GCDD IMPACT: New Employment Center Opens in Athens

Across the country, the movement to employ people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) is gaining momentum. For the movement to be successful, bridging different players in the field and bringing them to achieve a common goal is key.

Through the University of Georgia’s Institute on Human Development and Disability (IHDD) and Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD), the State’s first Employment Technical Assistance (TA) Center has launched to support building an inclusive workforce.

“We are focused on bringing together providers, employers, job seekers and their families to provide best practices and knowledge of what inclusive employment looks like,” said Doug Crandell, subject matter expert in Customized Employment with the Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program at the US Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy.

By bringing together these three focused areas, IHDD plans to support provider transformation and implementation of best-practice strategies that lead to competitive, integrated employment among individuals with I/DD through individualized, hands-on technical assistance and mentoring; and promoting meaningful employment opportunities for individuals with I/DD through sharing of information, resources and dialogue through a virtual Community of Practice and Learning Community.

The center hopes to increase opportunities for individuals with I/DD to seek and obtain employment through providers using best-practice approaches such as customized employment, self-employment and individualized placements and supports.

Providers, employers and job seekers will also be able to get resources through webinars, online portals and other successful methods to support the growth of employment for people with I/DD.

Employment providers, specifically, will be able to join a Community of Practice that is a learning and sharing space with the goal to improve employment services and supports for individuals with I/DD. They will also be able to receive free technical assistance from organizations that are well-versed in inclusive employment.

As the TA Center gets off the ground, Crandell wants the ultimate focus to “link communities of practice and share the tools to expand employment opportunities for individuals with I/DD.”

For more information on the TA Center, visit https://www.advancingemployment.com.

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