This study provides an in-depth analysis on the concept of informed choice and how making informed choices can contribute to improved employment outcomes. This study will explore the legal and policy context for fostering informed choice for all individuals, and the impacts of systemic initiatives furthering meaningful informed choice.
Making decisions is not just about our skills. It is essential to take a close look at the amount and variety of opportunities being presented to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Always ask, “Are these the same possibilities available to people without disabilities?” The system is eager to measure our capacity. We recommend focusing on assessing the ability of teachers and support staff to be effective communicators and providers of reasonable accommodations. A person’s capacity to teach as well as learn is fluid and changes all the time.
A key concern for policy and practice is how choice is supported for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD). The National Core Indicators (NCI)* collects data on employment status, including whether individuals are working in a paid job in the community, as well as each person’s interest in doing so. This DataNote focuses on interest in working in paid jobs in the community for individuals who are not currently working.
Arizona’s working-age population (ages 16–64) of people with any type of disability (10.2%) who are working hovers around the national average (Erickson, Lee, & von Schrader, 2019). In addition, individuals with a disability in Arizona, as in the nation as a whole, are more likely to live in poverty (30.5% and 26.1% respectively).
Data show that people with disabilities are consistently less likely to be working than their non-disabled counterparts. In this Data Note, the employment rate for working-age people is compared across disability types, as well as those without disabilities.
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There is a long-standing pattern of black/white racial disparity in employment in the general U.S. population. This Data Note explores whether this racial employment disparity, that characterizes the general population, is also found in the employment outcomes of people with intellectual disability
(ID) who receive services from the vocational rehabilitation (VR) system.
At the beginning of the transformation process, Penn-Mar recognized the importance of robust strategic planning to understand what the organization needed to do differently to transform. Therefore, Penn-Mar created the 2020 Strategic Plan, a 5-year plan to help focus the organization, and to strategize about how to achieve their objectives. The 2020 Strategic Plan outlines Penn-Mar’s goal to close its
Leadership at Work Inc., a provider in the Boston area, thought about the holistic approach to providing individual supports even before their agency’s transformation began. Work Inc. designed its community liaisons program to have three components: volunteerism, with the intention of identifying employment opportunities and contributing to the community; recreation, “because everyone wants to have fun”; and instruction, with a focus on skill-building and identifying interests and talents. In designing and implementing the program, Work Inc.
The Arc of Westchester was established in in New York State in 1949 as a day school for children with developmental disabilities. It has since grown to over 800 hundred employees serving over 2000 individuals throughout Westchester county supporting children, teens, and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The organization’s vision is a world where the population that they serve enjoy fulfilled lives and an inspired future while the mission focuses on strengthening families and encouraging personal choices, abilities and interests.
The Arc of Westchester benefits from an agency culture that values innovative partnerships. In fact, an agency leader explained that the organization “will work with anybody who is willing to sit and talk.” This collaborative spirit led to a creative endeavor with Mercy College, a four-year school offering degrees in Business, Education, Liberal Arts, Health and Natural Sciences, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Within Health and Natural Sciences are departments such as nursing, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and nutrition.