Through Customized Employment, the relationship between employee and employer is personalized in a way that meets the needs of both. It's a universal strategy that benefits many people, including people with disabilities. Reflecting this universal strategy, for many years, ODEP has worked to strengthen the capacity of the nation's workforce development system to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities through Customized Employment. ODEP has evidence-based research data showing that Customized Employment leads to positive employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

In 2001, ODEP implemented a five-year Customized Employment initiative. Today, ODEP continues to promote the strategies and research data on Customized Employment through education, outreach and collaborations with other federal agencies and private organizations on using Customized Employment as a workplace flexibility policy (also known as flexible work arrangements).

Customized Employment Videos

These videos, focused on Employers, Youth, and a General audience, highlight the benefits of Customized Employment, an employment strategy which matches the skills and preferences of the individual with the specific business needs of the employer. This process results in expanded employment opportunities for those who utilize and engage in this innovative, evidenced-based approach to employment. The general audience video is available in both English and Spanish.

Customized Employment — A Compendium of Federal, State, and Local Implementation

Formal adoption and implementation of Customized Employment (CE) policies and practices are increasingly occurring in state and local agencies to improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities and other significant barriers to employment. State and local agencies are receiving support for policy initiatives from Federal agencies, including the Department of Education's Rehabilitation Services Administration, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Department of Labor and the Social Security Administration. This living compendium will grow to document new adoptions and implementations of CE strategies, with real-life examples of policies, staff and provider manuals, Medicaid waiver language, fee structures and other capacity building techniques as they become available.

Federal Policies

  • Customized and Self-Employment Services Adopted by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), U.S. Department of Education — This Policy Directive, submitted by RSA on July 10, 2013, revises its Vocational Rehabilitation Program Case Service Reports for its RSA-911 data to include customized and self-employment services. Implementation of the revised RSA-911 and instructions began in Federal Fiscal Year 2014 and will continue in all subsequent fiscal years. Part of this revised reporting data includes services that involve the blend of flexible strategies that result in the provision of individually negotiated and designed services, supports, and job opportunities for an individual and that lead to an employment outcome of customized employment, including self-employment.
  • On September 16, 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued an Information Bulletin, with two attachments, to the states providing clarification of existing Medicaid guidance related to 1915 (c) Waivers (Home and Community Based Services) and updating their Waiver Technical Guide, emphasizing the critical role competitive integrated employment plays in the lives of people with disabilities. The attached Technical Guide describes Customized Employment as an alternate form of Supported Employment. A second attachment to the bulletin updates the Core Service Definitions for terms used in the Technical Guide. The definition for "Supported Employment — Individual Employment Support" now lists Customized Employment services among services that can be paid for using Medicaid funds (Page 9).