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The customized employment process is a flexible blend of strategies, services, and supports designed to increase employment options for individuals with disabilities.  It may include employment developed through job carving, self-employment or entrepreneurial initiatives, or job development or restructuring strategies that result in job responsibilities being customized and individually negotiated to fit the needs of individuals with a disability.

Customized Employment starts with identifying the interests, abilities, and goals of an individual in order to discover his or her potential contributions. The individual seeking employment is the primary source of information and drives the process.  The process uses an exploration and discovery phase that lays the foundation for employment planning.  Planning results in a map for the job search or for self-employment.  Employment relationships areas negotiated to meet the needs of both the job seeker and the employer.

Time spent engaging with the job seeker to explore his or her unique needs, abilities, interests, and complexities is essential to establishing successful employment. Unlike traditional testing or standardized assessment, Customized Employment allows the job seeker to control the explorations process and captures information on the preferences, personal networks, and connections in the community.  The job seeker selects friends, family, and colleagues to participate in the exploration phase so that they can share positive perspectives and connections to potential employment opportunities. Exploration/discovery arms the job seekers with experience and information to make decisions about employment goals and potential employers to approach if not choosing self-employment.

Information gathered from the exploration/discovery process is the foundation for Customized Employment planning. The Customized Employment planning process should result in a map for the job search.  Numerous tools, including profiles and portfolios, are used to capture, organize, and represent the information collected during the exploration/discovery process.

An essential element in Customized Employment is negotiating job duties and employee expectations to align the skills and interests of a job seeker to the needs of an employer. This negotiation results in a job description that outlines a customized relationship, or agreement, between employer and employee. Options for customizing a job description include job carving, negotiating a new job description, job creation, and job sharing.  Other points of potential negotiation include job supports, the hours of location of the job, or specifics of supervision.

Assist and support individuals to own their own business taking self-determination in employment one step further.



The process may include determining the appropriate work situation, job interview assistance, education of employers on employment of individuals with disability, and one-on-one job support.

Work with individuals and employers to develop community jobs.

Support training and problem solving issues related to job expectations.

Provide ongoing employment support and advocacy through periodic visits to the employment site following initial job training and fading of one-on-one support.


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