Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities make many valuable contributions to the workplace and to our economy.  The Division promotes a person-centered planning process for individuals with I/DD to explore their interests, skills, dreams and goals, including those related to employment.  

Employment services are offered by the Department of Labor’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) must be accessed before using Division-funded employment services. 

If DVRS services are not available or an individual is not eligible, the Division provides Supported Employment, Career Planning, and Prevocational Training services.  Support Coordinators are ready to explain the variety of services and supports available to assist individuals become employed, keep their jobs, and build careers.  These Division services include assistance with things like developing job skills, writing a resume, completing job applications, interviewing, getting to work, and having support staff available during the work day.  

Individuals must maintain Medicaid eligibility to receive these services from the Division and there are programs in place so that individuals can work without losing Medicaid benefits.  The Divisions recommends that individuals contact the NJ Work Incentives Network Support program to understand the various options.  For example, Workability, NJ's Medicaid buy-in program, allows an individual to make more than $5,000 per month or $60,000 per year and still remain Medicaid eligible.  Similarly, the NJ ABLE program allows individuals to save money without impacting Medicaid eligibility.

Support Coordinators are available to explain these services in more detail and to develop an integrated employment plan that uses each service to meet specific goals.

Career Planning

  • A focused, time-limited service that engages an individual in identifying a career direction and developing a plan for achieving competitive, integrated employment.
  • If an individual is already employed, Career Planning may be used to find other employment or advancement opportunities that are more consistent with the individual’s skills and interests.

Prevocational Training (individual or group)

  • A focused service with specific outcomes related to employment preparation, such as effective communication, workplace conduct, problem solving, and the ability to follow directions and complete tasks.
  • Provides learning and work experiences, including volunteer work, where the individual can develop general skills that contribute to employability.

Supported Employment (individual or group)

  • Can be provided for both an intensive period upon job start and as ongoing (“follow along”) support to sustain employment.
  • Supports may include training and systematic instruction, job coaching, benefit support, travel training, and other workplace skills that enable the individual to successfully integrate into the job setting.
  • Group services for 2-8 individuals may include mobile crews and other business-based workgroups employing workers in integrated settings.

New Jersey's Employment First Statement:

Competitive employment in the general workforce is the first and preferred post education outcome for people with any type of disability.

Association for People Supporting Employment First

U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy 

LEAD Center (National Center on Leadership for the Employment and Economic Advancement of People with Disabilities)

  1. DDD follows the Principles of Employment for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  2. DDD requires an annual discussion about employment through the Pathway to Employment
    • The Pathway to Employmentprovides the opportunity for the Support Coordinator to have a meaningful discussion about employment each year with the individual, his/her family, and other key members in his/her life.
    • This discussion leads to identification of the individual’s current status related to employment through 3 paths: currently employed, currently unemployed with previous experience/training, or currently unemployed without previous experience/training.
    • Each path provides a series of discussion points that lead to the identification of the level of satisfaction with employment, potential barriers to employment or career development, and concerns leading to hesitancy related to the pursuit of employment and suggests actions that can be taken to address any of these areas.
    • Information gathered through the Pathway to Employment is utilized to develop an employment outcome or outcomes within the Individualized Service Plan (ISP).
  3. DDD incorporates the Employment First initiative within the NJ Individualized Service Plan (ISP)
    • The Individualized Service Plan (ISP)must include at least one employment outcome before it can be approved and prior authorize services for the individual.
    • An indication of the individual’s plans related to employment – currently employed, pursuing employment, or not pursuing employment – is included in each ISP. If the individual is not pursuing employment, a reason must be provided. These ISPs are reviewed to ensure that the individual is aware of all the services/supports available to assist him/her in becoming successfully employed.  At times, other services and supports will not be made available until the individual makes strides in pursuing employment. 
  4. DDD provides availability of additional funding for Supported Employment – Individual Employment Support when the individual budget cannot sustain the level of support the individual needs to find or maintain competitive employment in the general workforce
    • The individual must make every effort to utilize his/her individual budget to cover his/her Supported Employment needs prior to requesting this additional funding.
    • To request the Supported Employment component, the Support Coordinator must submit a completed Supported Employment Funding Request form (Appendix D). This form will be reviewed by the Division to ensure that other available services would not be able to provide the level of support necessary for the individual to remain employed.
    • The Division may request or conduct an observational evaluation on the job site to assist in the determination process and/or provide technical guidance as needed.
    • The Division will inform the individual and Support Coordinator of the determination. Other Division funded services remain available while this determination is being made. 
  5. DDD has begun collecting employment-related data of individuals receiving DDD services
    • Information related to current employment status, employment history (business, industry type, sub industry type, role/title, start/end dates, wages, benefits, and location), career planning and unpaid experiences, career-related education, and utilization of employment services/supports is entered into iRecord (the Division’s electronic case management system) by the individual’s Support Coordinator.
    • As the Division captures this information for more and more individuals receiving services, baseline numbers can be determined, statewide goals can be established, and quality measures can be identified as it relates to employment outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 
  6. DDD provides training and technical assistance for all stakeholders
    • Resource materials, webinars, presentations, and a help desk dedicated to providing guidance related to employment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are available to individuals and family members through the Division’s website.
    • Support Coordinators must complete an eight (8) module series of webinars