RRTC on Advancing Employment

This project is home to research, training, and outreach activities that promote employment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Browse all our publications below, or click on the activities links under numbers 1–4.

We are funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research in the Administration for Community Living in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The RRTC is a project of the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Activities supported by the RRTC include:

(1) Choosing Work: Effective Knowledge Translation and Support for Individuals and Families

The goal of this line of research is to create a comprehensive information, outreach, and support framework for individuals and families that enables ready and timely access to information about employment throughout the lifespan. Research activities include a scoping literature review, online and in-person focus groups with individuals with IDD and their family members, and the development and testing of an intervention that promotes individual and family engagement in employment planning.

Contact: John Kramer (john.kramer@umb.edu)

Find presentations and publications from this project here...

(2) Increasing the Effectiveness of Employment Consultants

This work will define a model for employment support that incorporates research, practice, job seeker support needs, organizational culture, and personal resources. Project partners and staff will implement an intervention to improve the quality of services provided by employment consultants through online training, data-based performance feedback, and facilitated peer-to-peer support.

Contact: Alberto Migliore (alberto.migliore@umb.edu)

Find presentations and publications from this project here...

(3) Building Capacity and Supporting Organizational Transformation for Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs)

Project staff will develop a model framework and toolkit to support community rehabilitation providers in implementing an Employment First focus. The demonstration of an efficient, scalable strategy that enables CRPs to create change within their own organizations is a key feature of this research.

Contact: Jaimie Timmons (jaimie.timmons@umb.edu)

Find presentations and publications from this project here...

(4) Policies and Practices of High-Performing State Employment Systems

This research strand will define the characteristics of a high-performing state system that promotes cross-agency and resource integration. The strand will also identify effective state practices and policies that lead to employment outcomes, and will and describe Employment First policy implementation and outcomes at both the national and state level.

Contact: Allison Hall (allison.hall@umb.edu)

Find presentations and publications from this project here...

Project Team

John Butterworth, Principal Investigator: john.butterworth@umb.edu

Allison Hall, Co-Principal Investigator and Project Director; Lead, Policy Strand: allison.hall@umb.edu

Cindy Thomas, Training and Technical Assistance Director: cindy.thomas@umb.edu

John Kramer, Lead, Individuals and Families Strand: john.kramer@umb.edu

Alberto Migliore, Lead, Employment Consultant Strand: alberto.migliore@umb.edu

Jaimie Timmons, Lead, Community Rehabilitation Provider Strand: Jaimie.timmons@umb.edu



Organizational Transformation: From Workshops to Community Employment

Employment Support Professionals: Leaders for Change

Does All Mean All? Culturally Diverse Families and Access to Services

Financial Well-Being: Reframing the Conversation

Informed Choice and Employment First: What Does It Really Mean?

"44" SeriesOur webinar series takes a fresh look at issues and opportunities around employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). That’s why we call it "New Conversations About Integrated Employment." These webinars encourage creative thinking, and provoke reactions. Each conversation brings an original perspective to topics around IDD and employment. 



RRTC Fact Sheet

Bringing Employment First to Scale: Integrating Research, Training, and Knowledge Translation

Bringing Employment First to Scale: CRP Organizational Change

Bringing Employment First to Scale: Policy and State-level Strategies to Promote Employment

Bringing Employment First to Scale: Achieving Best Practice in Employment Supports

Bringing Employment First to Scale: Knowledge Translation for Individuals and Families

Bringing Employment First to Scale: Who are Employment Consultants? Characteristics of the workforce that connects jobseekers with intellectual and developmental disabilities to employment

The Truth Comes From Us: Supporting Workers with Developmental Disabilities

Bringing Employment First to Scale: Organizational Transformation: Guiding Principles for Community Providers

ringing Employment First to Scale: From Sheltered Work to Competitive Integrated Employment

Project Partners

The Arc of the United States

Research and Training Center on Community living at the University of Minnesota

National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services

Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE)

APSE (the Association of People Supporting Employment First)

A Purpose in Life: Why Employment First Matters to Self-Advocates

Self-advocates with intellectual disabilities describe Employment First efforts in their states, and why those efforts are important.

Quick summary:

Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered asked leaders in the self-advocacy movement to describe the impact of Employment First in their states. The authors spoke with 21 peer leaders across the country and asked, “What does Employment First mean?”

Download here

Key findings and quotes

Beyond Training: Engaging Families in the Transition to Employment

Read the brief here. We conducted an extended search of trainings provided by state agencies and service providers that are targeted towards families. Trainings in the form of written material (handbooks, brochures and computer-based courses) or given in person by service professionals, peers and others have been found to raise expectations that family members with IDD can become employed in their communities.

Delivering the most effective employment supports: Organizational design and capacity building

Download the brief here. This brief aims to share information learned from two studies: 1) interviews with employment consultants; and 2) a Delphi process to determine what characteristics are most critical for organizational transformation from facility-based to community-based integrated employment for people with IDD. The relationship between study findings will be explored and a relational model will be introduced.