Pathways to Careers – Expanding Employment Choice for Individuals with Significant Disabilities

Pathways to Careers is a systems-change project that envisions a future where individuals with significant disabilities have an informed choice of competitive, integrated employment options across a broad range of community settings.  The model includes Discovery, linked to the opportunity for paid internships, for career exploration and employer engagement strategies, identifying potential solutions to barriers resulting from the absence of ongoing funding of employment supports.   After this session, participants will be able to: • Summarize the fundamental elements of the project (Discovery, Expanded Discovery/Internships, Employment/ETPA, Ongoing Career Support) and the importance of the zero exclusion model • Explain the purpose of Discovery and matched internships/Expanded Discovery in the model as a means of ensuring informed choice • Detail many of the additional state of the art features such as: ongoing benefits counseling, a safety net for those who are concerned about losing their current place on the Medicaid waiting list or employment in a congregate setting, multiple internship pathways that are identified by matching the interests, skills and contributions of the participant and systematic instruction • Explain the background of the Employer Payroll Tax Adjustment (EPTA) and describe how it can create a resource for ongoing employment supports • Summarize emperical data from tracking staff hours during Discovery, during internships and expanded Discovery and into employment and career support   • Detail key state and national partners in the project and identify state and federal funding  • Connect individual case studies to the key features of the project  • Explain current plans to expand the model to include not just individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities and autism but also those with serious mental illness.

Michael Callahan, Martin Gerry, Therese Fimian, Brian DeAtley