People with disabilities should have an opportunity to make an informed choice about employment:
- Explore community jobs
- Connect with peers who are employed,
- Plan for a career that meets their interests and skills,
- Understand the impact of income on benefits; and
- Know first-hand the many benefits of working in the community.
Everyone has something to contribute, and people are healthier, safer and happiest when they are engaged in meaningful work.
Families and guardians play a critical role in the success of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities finding and maintaining community integrated jobs. Here are testimonials from Oregon parents and family members discussing the impact that community work has had on their family.
Self-advocacy is understanding a person’s strengths and needs, identifying personal goals, speaking up about his or her needs, desires and wishes.
Work is at the core of how most Americans spend their time. It helps a person access the full benefits of citizenship, including economic self-sufficiency, independence, personal growth and self-esteem. With the right support, employment is possible for all individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who want to work.
Employment benefits include:
- A paycheck which provides more choices, control, and independence.
- Opportunities to maintain skills and learn new ones.
- Opportunity to teach and learn from others.
- Integration, relationships and social connections in the community.
Individuals with I/DD and their families often have a lot of questions about how employment might work in their particular situation. Please view this video showing how employment supports can work for people with significant disabilities.
Each agency has a well-developed complaints and grievances process to follow:
How to access services
Those interested in community integrated employment should tell their Service Coordinator (SC) or Personal Agent (PA) they want a job in order to start their successful career planning. Find information about eligibility from the Office of Developmental Disability Services.
Vocational Rehabilitation will help provide access to services that lead to employment. Jobs should match the interests, skills, and passion of the individual.
Find information about transition services from the Department of Education website or talk to your local school.
Family and caregivers
Family involvement is important throughout the life of a family member with a disability. Families play a critical role in the success of self-advocates in finding and maintaining community integrated jobs.
Below is a list of resources that may also be helpful.
Oregon Self-Advocacy Coalition's Guide to Community Employment
SAC is the voice of disability self-advocacy in Oregon. OSAC advocates for the equal rights of people with disabilities. OSAC develop programs to help further the advancement of people with disabilities.
Commonly Asked Questions from Individuals and Families. Answers provided by Employment First, Oregon Department of Education, Vocational Rehabilitation, and Office of Developmental Disability Services.
The Oregon Department of Education website for Transition aged youth with disabilities transitioning to adulthood provides a variety of employment resource information for transition youth and their families.
FACT is dedicated to empowering Oregon families experiencing disability by offering peer-delivered family support.