While North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation (NCVR) offers immediate opportunities for both potential employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and employers, the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities (NCCDD) is working on long-term employment solutions. Most focus on early intervention programs that provide employment and internship opportunities from as early as high school to adults seeking employment.
Initiatives such as NCCDD’s Expansion of Employment Opportunities develop paid apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships for individuals with I/DD interested in specific career fields. The goal is to bring together traditional and non-traditional partners to work together and improve employment opportunities for people with I/DD in North Carolina. Click here for more information on this NCCDD initiative.
Similarly, programs like Project SEARCH, a successful internship program designed to prepare high school students and young adults with I/DD to obtain employment after graduation, has grown from four North Carolina sites in 2013 to 12 sites in 2017. Click here for more information on this program.
Western Carolina University’s Learning and Earning After High School initiative created a sustainable approach to providing transition services and resources for students with intellectual disabilities, even those with complex disabilities. The initiative worked with the NC Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and Local Education Agencies (LEA) to establish 10 pilots and 20 total partner schools. The program works to improve outcomes for individuals with disabilities such as post-secondary education and integrated employment. Click here to visit the Roads to Earning and Learning website.
Inclusive Post Secondary Education (IPSE) programs have proven to maintain a 40% paid competitive employment rate among program participants and there are now approximately 27 post secondary education programs in North Carolina. Click here for a comprehensive chart that contains information about all PSE programs, including community colleges and universities, across North Carolina. You will find contact information and website addresses of those schools with inclusive programs on this chart.
Employers are encouraged to engage young people in internships, use on-the-job training and participate in these programs that help prepare people with I/DD for today’s job market.