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Office of Disability Employment Policy

ODEP - Office of Disability Employment Policy

Integrated Employment Toolkit

  1. Employers

    Employers
    Companies of all sizes benefit from having a skilled workforce that is adaptable to meet business needs. Targeted technical assistance, existing business models, and other relevant resources to support the hiring of people with disabilities are available to help employers modernize their workforce and tap into a broader range of human capital. This section includes basic information about the process and the resources available.

    Read more about Employers
  2. Community Employment Agencies

    Community Employment Agencies
    Community Employment Agencies are critical resources for assisting job seekers with disabilities find integrated, community-based employment opportunities that reflect the individuals' preferences, skills and abilities. Whether agencies are already using a community-based employment approach or are considering developing the increased capacity to do so, this section highlights issues to consider and provides practical, applicable resources to support effective service delivery.

  3. Individuals & Family Members

    Individuals and Family Members
    Finding a job of your choice or starting your own business is an exciting step in building a successful, satisfying career. Collected here are resources to help individuals with disabilities and their family members evaluate employment options and advocate for the one that fits them best.

    Read more about Family Members — Adult Read more about Family Members — Youth
  4. Policymakers

    Policymakers
    Well-aligned public policies promote integrated, community-based employment among both providers and customers. Several states and the Federal government have already identified integrated employment as the optimal choice for employment for people with disabilities. This section includes materials, tools and resources to support effective disability employment policy.

    Read more about Policymakers
  5. Researchers

    Researchers
    This section includes research about integrated, community-based employment for people with disabilities with a special focus on evidence-based practices for its implementation. Articles and papers address organizational capacity and individual, community, and economic outcomes.

    Read more about Researchers

  • Q&A: Community Employment Agencies

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    1. What job development and support strategies have been effective in helping job seekers find and keep integrated,
    community-based jobs?
    Title Author Resource
    Positive Personal Profile TransCen, Inc. pdf file PDF

    One of the keys to jobseekers successfully finding and keeping jobs they like and are skilled at doing is for job developers to really get to know their jobseekers. The Positive Personal Profile is a tool to guide job developers through the process of learning a jobseeker’s interests, preferences, skills, talents, experiences, dislikes, support needs and more. By gathering this information, a job developer has the information necessary to approach the right employers and is armed with great information to market about the jobseeker once the employer is approached. This packet describes how to develop such a profile, offers a form to use to collect the information, and guides the user through several information-gathering techniques.

    Strategies Used by Employment Service Providers in the Job Development Process: Are they consistent with what employers want? Monica Simonsen, Ph. D.
    Ellen S. Fabian, Ph.D.
    LaVerne Buchanan, Ed.D.
    Richard G. Luecking, Ed.D.
    TransCen, Inc.
    pdf file PDF

    While there is a growing body of literature generally describing various approaches to job development, there is very little empirical literature reporting on the actual strategies used by job development professionals in their practice. This report describes the results of a study of job development/placement professionals’ strategies in the employment process; compares these results to employer perceptions of the employment process from recent literature; and identifies implications for job development/ placement practice based on this comparison.

    Informational Interview Form TransCen, Inc. pdf file PDF

    The Informational Interview is an effective way for job developers to get to know employers, how they operate, and what challenges they face - without the pressure of trying to convince them to hire somebody. It's also a way to begin building successful business relationships that are necessary in order to create customized employment opportunities. This form offers user guiding questions while meeting with a business.

    Business Case Study TransCen, Inc. pdf file PDF

    This case study of a fictitious book store describes the company after an information interview by a job developer, then gives an example of a task list and employment proposal letter. The task list is a tool that identifies the job tasks in a particular company that can be performed by a specific applicant. Creating a task list is also a way of identifying negotiation points for a potential employer to consider. An employment proposal is the start of negotiation with a prospective employer, acknowledging the employer's time AND offering solutions to a business need.

    Enough with the Employer Awareness Already! What Else Needs to Happen to Improve Access to Employment? Dr. Richard Luecking, TransCen, Inc. pdf file PDF

    In this article in the APSE Connections newsletter (Nov. 2010), Dr. Richard Luecking explores some strategies to better engage employers and improve access to employment for people with disabilities. He offers insight into employer expectations and how to address them.

    Customized Employment Q&A The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy pdf file PDF

    This brief explains the basics of Customized Employment, including the role of the job developer or personal agent and the assessment and negotiation processes.

    Customized Employment: An Interview with Michael Callahan Virginia Commonwealth University and the Institute for Community Inclusion globe

    This online seminar is a series of short clips explaining Customized Employment, including using the discovery process to create a vocational profile, job development negotiation, disclosure, and how it can be combined - or not - with supported employment.

    Q&A Customized Employment: Demystifying Customized Employment for Individuals with Significant Disabilities Virginia Commonwealth University and the Institute for Community Inclusion pdf file PDF

    This fact sheet addresses the preconceived notions that have prevented community employment from being an expected outcome for individuals with significant disabilities and explains ways in which community employment agencies can build bridges to community-based employment.

    Self-Determination Michael Wehmeyer pdf file PDF

    This presentation introduces self-determination as an effective way to involve people with disabilities in directing their own career pathways.

    More Than a Job: Self-Determined Career Development Model Kansas Rehabilitation Services globe URL

    This Web site offers training for community employment agency staff on the Self-Determined Career Development Model, including its approach and implementation. It provides objectives and facilitator supports and worksheets for each phase of the inquiry.

    Discovering Personal Genius Griffin-Hammis and Associates, LLC for Minnesota Employment Training and Technical Assistance Center (MNTAT) pdf file PDF

    This presentation introduces the Griffin-Hammis "Discovering Personal Genius" approach to uncovering a worker's ideal conditions of employment and relationships that could be leveraged to help find the perfect job.

    Implementation of Informed Choice (RSA PD-01-03) The Rehabilitation Services Administration pdf file PDF

    This 2001 policy directive from the Rehabilitation Services Administration provides its definition of informed choice in the vocational rehabilitation process and the roles and responsibilities of the individual, the vocational rehabilitation counselor, and the state vocational rehabilitation agency in its implementation.

    Customized Employment: Applying Practical Solutions for Employment Success The National Center on Workforce and Disability/Adult (NCWD) pdf file PDF

    This guide provides practical steps for negotiating Customized Employment positions with employers that will meet their and the job seeker's needs. It includes sample task lists for developing job descriptions, ideas for questions to ask during informational interviews, and an overview of funding for Customized Employment.

    Resource Ownership: An Introductory Brief for Customizing Employment Griffin-Hammis and Associates, LLC pdf file PDF

    This paper introduces resource ownership as a strategy for Customized Employment and addresses potential concerns like liability and training.

    Big Sign Syndrome: The Job Developer's Small Business Advantage Griffin-Hammis and Associates, LLC pdf file PDF

    This brief explains why employment specialists should take a second look at small businesses for employment of individuals with disabilities. They often have more flexibility to tailor their positions, and resource ownership may be a stronger incentive.

    Customized Employment Tools: The 30-Day Placement Plan Katherine Inge and Pam Targett pdf file PDF

    This template may be used to map out a process for researching jobs in the community that meet individual consumer's needs.

    Job Negotiation and Customized Employment Pam Targett globe

    This self-paced training seminar guides users through understanding what Customized Employment is; how it fits with ADA requirements; and how to assess the "unmet" needs of a business to identify a fit for job seekers. (Approximately 00:20:00 total)

    Using Community Action Teams to Create Employment Opportunities Griffin-Hammis and Associates, LLC for Minnesota Employment Training and Technical Assistance Center (MNTAT) pdf file PDF

    Through the Minnesota Employment Training and Technical Assistance Center (MNTAT) Community Action Teams stakeholders work collaboratively and strategically to find community-based employment placements for individuals with disabilities.

    Customized Employment in an Economic Downturn: Leveraging Opportunities for Employers and Job Seekers The National Technical Assistance and Research (NTAR) Leadership Center webcast Webcast

    This presentation explains the opportunity to "unbundle" the tasks and activities of a typical job description into discrete pieces that can be reconfigured to match the capabilities of your workers. (01:27:12)

    Using Labor Market Data to Improve the Job Prospects of People with Disabilities The National Technical Assistance and Research (NTAR) Leadership Center pdf file PDF

    This document provides information on locating and interpreting local labor market data to gauge the supply and demand of workers.

    The ABCs of Schedule A - For Service Providers The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission pdf file PDF

    This guide explains how to take advantage of Schedule A, a special hiring authority for the Federal government to expedite the hiring of workers with disabilities.

    Q&A on Customized Employment: Employment Negotiations Pam Targett and Katherine Inge pdf file PDF

    This fact sheet addresses the skills and techniques that work best for job negotiation as part of Customized Employment.

    The Nuts and Bolts of Networking with Business Layne Thome and Howard Green pdf file PDF

    This presentation offers strategies for networking with businesses to identify community employment solutions.

    Three Models of Self-Employment Debra Noel and Tammy Smith webcastVideo

    See how three models of entrepreneurship training - BOSS (Bridging Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency), METTA (Micro-Enterprise Training and Technical Assistance), and FastTrac - compare for consumers interested in starting businesses.

    Self-Employment Q&A: Disabled Veterans and Self-Employment Cary Griffin and David Hammis pdf file PDF

    This fact sheet explores the resources available to service-disabled veterans for starting a small business, including those of the Small Business Administration's (SBA's) Office of Veterans Business Development.

    Self-Employment Q&A: Discovery Cary Griffin pdf file PDF

    This fact sheets explains how the techniques used for Discovery in the Customized Employment process are also relevant for starting a small business.

    Self-Employment Q&A: Assistance and Assessment: Getting at the Heart of Small Business Feasibility Cary Griffin and David Hammis pdf file PDF

    Starting a business is always a risk. This paper offers strategies for researching the feasibility of an idea and testing it before fully committing.

    Personal Assistance Services in the Workplace Ed Turner, Grant Revell, and Valerie Brooke globe URL

    This document explains the expectations, requirements, and skills for managing personal assistance services (PAS) for the workplace.

    Embracing Experience and Supporting the Dignity of Risk The New Mexico Developmental Disabilities Supports Division pdf file PDF

    This document encourages reflection on the value of community-based living and how to prepare for, cope with, and learn from the risk and disappointment.

    Customized Employment Management Plan Template Cary Griffin and Dave Hammis pdf file PDF

    This worksheet can be used to record and share what is learned through the Discovery process about the optimal employment situation for an individual and to track outcomes of Customized Employment.

    Fading Job Place Supports Teresa Gross pdf file PDF

    This presentation provides a framework for providing support to people with disabilities new to the workforce while simultaneously preparing to "fade" those supports.

    Work At Home/Telework as a Reasonable Accommodation The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission globe URL

    This Web site provides guidance from the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission about situations in which working from home/teleworking is a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Sample Reasonable Accommodation Request Form for Employers The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) pdf file PDF

    Employers can use this form to collect requests for reasonable accommodations from employees.

    Customized Employment Q&A: Workplace Supports Virginia Commonwealth University and the Institute for Community Inclusion pdf file PDF

    This fact sheet explains what workplace supports are - partners and procedures that help people get their jobs done efficiently and effectively - and how they are used by employees with and without disabilities. It also covers how to assess when additional supports are needed and who can help implement them.

    2. Are there organizational structure and staff deployment strategies that support the goal of helping job seekers find
    and keep integrated, community-based jobs?
    Title Author Resource
    Organizational Transformation to Expand Integrated Employment: Lessons Learned Lauri Dworzak and John Butterworth pdf file PDF

    This presentation captures lessons learned from the 15 agencies that transitioned to community-integrated employment during the Office of Disability Employment Policy's Training and Technical Assistance for Providers (T-TAP) project.

    Lessons Learned from T-TAP Project Sites Virginia Commonwealth University and the Institute for Community Inclusion globe

    This Web site offers a collection of case studies of the agencies that participated in the Office of Disability Employment Policy's Training and Technical Assistance for Providers (T-TAP) project. Topics addressed include the role of mentoring in organizational change, fostering commitment from job development staff, and maintaining the relationships developed in facility-based programs after the transition to working in the community.

    Monitoring Resources and Outcomes for Community Employment Virginia Commonwealth University and the Institute for Community Inclusion globe

    This Web site suggests tools that agencies can use to track an actual shift in employment services to promoting community-based placements.

    Customized Employment Q&A: Developing a Business Plan for Organizational Change Virginia Commonwealth University and the Institute for Community Inclusion pdf file PDF

    This fact sheet offers guidance in developing and implementing a plan for the shift to community-based employment.

    Q&A on Customized Employment: Successful Organizational Change John Butterworth and Shelia Fesko pdf file PDF

    This fact sheet looks at common characteristics of agencies that have undertaken successful organizational change, such as an openness to risk taking, shared values that direct service delivery, and staff participation in the development of organizational goals and decision-making.

    Self-Directed Employment for People with Developmental Disabilities: Issues, Characteristics, and Illustrations Jo-Ann Sowers, Debra McLean, and Cynthia Owens pdf file PDF

    This paper explains how a truly customer-directed employment agency operates, including customer experiences.

    Community Rehabilitation Programs and Organizational Change: A Mentor Guide to Increase Customized Employment Outcomes Virginia Commonwealth University and the Institute for Community Inclusion pdf file PDF

    This guide captures the advice and recommendations made by the ten agency "mentors" of the Office of Disability Employment Policy's Training and Technical Assistance for Providers (T-TAP)project. The mentor agencies had experience changing their organizational goals and processes to focus on community-based employment.

    Q&A Customized Employment: Developing Collaborative Community Partnerships Virginia Commonwealth University and the Institute for Community Inclusion pdf file PDF

    Designing successful community-based jobs often requires support from and partnership with other organizations in the community. This fact sheets explores some examples and suggests strategies for collaboration.

    Q&A on Customized Employment: Changing Staff Roles Katherine Inge and Pam Targett pdf file PDF

    This fact sheet addresses the concerns agency management and staff might have about staff's changing roles after the transition to community-based employment and how to motivate them for this new approach.

    3. What training will staff need to help job seekers find and keep integrated, community-based jobs?
    Title Author Resource
    Customized Employment Personal Sales Skills Griffin-Hammis and Associates, LLC pdf file PDF

    This document contains 18 simple guidelines for developing good employer relationships.

    Informational Interviews: Guide for Training Activity Griffin-Hammis and Associates, LLC pdf file PDF

    This guide suggests questions and tactics for informational interviews, a good, low-pressure way to get to know local businesses and employers in preparation for an employment placement.

    Self-Employment: Steps for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors: Helping a Consumer Start a Business Nancy Arnold, Tom Seekins, Montana Women's Capital Fund, Roger Shelley, David Hammis, Carleen Anderson, and Randall Brown pdf file PDF

    This guide is an in-depth introduction to business feasibility and planning, targeted to vocational rehabilitation counselors

    Staff Training and Development for Organizational Change Nancy Brooks-Lane webcast

    This webinar features the successes and challenges faced by the Cobb-Douglas Counties Community Services Boards in Georgia in retraining and motivating their staff to focus on community-based employment in this presentation. (Approximately 00:02:30 each)

    Customized Employment: Developing Employment Specialist Skills at the Organizational Level Kay Miller pdf file PDF

    This presentation offers options for employment specialist skill development and training for CEA staff.

    Staff Training and Development Kay Miller globe

    In this presentation Kay Miller, an experienced employment specialist and teacher, explains on-the-job training options, such as networking, shadowing, and keeping a portfolio, for new job development specialists. (Approximately 00:02:00 each)

    Minnesota Employment Training and Technical Assistance Center (MNTAT) Training Webcasts Griffin-Hammis and Associates, LLC for Minnesota Employment Training and Technical Assistance Center (MNTAT) globe URL

    This Web site contains links to twelve webcasts trainings for integrated employment, such as "Introduction to Discovery, an Individualized Assessment for Adults," "An Introduction to Customized Employment," and "Conducting an Informational Interview."

    Q&A on Customized Employment: Staff Development Cecilia Gandolfo, John Butterworth, Don Lavin, and Lance Elwood pdf file PDF

    In addition to getting staff trained on the skills of job development, CEAs making the transition to community-based employment need to motivate their staff buy in to the new mission and approach. This fact sheet offers strategies and sources of support for staff learning to adapt to their new roles and organizational culture.

    Customized Employment Competency Model EconSys and ICF International pdf file PDF

    This fact sheet provides a framework for understanding the knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics needed for staff at agencies engaged in Customized Employment.

    4. What funding resources and funding strategies are available to help job seekers find and keep integrated,
    community-based jobs?
    Title Author Resource
    Pass Plans and Related SSA Work Incentives Griffin-Hammis and Associates, LLC for Minnesota Employment Training and Technical Assistance Center (MNTAT) pdf file PDF

    This presentation introduces how Social Security Administration Work Incentives can allow people with disabilities to work without losing their benefits and access funding to pay for work-related expenses. Accessing work incentives planning services is also covered.

    Using Work Incentives to Fund Microenterprises Dave Hammis pdf file PDF

    This presentation looks more closely at how work incentives, primarily Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS), can be used to support microenterprises. It concludes with recommendations for how disability employment service providers can access funding and training to help their clients start small businesses.

    Customized Employment Q & A: Creating a Diversified Funding Base John Butterworth, Claire Ghiloni, and Grant Revell pdf file PDF

    More than just having multiple sources for funding, having a diversified funding base also means that support dollars can follow and adapt to the employment goals and support needs of the individual consumer. This fact sheet guides agencies through achieving diversified funding.

    Self-Employment Q&A: Braiding and Blending Funding for Business Start-up Pam Targett, Katherine Inge, Molly Sullivan, and Grant Revell pdf file PDF

    This document reviews sources of microenterprise funding and support that can be secured from Developmental Disability and Mental Health Centers general state funds, Medicaid, the state Vocational Rehabilitation office, Social Security Administration Work Incentives, Workforce Investment Programs, and One Stop Career Centers.

    Funding Consumer-Directed Employment Outcomes Fact Sheet Grant Revell pdf file PDF

    This fact sheet explains how the funding sources used by service providers and individuals with disabilities can support or hinder Customized Employment practices, specifically those that are directed by the consumer. It lists key characteristics of customer-oriented funding policy and gives examples of successful initiatives in New Hampshire and Oklahoma.

    Q&A on Customized Employment: Funding of Community-Integrated Employment Outcomes Nancy Brooks-Lane and Grant Revell pdf file PDF

    This brief explains how the Cobb-Douglas Counties Community Services Boards in Georgia refocused their efforts on Customized Employment and funding.

    5. How can community employment agencies link to schools and other services to best serve transitioning youth
    who desire integrated, community-based jobs?
    Title Author Resource
    Integrating Service Systems at the Point of Transition for Youth with Significant Disabilities: A Model that Works The National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET) pdf file PDF

    This brief introduces the Transition Services Integration Model, which is designed to connect individuals with significant disabilities in their last year at public school with supports they will need to develop an integrated career and lifestyle after graduation.

    King County School-to-Work Project Web site King County Department of Community and Human Services, Developmental Disabilities Division globe URL

    The Web site for King County's School-to-Work program explains the project's goals and eligibility requirements and tells students what to expect in selecting and working with a supported employment agency and when they get to work. It also includes a School-to-Work Project orientation video, a downloadable student application, and information about the county's Transition Resource Fair.

    Contract for Supported Employment Services between School Districts and the King County Department of Community and Human Services King County Department of Community and Human Services, Developmental Disabilities Division pdf file PDF

    This is a template of the contract that King County Developmental Disabilities Division uses with school districts participating in its School-to-Work project.

    Washington State Employment Services Contract King County Department of Community and Human Services, Developmental Disabilities Division pdf file PDF

    This is the contract that King County Developmental Disabilities Division uses with service provider agencies connecting students with disabilities to paid, community-integrated employment.

    Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction/Division of Vocational Rehabilitation/Department of Health Services Interagency Agreement The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development pdf file PDF

    This agreement addresses how the three departments can work together to support youth and adults with disabilities achieve community integrated employment. It clarifies the roles and commitments of staff in each department and how their services can connect seamlessly, as well as outlining a procedure for the resolution of interagency disputes.

    Successful Transition Models for Youth with Mental Health Needs: A Guide for Workforce Professionals National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) pdf file PDF

    This brief suggests successful service models for helping youth with mental health needs transition from school into the workplace. Based on a study of exemplary youth service delivery programs offering integrated care focused on career preparation, it reviews the six design features of successful transition programs.

    Creating a Transition Program for Teens with Disabilities: How DO-IT Does It, and How You Can DO-IT, Too The University of Washington globe URL

    The DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Scholars program uses access to technology, peer support, mentoring, and work-based learning experiences to introduce students with disabilities to higher education and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

    6. Are there examples of organizations and agencies that have converted their operations to integrated,
    community-based services?
    Title Author Resource
    Conversion to Integrated Employment: Case Studies of Organizational Change, Vol. 1: Bonney Enterprises (Corvallis, OR), United Cerebral Palsy Association of the Capitol Area (Austin, TX), and Independence Association (Brunswick, ME) The Institute for Community Inclusion pdf file PDF
    Conversion to Integrated Employment: Case Studies of Organizational Change, Vol. 2: Community Enterprises (Northampton, MA), Life Skills Foundation (St. Louis, MO), and MetroWest Human Services (Ashland, MA) pdf file PDF
    Conversion to Integrated Employment: Case Studies of Organizational Change, Vol. 3: Emory Valley Center (Oak Ridge, TN), Ranch Community Services (Menomonee Falls, WI), Rural Employment Alternatives (Conroy, IA), and Valley of the Sun School (Phoenix, AZ) pdf file PDF

    These case studies capture the attitudes, approaches, and techniques used at ten agencies that initiated or expanded their integrated employment services. For each agency, the study investigates the factors that motivated the decision to transfer resources to community employment, the approach to planning, communication, and implementation of the change process, obstacles experiences, and the solutions.

    The Successes and Struggles of Closing a Facility-Based Employment Service The Institute for Community Inclusion pdf file PDF

    This brief provides a synopsis of the findings from the ten Conversion to Integrated Employment case studies above.