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Inroads to Employment

The NC Council on Developmental Disabilities has a long history of exploring and supporting efforts to expand the range of employment choices for individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities (I/DD).  This RFA aims to expand on, and create new paid apprenticeships for individuals with I/DD, leading to integrated, competitive employment and career opportunities.

Why is NCCDD funding this initiative?Goal1

Employment disparities have long been researched, tracked, and documented between individuals living with disabilities and individuals living without disabilities. Per the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, people living with significant disabilities continue to report high unemployment rates. Specifically, the number of workers living with significant disabilities in the labor force is about one-third of the number of workers living without disabilities. In 2011, The Arc conducted an online national Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports (FINDS) Survey.[1] Data gathered in that survey showed 15% of the 5,000 respondents reported their family member living with an intellectual and other developmental disability were employed.

As highlighted in the NCCDD Five-Year Plan, such national disparities in employment accurately reflect the disparities in employment observed in North Carolina among persons living with and without disabilities.[2] Similarly, data noted in the NCCDD Five-Year Plan, and in an October 2015 report prepared by Butterworth and Migliore, demonstrate that young people living with intellectual and other developmental disabilities have employment rates that are even more disconcerting. Butterworth and Migliore’s report summarizes data from two groups. Their summary report data shows that in 2013 the number of individuals ages 16-21, employed, living without a disability in North Carolina was 38%, compared to those living with a disability at 17%; and for individuals living with a cognitive disability, their rate was even lower at 15%. For those ages 22-30 in North Carolina, the employment rate for individuals living without a disability was 74%, compared to individuals in that same age range living with a disability at 41%; and for those living with a cognitive disability, their employment rate was even lower at 32%.[3]

Such disparities remain consistent and despite various efforts, there is a struggle to approach parity. In some states, the disparity is nearly double.[4] This RFA will expand innovative approaches for on-the-job training, as well as community, service provider, and business partnerships to address the systemic barriers to employment people living with I/DD confront when seeking employment. This RFA will target employment for individuals 16 to 21, and individuals 22 to 30 living in North Carolina. This RFA will also focus on the transition to work after graduation.

[1] The Arc of the US (2011). Still in the Shadows with Their Future Uncertain: A Report on Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports (FINDS). Retrieved from The Arc of the US Website: http://www.thearc.org/FINDS
[2] NC Council on Developmental Disabilities (2016). Five Year State Plan 2017 – 2021. https://nccdd.org/images/article/Forms-docs-brochures/2015/Five_Year_Plan/Report-2016-08-16-1634R.pdf
[3] Butterworth J. and Migliore A. (2015). Trends in Employment Outcomes of Young Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 2006-2013. Special Report published by Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston. Retrieved from https://www.statedata.info/sites/statedata.info/files/files/Transition_Report_2015.pdf
[4] Butterworth J. and Migliore A. (2015).

  • The Office of Disability Employment Policy indicates the employment rate for youth with disabilities is significantly less than youth without disabilities (60 - 70 % less).
  • Work-based learning promotes problem solving and adult thinking.
  • Young people with disabilities have limited access to many of the venues for teens such as sports, clubs or after school jobs that build employment skills.
  • This initiative supports NCCDD's Goal 1 of the new Five Year Plan: Increase financial security through asset development for individuals with I/DD.

What are the major goals and objectives?

  • Establish three registered apprenticeships.
  • Expand Workforce options for youth ages 14-21 through Pre-Employment Transition Services through collaborative efforts between two local public-school systems and North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services.
  • Improve employment prospects and job search skills for post-secondary students living with IDD through mentorship program and the development of stronger linkages between career services and disability services offices.
  • Demonstrate the impact of post-secondary career mentoring programs that connect local business professionals with current post-secondary students living with I/DD.

What has taken place since the start of the program? (Activities)

  • Expanding Register Apprenticeships as employment options for people living with I/DD in North Carolina.
  • Leveraging Pre-Employment Transition Services funding through facilitation of local public school and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services partnerships.
  • Stronger collaborations between career and disability supports offices, and development of mentorship opportunities with business leaders to facilitate higher employment placement rates for postsecondary students living with IDD.

What has been achieved to date?

  • Ongoing development of registered apprenticeships for feeding assistants, hydroponic agriculture, and I/DD peer mentorship.
  • Framework being established for possible apprenticeship in health care and furniture manufacturing through partnership with Catawba Valley Technical Community College.
  • Feeding assistant/pre-apprenticeship presentation will be featured in the State’s LeadingAge Conference in May 2018 in Asheville.
  • Meetings have also taken place to discuss developing a mentoring program to align career services with disability services at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College in
  • Asheville.Currently awaiting approval of Cleveland County Schools proposal for pre-employment transition services.  Upon approval the North Carolina Business Leadership Network (NCBLN) will continue to provide technical support.

How can I get involved?

Contact Travis Williams, Systems Change Manager, travis.williams@dhhs.nc.gov for more information on becoming involved in one or more of the above elements.

Who can I contact for questions?

Employment Services Coordinator: Patricia K. Keul, patkeul@yahoo.com
NCCDD: Travis Williams, Systems Change Manager, travis.williams@dhhs.nc.gov

 

Additional Resources

Click here to download a one pager of this initiative.



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North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities
3125 Poplarwood Court
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Raleigh, NC 27604
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