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Ticket to Work Partners’ Summit March 11-12, 2008 Christopher Button, Ph.D. Supervisory Policy Advisor Office of Disability Employment Policy U.S. Department of Labor Washington, D.C. (866) ODEP-DOL TTY (877) 889-5627 Universal Design CUSTOMIZED EMPLOYMENT

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Ticket to Work Partners’ Summit March 11-12, 2008

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Ticket to Work Partners’ Summit

March 11-12, 2008

Christopher Button, Ph.D.Supervisory Policy AdvisorOffice of Disability Employment PolicyU.S. Department of LaborWashington, ODEP-DOL TTY (877) 889-5627

customized employment
  • Everyone Customizes
  • A “Win-Win” Solution
    • Individualized
      • Negotiated
  • Assumption:  What we have learned from the best of disability employment policies and practices over the last 20 years will be beneficial to people with other complex barriers to employment.
  • Assumption: Demonstrating the effectiveness of customized strategies through the generic workforce system will increase employment for all people with complex needs.
  • Assumption: Building capacity within the generic workforce system to customize employment for people with complex barriers to employment will require multiple changes across traditional and non-traditional systems.
customized employment fundamental principles
Customized Employment FundamentalPrinciples:
  • Integrated, Individualized, Negotiated Jobs
  • Customized to the Person and the Employer
  • Individualized Funding Provides Choice and Control
  • Blending and Braiding Funds Leverages Multiple


self directed accounts opportunities for blending braiding
Self-Directed Accounts: Opportunities for Blending/Braiding
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • Social Security Administration (SSA)
  • Labor (DOL)
  • Health and Human Services (HHS)
  • Education (Ed)
  • Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
customized employment7
  • Chronic Homeless (5)
  • Customized Employment (20)
  • Workforce Action (6)
  • TA Resources (3)
preliminary project data outcomes
Preliminary Project Data Outcomes

Hourly Salary: 96% earning above minimum wage.

Average wage -- $8.60 (range $2.38 to $37.00/hour).

40% earning > $8.15/hour.

Hours worked per week: 33% worked full time (35+ per week). 46% worked less than 21 hours per week.

20% worked 21 - 34 hours/week.

Fringe benefits: 27% offered at least one fringe benefit.

Career Advancement: 63% had a position with career advancement potential.

coming off staying off support services
Coming Off/Staying Off Support Services
  • TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)
    • 97% stayed off TANF
    • 1% (5 people) went off TANF
  • Food Stamps
    • 74% stayed off Food Stamps
    • 4% (16 people) went off Food Stamps
  • SSI (Supplemental Security Income)
    • 60% stayed off SSI
    • 2% (10 people) went off SSI
  • SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance)
    • 68% stayed off SSDI
    • 1% (5 people) went off SSDI
for individuals
For Individuals
  • Customized Employment produces high-quality employment with increased wages, benefits, and level of integration into the community for people with disabilities who were previously considered unemployable by some systems.
  • Customized Employment can reduce reliance on public benefits.
  • Use of Customized Employment strategies can result in employment for other groups of people considered “hardest to serve” by the workforce system.
for systems
For Systems
  • The integrated Customized Employment model increases efficiency through new partnerships and funding sources.
  • Use of Universal Strategies in employment systems can change the way these systems are organized and operated, both for customers with disabilities as well as others with barriers to employment. This produces more effective services and outcomes.
  • Leadership personnel are critical change agents for increasing employment for people with disabilities.
for employers
For Employers
  • Use of Customized Employment strategies can assist employers in retaining valuable staff.
  • Use of Customized Employment strategies can assist employers to address specific conditions within their business that require attention.
national technical assistance research center ntar
National Technical Assistance & Research Center (NTAR)
  • Overarching Goal

To Promote Leadership for Increasing Employment and Economic Independence for Adults with Disabilities

  • Cooperative Agreement Recipient

John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

ntar goal areas
NTAR Goal Areas
  • Increasing partnership and collaboration among and across generic and disability-specific systems that provide employment or employment support


  • Increasing self-direction in service and funding among and across cross-generic and disability-specific systems, including the blending and braiding of resources and funding and the use of self-directedaccounts providing choice and control to the individual job seeker.
ntar goal areas continued
NTAR Goal Areas (continued)
  • Increasing economic self-sufficiency through leveraging relevant varied generic and disability-specific tax incentives, financial education, work incentives, benefits planning, and other strategies for enhancing profitable employment.
  • Increasing the use of universal design as the framework for the organization of employment policy and the implementation of employment services.
  • Increasing the use of customized and other forms of flexible work options for individuals with disabilities and others with complex barriers to employment.
  • ODEP’s Customized Employment experiments are helping customers with disabilities obtain quality jobs with benefits and career potential.
  • The customers are frequently some of the hardest-to-serve and hardest-to-place individuals.
  • Instrumental systems change is occurring and can lead to changes in employment outcomes for customers.
  • The principles of Customized Employment and its results can be replicated in a variety of locations.


(866) ODEP-DOL TTY (877) 889-5627