Executive Summary - Advancing Employment and Economic Self-Sufficiency: A Roundtable on Employment for People with Intellectual and Other Developmental Disabilities
To consider the prevailing paradigm of isolation and segregation of people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities from integrated employment at minimum wage or above, and to develop a focus that embraces new possibilities for employment and self-sufficiency, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), under the leadership of Assistant Secretary Neil Romano, hosted a two-day roundtable in October 2008. The roundtable brought together key thought-leaders from various sectors to discuss promoting integrated, competitive and customized employment at minimum wage or above for individuals with intellectual and other significant and complex disabilities who have high support needs. The Roundtable focused on two primary objectives:
- Identifying the current barriers that lead to underemployment and lower wages for persons with intellectual and other significant and complex disabilities; and
- Identifying and discussing innovative strategies that can facilitate the goal of integrated, competitive and customized employment for such individuals, specifically in the areas of transition, asset development and workforce development and employment.
The dialogue centered around three key topics:
- strengthening support for the transition from high school;
- increasing meaningful, integrated and customized employment at minimum wage or above as the central focus of service providers and government authorities; and
- optimizing income and asset development for individuals with intellectual and other significant, complex disabilities who have high support needs so that such individuals can accrue assets through employment.