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People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are among the most likely Americans to be unemployed, live in poverty, or rely on public programs. In 2013, only 23% of working-age people with cognitive disabilities—a broad demographic category that includes individuals with IDD—were employed, compared to 72% of people without disabilities. While over 30 states have adopted an Employment First policy (a declaration that employment is the priority outcome for people with disabilities), a key challenge is ensuring that supports meet the standards for best practice. Employment supports are delivered by what we refer to as “employment consultants.” We use this term to describe staff who support individuals with disabilities to find and keep an individual integrated job in the community. Other titles may include employment specialist, job developer, or job coach.

This brief: Shares what we know about bringing best practice to scale; Introduces a line of research that builds a strategy for an effective workforce for employment supports.



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