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Customized Employment: Employment Development Representation

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This post is the final of four posts that will go into more detail about the essential elements of customized employment.

One of the later stages of customized employment is job development representation. During this process, an employment specialist meets with employers on behalf of the job seeker. The goal is to team up with an employer who is open to the idea of person-centered hiring rather than position-centered hiring and to match their unmet workplace needs to job-seeker skills. This often requires educating the employer.

Employers are used to posting jobs where the duties are predetermined, and candidates compete against each other to win the position. Information – rather than competition – is the basis of customized employment. The employment specialist can help the employer re-think how they’ve always done things and team up to create a position that identifies what the employer needs to have done – and match that information to the profile of the job seeker.

It is often effective for the employment specialist to prepare a presentation that not only shares the customized employment perspective with the employer, but also introduces the job seeker. The presentation focuses on how a job seeker’s strengths and abilities may be a good fit for the unmet needs of the employer. Together, the employment specialist and the employer can work together to identify tasks that aren’t getting done – and create a specialized position that benefits both the employer and the job seeker.

Along with this introduction, the employment specialist negotiates on behalf of the job seeker. This can include salary, work hours, and any on-the-job supports the job seeker may need to be successful. With their explicit permission, “positive disclosure” of the job seeker’s situation can help employers understand the reasons for customized employment and help the job seeker be successful in their position.

Essential Elements of Customized Employment (pdf)

More about this resource:

The Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center (WINTAC) and the Youth Technical Assistance Center (Y-TAC) are national technical assistance centers funded by the Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to provide technical assistance and training to state vocational rehabilitation agencies and their partners. The WINTAC and Y-TAC entered into a partnership with Griffin-Hammis Associates, TransCen, Inc., Marc Gold & Associates, and Virginia Commonwealth University to develop a document to identify the essential elements of customized employment (CE) as a guide for the universal application of these elements across service delivery and training providers.

This effort began in response to attempts by VR agencies and other core partners in the workforce development system to effectively achieve competitive integrated employment for individuals with barriers to employment, especially individuals with significant disabilities, as stressed throughout the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the Rehabilitation Act as amended. Representatives from the Department of Labor’s Office on Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and RSA have reviewed and approved the content of this Essential Elements document.

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