Promising Practices by State Agencies

This page is meant to spread the word and spark the imagination as integrated employment opportunities are expanding for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities. It is designed to increase communication and broaden perceptions about how it is possible to improve employment outcomes at the system level.

We are always looking for new state agency promising practices!

If you know of innovative initiatives, policies, strategies or activities occurring at your state’s ID/DD agency, and you would like to nominate your story, please contact:

Jean Winsor

Tell us about new and creative state-level promising practices that increase access to integrated employment for individuals with I/DD!

Click here to return to Access to Integrated Employment's homepage.

Below are all of our State Agency Promising Practices for browsing. You can also find specific stories by theme by clicking on the following links:

  • Implementation of priority policy goals - State ID/DD agency’s regulations, mission or goal statements around employment for both youth and adults and activities related to the achievement of those goals.
  • Agency organization and operation - Practices or policies around the state ID/DD agency organizational structure (such as new departments, committees, or regional/local re-organization) with respect to the provision of employment for youth and adults with IDD.
  • Funding and service contracting - Innovative and/or effective funding mechanisms, including development of rates, use of blended or braided funding, or use of funding incentives for providers or transition staff who are successful in helping youth and adults with IDD find and maintain employment.
  • Training and technical assistance- Formal training supported by IDD state agencies to help increase the use of innovative employment techniques for employment support providers as well as school-based personnel.
  • Collaboration- Practices that encourage formal and informal interagency relationships with the full range of state agencies (VR, DOE, MH) that more holistically support youth and adults with IDD in employment and emphasize seamlessness from youth to adult services.
  • Performance measurement and quality assurance - Use of individual and provider level outcome data to assess progress and communicate the importance of employment for youth and adults with IDD.
  • Communication- Practices that exemplify shared, multi-level, multi-stakeholder communication as the norm, as well as timely and appropriate communication of core organizational values and message. Communication involves the engagement of all IDD agency constituents including families, employers, and other community or state level organizations.
  • Transition


Texas’s Vocational Apprenticeship Program: Moving Adults into Integrated Employment through Training in Transferable, Marketable Skills

This promising practice describes how the Texas Department of Health and Human Services has developed the Vocational Apprenticeship Program (VAP) as a statewide initiative to support the development of transferable and marketable employment skills in working-age adults.

Ohio’s Technology First Policy: Enabling Swift Delivery of Remote Supports During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Ohio’s Technology First policy ensured that people eligible for services through Department of Developmental Disabilities had increased opportunities to live, work, and thrive in their homes and communities during the Covid-19 pandemic through state-of-the-art planning, innovative technology and supports.

Collaborating to Promote Self-Employment for People with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities in Maryland

Self-employment has emerged as a viable option for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD). To meet increased self-employment demands, Maryland's Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA), in collaboration with the Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS), adapted services offered through the Reach Independence through Self Employment (RISE) program. The RISE program, funded by DORS, provides technical assistance and financial support to people starting their own businesses.

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

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.

Collaborating with a Community College and a Supported-Employment Agency to Facilitate the Transition From High School to Community Employment in Washington

Beginning in 2006, the Shoreline Public School District in King County, Washington partnered with Shoreline Community College to offer an off-campus transition program for young adults with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) residing in the Shoreline School District. While participants are still in high school, the Community Based Transition Program offers a structured transitional step between their traditional day and post-secondary education as well as employment in the community.

Using Employment Data to Create Area-specific Employment Goals in Massachusetts

In 2002, the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS) developed a contractual requirement that employment service provider performance be tracked through outcome measures. As a result, DDS shaped its employment data collection system to focus on what it viewed as key outcomes for measuring success around employment.

New Hampshire’s Employment Data Collection: The Power to Transform Communication, Partnership, and Service Delivery

In 2010, when the New Hampshire Bureau of Developmental Services (BDS) received grant funds to strengthen multisystem service delivery, its administrators partnered with area agencies; community rehabilitation providers, or CRPs (employment providers); and other stakeholders to improve and streamline the process of collecting employment data. Originally a multi-system process, BDS continued the data-collection effort when other systems withdrew.

Working Together: Collaboration between Colorado’s Developmental Disabilities Division and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

In Colorado, counselors from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation are housed on-site in Community Centered Board offices so they can provide direct services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD). The goal of the project was to serve 240 customers with ID/DD and provide 134 successful employment outcomes over a two-year period. Streamlined services and enhanced communication emerged through a unique collaborative effort between the two entities.

Delaware’s Early Start to Supported Employment Pilot Project

The Early Start to Supported Employment (ESSE) pilot started in 2005 with the goal of providing a more seamless transition for students who would benefit from supported employment services when leaving school and entering the adult workforce. An interagency project team was established to guide the pilot work and ensure all required parties knew their role and shared information and equal responsibility within the project.