Employment Opportunities and Supports
All individuals with disabilities who want to work should be supported to achieve their goals. Through work, people can earn wages, increase their independence, gain self-confidence and develop relationships in their community. Individuals with developmental disabilities work in all types of community businesses including, but not limited to: banking, education, technology, health care, hospitality, food service, retail, not-for-profit corporations and government.
OPWDD offers several employment programs to assist individuals with varying support needs. All employment services provide employment staff or “job coaches” to assist individuals with the goal of integrated community employment. Job coaches:
- Use person centered planning to help identify strengths, skills and interests
- Develop employment opportunities to match the right person with the right job
- Help with creating a resume and preparing for job interviews
- Assist with transportation needs
- Will often accompany applicants to the interview
- Help with learning the job duties and the work environment
- Provide ongoing assistance through periodic worksite visits
- Help out when job duties change
- Assist with social interactions on the job
- Can help individuals increase their hours or secure a new job
Enhanced Supported Employment Pilot Project (ESEMP)
ESEMP is a five year pilot project designed to demonstrate that motivated individuals who may need high levels of support can successfully work in regular jobs in the community. Enhanced services may include person-centered vocational planning, customized job development, individualized job coaching, travel training and transportation assistance, behavioral interventions and supports, personal assistance and other supports customized to the individual’s needs. This pilot is currently funded through 2014.
Employment Training Program (ETP)
ETP offers individuals an opportunity to work in an internship that will lead to permanent employment in a community business. During the internship, wages will be paid by through ETP while the individual learns the skills needed for the job. ETP participants also attend job readiness classes that present topics such as conflict resolution and how to dress for work. ETP services include increased job development and job coaching as well as assistance with other employability skills.
Supported Employment (SEMP)
SEMP provides the supports individuals need to obtain and maintain paid competitive jobs in the community. Individuals with developmental disabilities will typically transition to SEMP after they have received supported employment services funded by the NYS Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) and require limited job coaching to successfully maintain their employment. Individuals also come to supported employment from programs that offer intensive training such as ESEMP and ETP.
Prevocational services provide the opportunity for individuals to participate in general training activities to build on their strengths and overcome barriers to employment. These services assist individuals who want to work, but who need extra help to develop the skills needed to be successful in the workplace.
For more information about employment opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities, contact OPWDD’s Division for Person Centered Supports at (518) 473-9697. Information is also available through OPWDD’s toll free Information Line at (866) 946-9733 voice, or (866) 933-4889 TTY; and OPWDD’s regional DDROs.
Download our brochure - Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities.