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ODEP - Office of Disability Employment Policy

Disability Employment Policy Resources by Topic

Creating a Blueprint for Job Development

Customized Employment is based on an individualized determination of a person's strengths, requirements, and interests. As such, the process requires time for exploration and planning prior to negotiating an employment relationship. Through a process of exploration, job seekers express their dreams, goals, personal preferences, life experiences, and needs. The next step is a customized planning process, resulting in an individualized career profile that:

  • Details the applicant's strengths, needs, and interests.
  • Develops a "Task List" proposal for potential employers.
  • Directs the development of a Customized Employment relationship with employers.
  • Identifies potential employers to be contacted.
  • Outlines the supports necessary for employment to be successful.

Customized Employment planning is distinct from many other planning approaches in that the issue of job development is discussed and detailed within the plan, rather than being handled simply through the relationships and contacts of a job developer. Information used during plan development is based on the information discovered by and with the applicant.

Features of Customized Planning:

  • The job seeker is fully involved in the planning process, decides who will participate, and directs their own blueprint for job development.
  • The plan should be developed with the job seeker's vision of their interests and career goals as the primary focus, as determined through exploration.
  • The focus is on the job seeker's preferences, talents, life experiences, and dreams, rather than their challenges or limitations.
  • Family, friends, and natural social networks serve as a secondary source of input, opinions, and support. The job seeker is always the primary source of information.
  • Concerns and complexities are considered solvable through negotiation and support, and must not become reasons to rule out career options.
  • The planning process always focuses on obtaining community-based, integrated employment that pays a competitive wage.

A Customized Blueprint for Employment

The Customized Employment plan results in a document that serves as a blueprint for the job search. It must:

  • Clearly represent the job seeker's talents and potential contributions, including a Task List.
  • Outline the applicant's strengths, needs, and interests as the basis of the "blueprint."
  • Identify specific employers to be contacted, including relationships and connections to those employers as well as their potential task needs.
  • Address the supports necessary to obtain and maintain employment.

This information can be presented to prospective employers as a proposal or portfolio of the job seeker's accomplishments and interests. It can also be included in the applicant's resume.

Customized Planning and Job Site Supports

One principle of Customized Employment is making employment supports available that are developed from the customized planning process and noted in the blueprint. Employment supports help the job seeker prepare for, get to, and be successful at work. The type of supports and the methods used to provide supports will be unique to each Customized Employment position and business.

When designing support strategies for Customized Employment, it is important to consider the following strategies:

  • Use what is already in the workplace.
  • Adapt what is in the workplace.
  • Supplement what is in the workplace.

Customized Employment Success Story

During the planning process, Maria stated her dream of working in the theater. Her personal representative found a theater company that hired expensive temporary personnel to meet seasonal work fluctuations. The personal representative negotiated the creation of an administrative clerk job that would float between departments, ending the need to hire temporary staff. This saved money for the company and gave the job seeker the opportunity to work in her area of interest.