Developmental Disability - Services and Support - Employment Support

Employment Support

Employment support usually consists of two types of support:

  • Support to access or participate in integrated employment, in a workplace in the general community. This may include specific programs to increase the skills needed for successful employment (work preparation), one-to-one or small group support for on-the-job training, or one-to-one or small group support after a transition period (such as advocacy when dealing with an employer or a bullying colleague, or assistance to complete an application for a promotion).
  • The provision of specific employment opportunities within segregated business services. Although these are designed as "transitional" services (teaching work skills needed to move into integrated employment), many people remain in such services for the duration of their working life. The types of work performed in business services include mailing and packaging services, cleaning, gardening and landscaping, timberwork, metal fabrication, farming and sewing.

Workers with developmental disabilities have historically been paid less for their labor than those in the general workforce, although this is gradually changing with government initiatives, the enforcement of anti-discrimination legislation and changes in perceptions of capability in the general community.

In the United States, a variety of initiatives have been launched in the past decade to reduce unemployment among workers with disabilities—estimated by researchers at over 60%. Most of these initiatives are directed at employment in mainstream businesses. They include heightened placement efforts by the community agencies serving people with developmental disabilities, as well as by government agencies.

Additionally, state-level initiatives are being put launched to increase employment among workers with disabilities. In California, the state senate in 2009 created the Senate Select Committee on Autism and Related Disorders. The Committee has been examining additions to existing community employment services, and also new employment approaches. Committee member Dr. Lou Vismara, chairman of the MIND Institute at University of California, Davis, is pursuing the development of a planned community for persons with autism and related disorders in the Sacramento region. Another committee member, Michael Bernick, the former director of the state labor department, has established a program at the California state university system, starting at California State University East Bay, to support students with autism on the college level. Other Committee efforts include mutual support employment efforts, such as disability job networks, job boards, and identifying business lines that build on the strengths of persons with disabilities.

Read more about this topic:  Developmental Disability, Services and Support

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