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.
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:
Jaimie Timmons Jaimie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell us about new and creative state-level promising practices that increase access to integrated employment for individuals with I/DD!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vermont's Division of Disability and Aging Services (DDAS) and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) worked with a local service provider to convert its congregate day services to community employment.
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.
The Tennessee Employment Consortium (TEC) is a statewide organization focused on increasing the number of Tennesseans in integrated employment. The consortium comprises volunteers from the state's Division of Mental Retardation Services (DMRS) and Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS), the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities, the ARC of Tennessee, the Center on Disability and Employment at the University of Tennessee, community rehabilitation providers (CRPs), family members, and other stakeholders.
Wisconsin’s Developmental Disabilities Services agency and Vocational Rehabilitation agency, in conjunction with the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities and Wisconsin’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, implemented a series of community conversations to build dialogue and create a coalition around employment for youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Through this initiative, a range of community members came together in structured forums to discuss ways to improve integrated employment outcomes for youth.