, stamping, scrapbooking, leather working, papermaking, making stepping stones for a garden, or making Christmas centerpieces with natural materials.
Can I participate in these activities?

Of course! All BEi workers and BEi program participants are welcome to attend any scheduled activity. BEi’s limited transportation to activities is reserved for BEi participants. Others in the community are also welcome to join the group at the scheduled place for the activity. If you are interested in attending one of our activities or would like more information, feel free to call Tammy Rayborne at (814) 723-8431, Ext. 14.

How can I find out what upcoming activities are planned at BEi?

For the Calendar of Events, contact Tammy Rayborne at (814) 723- 8431, Ext. 14 or check our website.

What is the Therapeutic Activities Program?

It’s an in-home and community based program for people with disabilities. Those individuals who qualify for the program work on achieving goals identified in their Individual Service Plans (ISP) through:

  • community outings to encourage socialization.
  • assistance with daily living skills to allow the individual to live independently.
  • activities to maintain good health.
  • assistance accessing community resources such as the county bus services, the library, free public concerts, etc.
  • opportunities to handle money.
What types of activities do people in this program participate in?
  • Community outings (baseball games, summer picnics, concerts, plays, birthday and holiday celebration parties and eating out with others) are used for socialization and money handling opportunities.
  • Assistance with daily living activities includes laundering clothes, cooking food, using the microwave, shopping for healthy foods and essentials and more. Shopping trips are also opportunities for handling money. Playing board games like Scrabble, Uno and Yahtzee, and the electronic game, Geo Safari aid in understanding written materials also. Participants practice using calculators and reading menus at lunch outings. Reviewing bowling scores, restaurant bills and grocery shopping bills are all tools used to practice understanding written information in daily life.
  • To maintain good health, participants walk inside the mall in the winter and on rainy days and outside on nice days, walk to garage sales, hike trails, swim at the YMCA, bowl, play putt-putt golf and other physical activities.
  • Accessing community resources includes attending concerts at the Library Theatre, art exhibits at the Crary Gallery, hiking trails at Chapman State Park, walking the Bike/Hike trail, learning about the TAWC bus schedules, using the Warren Public Library, using the instant photo makers at local retail stores to make special cards, etc. and any other resources available to the public.
How can I get into BEi’s Therapeutic Activities Program?

For more information about the program, call Stephanie Maze, the Therapeutic Activities Aide, at BEi, (814) 723-8431, Ext. 10.

For other useful website links, please visit our Links web page. You can find it by clicking on Rehab Services, then click Employment Services and then click Links.
If you have a question that does not appear in this FAQ listing, please call (814) 723-8431 for further assistance.

Employment Services FAQ for Businesses and Industries

What is SES?

SES is Supported Employment Service, a unique employment service. The purpose of SES is to place people with disabilities into suitable jobs in area businesses and industries.

Why Should I Hire a Worker Through SES?

By hiring a worker through SES, employers:

  • help reduce employee turnover rate by hiring a worker who wants to work specifically for them. Through BEi’s SES pre-placement screening, functional assessment and job interest determination, we match worker’s interests and abilities to the job. In more than 25 years of studies, disabled workers meet or exceed non-disabled workers in terms of productivity, loyalty, reliability and safety.
  • contribute to more successful matches being made through community based assessments also known as job samplings or work tryouts at the employment site. A job coach accompanies the worker for training. It costs the employer NOTHING and there is NO liability for the employer; BEi pays the wages, taxes and worker’s compensation cost associated with the work. And there is no obligation to hire beyond the tryout.
  • reduce training costs if the person is hired because the “job coach” will return with the new hire to train the employee to meet the job and productivity requirements and will remain until all are satisfied that the worker can independently do the work that is expected for that position.
  • are assured that the individual’s work meets the company’s performance standards through BEi’s ongoing monitoring.
  • can take advantage of federal and state legislation for hiring disabled workers as in the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) which allows you to defer your federal tax liability for every physically or mentally disabled person you hire via a vocational rehabilitation referral. For more information go to
  • can look into this: while not a tax credit, the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation can reimburse you 50 percent of wages for on-the-job training for disabled employees. For more information go to
    And PA Vocational Tax Credit Legislation SB 567 is currently being discussed in the state’s finance committee.
What is a community based assessment?

The purpose of a community based assessment is to determine an individual’s vocational interest and ability on specific jobs.  Performing the job in the actual worksite gives a more accurate assessment of the skills than the traditional off site evaluations conducted with work samples and written assessments. The opportunity to try several different types of jobs defines those skills even further so that when an individual applies for a job, he/she has some experience on that type of job, a genuine interest in performing that type of work, and the skills needed for the job. It benefits you, the employer, by reducing the amount of initial training and having an employee who wants to work for you.

Once an employer agrees to be a site for community based assessments with BEi, we will schedule a time to conduct a thorough job and task analysis of the work you would like to have completed. And as individuals in the program express an interest in the type of employment you offer, we will contact you to schedule a convenient time for us to come in and do the job.

A supervisor from BEi and the individual trying the job will report to your designated area and your supervisor at the pre-scheduled time. The individual will be taught the job by BEi staff and will be fully supervised by us; this assures that the work is completed according to the specifications determined in the job analysis. Typically an individual will complete a four hour shift at each site. If there is an expressed interest in the particular job or there are further questions to be answered on that job, another four hour shift may be scheduled. The schedule will be determined mutually by you and BEi personnel. The wages, the taxes and workers’ compensation of the individual performing the job will be paid by BEi. There is NO cost to you.

Community Based Assessments benefit the individual performing the job and the employer with whom we are working by determining and eventually matching skills and interests to fulfill the needs of the local employment demands.

Will BEi help me find an employee?

Definitely! If you are an employer interested in hiring an individual with a disability, call Pamela Tidrick, BEi’s Job Placement Specialist, at (814) 723-8431, Ext. 28.

If you have a question that does not appear in this FAQ listing, please call (814) 723-8431 for further assistance.

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