At the beginning of their transformation process, service provider AtWork! did not have a training structure in place. Recognizing that job development required a different skill set for their staff, AtWork!
Staff training and development
What are some of the best ways to train staff who support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities? You'll find a variety of approaches and suggestions for staff training and development in the resources below.
Download full brief here or read on for summary. To synthesize our findings to date, the ThinkWork team at ICI developed 3 draft papers that captured the core themes from our RRTC on Advancing Employment for Individuals with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (IDD). We asked experts in the field to weigh in on these papers, and then broadly disseminated the papers to multiple audiences.
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.
Effective supervision of employees with intellectual or developmental disabilities can be challenging for businesses that may not have experience in hiring people with diverse support requirements. This is largely due to the relatively low participation rates of people with disabilities in the workforce. This is, thankfully, changing as more businesses are seeing the value of diversifying their workforce, which includes hiring people with diverse cognitive abilities like people with intellectual or developmental 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.
Interviews with employment consultants reveal 5 key elements for supporting job seekers with disabilities. This brief describes 5 key elements for supporting job seekers with intellectual and developmental disabilities in finding individual paid employment:
Expanding participation in integrated employment is a key goal for both state agencies and individual community rehabilitation providers. The Training and Technical Assistance for Providers project, or T-TAP, was funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy to identify strategies that support movement from facility based services, and in particular employment at less than the minimum wage Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), to customized employment in integrated community settings.
Headquartered in a small rural town in northern Maine, Katahdin Friends, Inc. (KFI) provides community employment and life engagement supports, as well as home supports, to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). A flexible approach to staffing and support scheduling helps KFI ensure customized daily support schedules that meet individual goals. This approach also allows individuals to interact with a variety of direct support professionals, which is important for having a more engaged and meaningful life in the community.
SEEC (Seeking Equality, Empowerment, and Community) is a Maryland-based provider of employment, community living, and community development supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Because SEEC has no central facility, having ways to maintain contact between staff and management is paramount. From prepaid cell phones in 2005 to outfitting every staff member with a tablet or a laptop today, SEEC has embraced mobile communication since it started its conversion.