Career planning

Most of us don't just want a job. We want a fulfilling career. This is also true for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Explore the links below to learn how professionals and agencies are supporting people with IDD to build robust careers.

Choosing Employment: Factors that Impact Employment Decisions for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

Little is known about the factors that shape the employment-related decisions of individuals with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (ID/DD). This article presents findings from qualitative interviews with individuals with ID/DD, their family members and employment-support professionals from four Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) throughout Massachusetts. Recognizing the value of participatory action research, this study also included a co-researcher with ID/DD who participated in all facets of the research process.

Supporting Employment Choices: Lessons Learned

Little is known about the factors that influence employment-related choice-making for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). As a result, research staff from the Institute for Community Inclusion interviewed 16 individuals with IDD at four community rehabilitation providers (CRPs) throughout Massachusetts, along with their family members and employment professionals.

Massachusetts: Using a Collaborative, Person-Centered Approach to Facilitate Community Employment

The Northeast Region Supported Employment Project was developed by the North Shore area office of the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services in 2007. This pilot program, open to any individual with ID/DD who wanted to work, emphasized a person- centered planning approach to achieving the individuals' goals for employment in the community. The project emphasized the individual's choice of employment providers, collaboration with the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC), and use of an independent facilitator to support career and life planning.

Job Squad Inc: A Blog That Conveys the Importance of Community Employment

Job Squad is a medium-sized CRP that provides services to individuals in 13 counties within West Virginia. In 2005, responding to customer demands, executive director Brenda Hellwig and her staff received training from Griffin-Hammis Associates to offer community employment services. A staff member proposed the idea for the blog as one way to update Job Squad’s website and promote community employment to stakeholders, including potential employers. As a collection of articles, tools and strategies, the blog provides valuable information for people in West Virginia and beyond.

LaunchAbility Academy Training Program: On-Site Training to Improve Employment Outcomes

LaunchAbility is a CRP that serves people with IDD in several locations throughout North Texas. LaunchAbility’s employment services program offers placement exclusively in the community.

The LaunchAbility Academy Training Program was established in collaboration with the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) as a way to engage employers and prepare job seekers for employment. 

The Power of Friendship

Friendship is important for all of us! This includes people with and without disabilities. People often feel better and happier when they have friends. As part of a research project about the choices people with disabilities make about work, we interviewed 16 people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD). These people also chose family members and professional staff people for us to interview. We asked them how they made decisions about working and making friends.