The Council believes people with developmental disabilities deserve the opportunity to contribute their productivity in their communities. The Council’s initiatives include programs which promote people with developmental disabilities acquiring and maintaining competitive integrated individualized employment consistent with their abilities and interests.
“In my office, we’re practicing what we preach.” – Governor Edwards. Governor John Bel Edwards and Council Chair April Dunn encourage employers to diversify the workplace by hiring people with disabilities. Click here to watch.
Employment Advocacy Initiatives
The Council supports changes in public policy and practice which result in an increase in the number people with developmental disabilities in competitive, integrated, individualized employment. Two major items the Council is currently advocating are the implementation of policy and practice consistent with Employment First and for competency-based certification of employment support professionals with recognized skills sets demonstrated to be effective in supporting people with disabilities getting and maintaining employment.
Customized employment training and competency-based certification mentoring
The Certification program provides intensive three-day training and five-month mentoring to provide skills consistent with the “Essential Elements of Customized Employment for Universal Application” as published by the Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center (WINTAC) June 2017. Candidates must demonstrate competency on skills to a Mentor before being certified in each of the three areas: Discovery, Job Development, and Systematic Instruction.
CUSTOMIZED EMPLOYMENT TRAINING
These one-day trainings are provided as a follow-up to the Council’s Employment Conference. The trainings give providers with little experience in Customized Employment basic information on what is involved in Customized Employment.
SUPPORT FAMILIES FOR EMPLOYMENT
Through the Council’s Support Families for Employment initiative families whose loved ones have transitioned from sheltered workshops to competitive, integrated jobs in the community will support other families and individuals with disabilities looking to do the same.
Paid Apprenticeship Model Project
The Council collaborated with its Developmental Disability Network partner, the LSU Health Human Development Center, the state’s University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) on the initial developmental phase of the Paid Apprenticeship Model Project. The project was fully implemented by the HDC the following year to provide apprenticeships to students with developmental disabilities.
Employment Provider Mentoring Program
The Council partnered with the Human Development Center (HDC) on the Employment Provider Mentoring Program. The Program provided a competency-based training and mentoring program for employment support providers in the form of 508 mentoring hours to 27 employment support professionals assisting 113 job seekers with a developmental disabilities.
Employment Outreach Program
The Council’s TV and radio media campaign educates employers, individuals with disabilities, family members and provider agencies about the benefits of having people with developmental disabilities as part of the community-based workforce.
The Employment Consortium
The Council partnered with the HDC on the Employment Consortium which facilitated employment trainings to build the capacity of employment provider agencies to support individuals with developmental disabilities in finding community employment. The development and dissemination of a Supported Employment Training curriculum highlighted effective strategies for supporting individuals with complex support needs to identify career aspirations and to obtain and maintain community employment.
Buddies at Work
The Buddies-At-Work project was a statewide public awareness campaign that promoted an understanding of the abilities of people with developmental disabilities in occupational, educational and recreational settings.
The Employment Mentoring project will develop, implement, and evaluate a training and mentoring approach that will result in Employment Support Professionals (ESPs) demonstrating competencies in skills which lead to employment outcomes for job seekers with developmental disabilities including those with the most intense support needs in acquiring and maintaining community-based competitive employment. The project will work with participating Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) to enhance their operations and participating Employment Support Professionals (ESPs) to improve their competencies in the area of supported employment and successful completion of the national Certified Employment Support Professional (CESP) exam.
An Employment Study researched services and policies to identify barriers for people with developmental disabilities accessing and maintaining integrated, competitive, community-based employment. Recommendations from the study helps guide the Council in developing its employment agenda for systems change.
Competitive Employment Educational Campaign
The Council collaborated with the HDC on the Competitive Employment Educational Campaign provided information on employment to individuals and their family members to emphasize the benefits of competitive employment instead of congregate work settings and dispel fears and reduce barriers of employment for persons with disabilities.