QA_CustomEmploy.doc - Q and A on Employment Customized...

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Q and A on Employment: Customized Employment for People with Physical Disabilities Research has documented clearly that the employment rate of adults with disabilities is far lower than that of adults without disabilities. The U.S. Department of Labor (2012) reported that in 2011 the employment rate for individuals with disabilities was 17.8% compared to 63.6% without disabilities. Moreover, eight of ten individuals with disabilities were out of the labor force (i.e., not working and not seeking work) compared to three of ten among non-disabled adults. Findings from the American Community Survey show that respondents with disabilities reported a 33.4% employment rate across all disability categories; however, those with ambulatory disabilities reported a 24.3% employment rate, self-care disabilities 16.2%, and independent living 15.8% (Schur et al., 2009). Individuals with physical disabilities may not be able to perform all the essential functions associated with many existing job descriptions. Due to physical challenges and other barriers, they are left out of the labor market or left to settle for jobs that do not match their unique interests, skills, and abilities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013) reported that 80.5% of individuals with disabilities who reported barriers to employment indicated that their own disability is a barrier. One strategy that is showing promise to facilitate employment outcomes for individuals with physical disabilities is customized employment (CE). Virginia Commonwealth University's Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (VCU-RRTC) on Employment of People with Physical Disabilities is researching the impact of customized employment on the unemployment of individuals with physical disabilities. This Q and A Fact Sheet is one in a series on strategies designed to answer frequently asked questions on how to support individuals in achieving their employment goals. Question: What is customized employment? Answer: The Federal Register defines customized employment as a blending of services and supports. Customized employment may include --- job development or restructuring strategies that result in job responsibilities being customized and individually negotiated to fit the needs of individuals with a disability (Federal Register, June 26, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 123 pp. 43154- 43149). Customized employment is based on the match between the unique strengths, needs, and interests of the job candidate and the identified needs of the employer. CE starts with Discovery, which is the identification of the individual's needs, strengths, and interests. The next step is customized job development that includes negotiating a job with a business that matches the job seeker's needs, strengths, and interests leading to an employment proposal. After a job has been negotiated, individualized job site supports are provided as needed. A personal representative / employment specialist may assist in providing on-the-job training and facilitating supports in the workplace. Job site supports for individuals with physical disabilities may also include personal
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