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

Resources

Webinars

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. 

 

Publications

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

B
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)

Families and Employment of People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Results from a Scoping Study

Download the article here. Purpose: Recent policy changes expanding community employment for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) and awareness of the important role of family members as facilitators of these opportunities motivated this scoping review of the literature on family engagement with the IDD service system.

A Model of Employment Supports for Job Seekers with Intellectual Disabilities

Interviews with 16 employment consultants-triangulated with job seekers, family members, and supervisors-revealed a model of employment supports aligned with the elements described in the literature, although with an added emphasis on (a) building trust as a key element starting from day one; (b) a circular process converging on the job match; (c) and flexible intensity of supports.

Research to Practice: State Employment First Policies: State Definitions, Goals and Values

This brief is the first in a series focusing on Employment First implementation as it relates to one of the seven elements within the High-Performing States in Integrated Employment model. It examines the background of circumstances under which Employment First efforts began in seven states, and introduces each state’s values, mission, and goals around increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. States may use the lessons in this brief to develop an Employment First policy, or to evolve existing efforts.

Building an Evidence-Based, Holistic Approach to Advancing Integrated Employment

Since the introduction of supported employment in the Developmental Disabilities Act of 1984 and the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1986, there has been continued development and refinement of best practices in employment services and supports. Progress includes creative outcomes for individuals with significant support needs including customized jobs and self-employment, community rehabilitation providers that have shifted emphasis to integrated employment, and states that have made a substantial investment in Employment First policy and strategy.

Multi-System Collaboration: Supporting Individuals from Pre-employment Through Employment and Community Engagement Across the Life Course

In concert with the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Massachusetts Boston, the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) identified potential topical areas for policy white papers that influence employment outcomes and services for individuals served by state intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) agencies. This is the third white paper in a series of five.

Download the brief here...

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