Employment for people with severe disabilities was legitimized in P.L. 99457. However, some states have made more progress than others in helping individuals with disabilities achieve successful employment outcomes. This is the first in a series of publications highlighting the findings from the case studies in three states--New Hampshire, Washington, and Colorado--that have been recognized as high performers in integrated employment.
Performance measurement and data
A popular saying in our field is, "If it gets measured, it gets done." Measuring performance--whether of staff members or of employment outcomes--is crucial for understanding what we're doing well, where we're lacking, and how we can improve. Explore this topic in the resources below.
Between 1988 and 2001, New Hampshire's Division of Developmental Services transformed the state's day and employment services from a facility-based model, with 61% of individuals supported in sheltered workshops or facility- based day habilitation programs, to an inclusion model that supports 94% of its individuals in the community. Fifty- four percent of the individuals served work for at least part of their week in integrated employment.Two things are striking.
Between 1988 and 1996, the number of individuals supported by state mental retardation/developmental disabilities (MR/DD) agencies who participated in some type of community employment increased by 200% (Butterworth, Gilmore, Kiernan, Schalock, 1999). Despite this increase, many agree that outcomes in community employment are in great need of improvement and vary widely among states. The purpose of this report is to highlight the successful practices of states that have been identified as "high-performers" in integrated employment for people served by state MR/DD agencies.
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. A confluence of factors including participation in the National Core Indicator project, a new Request for Responses (RFR) for
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.
At the national level, integrated employment has become an important policy priority. Greater expectations are being placed on those charged with delivering employment supports, and disability systems are responding. However, the promise of integrated employment has yet to be realized for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
Work Inc. is a medium-sized CRP in Massachusetts that has served people with IDD for the last 32 years. Over the last 15 years, since Work Inc. began tracking employment services data, its approach to employment supports in the community has evolved. The agency’s data- tracking methods have both guided and developed alongside this change process.
The increasing emphasis on government accountability at the state and federal levels has increased interest in and use of outcome data. Moreover, research has found that high performing states in integrated employment generally have a clear and visible data collection system that provides individual outcome data (Hall et al, 2007). But what are the most important elements in designing and using a system?
As evidence of the positive outcomes associated with integrated employment develops it is important to identify policy and practices at the state level that expand access to employment opportunity. This brief presents findings from Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) case study research focused on state agencies that support individuals with developmental disabilities.
The past twenty years have seen an increasing emphasis on community-based services and equal access to employment for all individuals, including those with the most significant disabilities. The question is, to what extent have changes in philosophy translated into changes for state agencies and the people they serve?