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Expansion of Employment Opportunities for People with I/DD

NCCDD is engaging an Employment Services Coordinator to actively engage in opportunities to expand competitive, integrated employment and careers for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities (I/DD).

Why is NCCDD funding this initiative?Goal1

  • The 2016 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium estimates that in 2015 only 32.2 percent of North Carolinians with disabilities were employed.
  • 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 through the end of 2016.  NCCDD is supporting its sustainable expansion.
  • NCCDD sees opportunities to develop paid apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships for individuals with I/DD interested in a specific career field.
  • NCCDD has a goal to ensure traditional and non-traditional partners are working together to improve employment opportunities for people with I/DD in North Carolina.
  • This initiative supports NCCDD's Goal 1 of the current Five Year Plan: Increase financial security through asset development for individuals with I/DD.

What are the major goals and objectives?

  • Element I: Establish apprenticeships for individuals with I/DD in North Carolina.
  • Element II: Continue to support the expansion of Project SEARCH in North Carolina.
  • Element III: Form a coalition/partnership tasked with increasing employment opportunities for people with I/DD.

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

  • The Employment Services Coordinator has identified apprenticeship replication sites in Chapel Hill and Marshall, NC.
  • Applications for new Project SEARCH sites were approved, and technical assistance and a statewide training meeting strengthened all existing sites.
  • A coalition has met at North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation (NCVR) in Raleigh to identify a sustainable funding solution for the instructor position in the Project SEARCH community college programs across North Carolina.

What has been achieved to date?

  • Feeding assistant apprenticeships were established in Marshall.
  • Two groups have purchased a license to establish Project SEARCH sites in Charlotte with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools and Hendersonville with Blue Ridge Community College.
  • The coalition has worked with the NC Community College System and industry partners to establish a list of industry-endorsed work-based competencies for Project SEARCH community college graduates to receive a credential.
  • NCVR has dedicated a position to handle Project SEARCH statewide coordination.
  • Hosted the “Making Work WORK for Families and Guardians” mini-conference with more than 50 participants on September 22, 2017 in Cary. To view photos of this event, click here.

What long-term changes are expected as a result of this initiative?

  • More apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships that are registered with the North Carolina Department of Commerce will be available to individuals with I/DD in North Carolina.
  • Project SEARCH will continue to expand sustainably in North Carolina with more community partners working together to fund the license fee to establish new Project SEARCH sites.
  • The Project SEARCH community college programs will identify a sustainable way to fund the instructor position, thus enabling more community colleges to provide Project SEARCH internships to students with I/DD.
  • Traditional and non-traditional partners will strengthen their partnerships to provide more opportunities for competitive, integrated opportunities and careers to individuals with I/DD.

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

Social Security’s Representative Payee Program: https://www.ssa.gov/payee/

Click here to download a one pager of this initiative.

Making Work WORK for Families and Guardians Mini-conference Materials

To view photos of this event, click here.

Click on each presentation title below to download.

Agenda (docx)

Holly Stiles, Disability Rights North Carolina, Opening Keynote: “Great Expectations: Alternatives to Guardianship" (ppt)

David Ingram, N.C. Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services (DMH/DD/SAS) Closing Keynote: “Employment and Guardianship" (ppt)

Expansion of Employment Opportunities for People with I/DD initiative one-pager (pdf)

Rethinking Guardianship initiative one-pager (pdf)

How is guardianship status related to employment status for people with I/DD? Findings from the National Core Indicators Adult Consumer Survey (pdf)  

What is the relationship between gender and employment status for individuals with I/DD? Finding from the National Core Indicators Adult Consumer Survey (pdf)  

Medicaid Buy-In Fact Sheet With Premiums DRNC 2016 (pdf)  

Britton Scercy Medicaid Buy-In Success Story (pdf)  

2017 National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) Poster (pdf)



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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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