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A revolution in the employment process of individuals with disabilities: Customized employment as the catalyst for system change

by Tod Citron, Nancy Brooks-Lane, Doug Crandell, Kate Brady, Michael Cooper, Grant Revell

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Citron, T., Brookes-Lane, N., Crandell, D., Brady, K., Cooper, M. & Revell, G. (2008). A revolution in the employment process of individuals with disabilities: Customized employment as the catalyst for system change. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 28(3), 169 - 179.

The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyze a seven-year systems change effort focused on developing customized employment opportunities through a community rehabilitation program (CRP) that provides supports to persons with mental illness, developmental disabilities, and addictive diseases in Georgia. By using case studies and qualitative data, the path to real and effective organizational improvement in the area of customized employment outcomes is explored.

Seven points of analysis on systematic organizational development emerged from the data review: (1) staff development; (2) community partnerships and diversified funding; (3) sustainability; (4) shift in managerial approaches and supervision; (5) changes in human resource processes; and (6) expanding customized employment to diverse populations; i.e. offenders, youth, welfare to work. This examination illustrates the need for: best practice staff training, person-centered and community-based vocational assessments, customer-directed personal budgets, flexible funding, focus on evidence-based customized employment outcomes as performance indicators, values-based human resource processes, CRP executive leadership involvement with staff and customers to break down barriers and achieve organizational momentum for outcome-driven change. Case studies for individuals who achieved customized employment outcomes are provided.

 


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