In 2002, the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) announced the availability of funds to support a National Training Technical Assistance for Providers (T-TAP) project. The goal of the project was to assist community rehabilitation providers (CRPs) in facilitating integrated employment / customized employment outcomes for individuals served by these programs. Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in partnership with the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Massachusetts Boston submitted a proposal and was awarded the cooperative agreement in October of 2002.
For the purpose of this Guide, customized employment is defined as a process for individualizing the employment relationship between an employee and an employer in ways that meet the needs of both. Customized employment is based on an individualized negotiation between the strengths, conditions and interests of the person with a disability and the identified business needs of the employer or the self-employment business chosen by the job seeker. Job negotiation uses job development or restructuring strategies that result in responsibilities being customized and individually negotiated to fit the requirements of the job. Please see Appendix 6 of this Guide for more information on customized employment.
A key component of the proposal submitted by VCU and ICI was the identification of successful CRPs in the United States who would provide technical assistance to other providers. This network of exemplary programs was identified using a “snowball” strategy in which programs were nominated for consideration by nationally known consultants to VCU and ICI. VCU and ICI then selected 10 CRPs based on these recommendations and their exemplary track records of facilitating customized employment outcomes. These mentor organizations demonstrated expertise in implementing customized employment and in facilitating organizational change with a goal of expanding customized employment opportunities. Named the Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) Leadership Network, these leaders or “mentors” were used extensively throughout the five years of the project to provide training and technical assistance.
Butterworth, John; Gandolfo, Cecelia; Revell, W. Grant; and Inge, Katherine J., "Community Rehabilitation Programs and Organizational Change: A Mentor Guide to Increase Customized Employment Outcomes" (2007). All Institute for Community Inclusion Publications. 69.