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NC Employment Collaborative Initiative

The North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities (NCCDD) 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). The Council recognizes the importance of the goals outlined in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), as well as the North Carolina Unified State Plan which outlines a roadmap for North Carolina accomplishing the mandates outlined in WIOA.

Using a collective impact approach, the contractor will support current efforts of the Community College System, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Health and Human Services, in aligning their joint efforts as outlined in the North Carolina Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Unified State Plan. This initiative represents another step forward in promoting system change efforts to increase employment rates for the I/DD community and other individuals living with disabilities, while supporting state leadership in their efforts to accomplish the goals of the Unified State Plan. This collaborative is also intended to continue to encourage North Carolina becoming an Employment First state.

Why is NCCDD funding this initiative?Goal1

Over the last decade in North Carolina, there have been federal and state level collaborations among various divisions to raise awareness and address the systemic barriers to competitive integrated employment for individuals living with intellectual and other developmental disabilities (I/DD). A 2013 report released by the State Employment Leadership Network (SELN), entitled “A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities”, outlined many recommendations that provided direction and guidance to state governments for joining their efforts with business partners to promote hiring of people living with I/DD and other disabilities, in both private and public sectors. The SELN is a federal collaboration designed to be a roadmap for state governors and leaders to use as they strategize their efforts to address employment disparities for people living with disabilities.

Regarding recent state level collaborations designed to increase engagement between state leadership and employment partners across the state, in 2017 technical assistance was brought in from the United States Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy to assist multiple state divisions, including the Division of Medical Assistance, the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services to support their efforts in realigning their respective employment service definitions, as well as inform policy for best employment services practices for employment service personnel.

This Initiative is focus on providing technical assistance, coordination, and other support for the efforts of the Unified State Plan Committee.  Using a Collective Impact Model of systems change to increase the percentage of positive employment outcomes for individuals with I/DD and other disabilities as lead Departments under the Unified State Plan coordinate their activities to achieve their respective goals as defined in North Carolina’s Workforce Innovations and Opportunities Act Unified State Plan. 

What are the major goals and objectives?

  • Provide input that is specific to the needs of individuals living with I/DD and other disabilities as well as the business community, as departments attempt to accomplish the goals laid out in the Unified State Plan.
  • Support the formation of regional Business Advisory Councils (BACs) that will inform the efforts of prosperity zone committee members.
  • Outline efforts to advise all three departments as they collaborate and engage to accomplish the goals of the Unified State Plan.
  • Contractor will facilitate efforts to ensure that the Unified State Plan Committee focus on areas that have a significant impact on competitive integrated employment for individuals living with I/DD and other disabilities.

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

  • Ensure that Unified State Plan Committee members focus on areas of the Unified State Plan that will have a significant impact on competitive integrated employment opportunities for individuals living with I/DD and other disabilities.
  • DI-NC has continued to meet virtually with the established DI-NC Employment Collaborative Council members on the established meeting schedule set for 2020. Council members we are focusing our collective efforts to advance disability employment strategies as outlined in the NC Unified State Plan.
  • Successful completion of Workforce Development Boards survey in February 2020.
  • Survey data collected has been used to guide recommendations to the Business Advisory Councils for the four targeted Prosperity Zones. These zones include the North Central, Piedmont Triad, Southwest and Western regions.
  • DI-NC staff are assisting the regional BACs in these Prosperity Zones to align the survey data for each region with activities that form the foundation of their individual disability employment inclusion work plans for those respective Prosperity Zones.

What COVID-19 Related Adjustments were made?

  • Due to the COVID-19 requirements for social distancing and the number of businesses, government offices, and Workforce Career Centers closed to in person traffic, there was an adjustment from using small group meetings to all virtual meetings for engaging stakeholders and self-advocates.

What has been achieved to date?

  • Formation of the NC Employment Collaborative Council including Business Leaders and Self-Advocates, Government Agencies, Post-Secondary Education and Workforce Development
  • Identification of champions across major partners
    Initial review of the Unified State Plan with focus on areas that impact employment for individuals living with disabilities
  • Establishment of Core Themes for Business Advisory Councils to address these including: Accessibility/Accommodation, Education & Training Awareness Training, Business and Stakeholder Engagement, Accountability Measures and Systemic Change Issues
  • Development of marketing materials, vision statements and other informational pieces to support the establishment of the BACs.

How can I get involved?

Contact Tamira White, Systems Change Manager, [email protected] 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, [email protected]
NCCDD: Tamira White, Systems Change Manager, [email protected]


Additional Resources

Click here to download a one pager of this initiative.


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North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities

Office Hours: 9AM-4PM Monday-Friday
1-800-357-6916 (Toll Free)
984-920-8200 (Office/TTY)
984-920-8201 (Fax)
This project was supported, in part by grant number 2001NCSCDD-02, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

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