The Benefits of Customized Employment

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Every October, we celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) by encouraging conversation about the issues around employment for disabled workers. This year’s theme focuses on ‘Inclusion.’ For too long individuals with disabilities were kept out of the workforce. Every day, we acknowledge the prevailing uphill battle for inclusion and recognize the beauty and benefit of a more inclusive workforce for all.

Jay Nolan Community Services (JNCS) is dedicated to providing support to people with developmental or intellectual disabilities to enter the workforce through our Employment Services. This includes offering the opportunity for Customized Employment whenever possible.

Supported individual working at a movie theaterWhat is Customized Employment for persons with disabilities?  

At JNCS, we see the value in being in control of one’s life. Having a job that you love can help with that. But it’s not about asking people what they want to do in life or what they want out of it; it merely starts off as a conversation. If employment is something they desire, then we will help facilitate that conversation between the supported person and their circle of support to create a career plan which the individual is entirely in control of and that is customized to their wants and needs. Taking on a leadership position in these meetings is a terrific first step of being in control of their own journey.

How does Customized Employment work?

It’s all a matter of spending time with the individual and getting to know them. After the initial meeting to find what the person is interested in, our job coaches and support staff are able to make connections and foster working relationships out in the community. JNCS reaches out to businesses to find suitable employment opportunities. This is the real idea of Customizable Employment at work; because once Jay Nolan understands and knows the person, we are able to contact the employer and create the job description that best fits what the individual wants and needs, as well as what the employer is looking for. “It’s cool to see how people open up their mind to other things they may not have considered for themselves, or others wouldn’t have considered for them” says Lily Handley (Customized Employment Services Supervisor). It’s Jay Nolan’s goal to create the best match based on the needs for each party involved.

It’s cool to see how people open up their mind to other things they may not have considered for themselves, or others wouldn’t have considered for them.

-Lily Handley (Customized Employment Services Supervisor)

Hunter working at a desktop computerWhat is the role of the Employer in Customized Employment?

The additional beauty in creating the optimal working environment for people with all kinds of disabilities is the privilege to invite companies and employers in the community to be a solution (rather than a barrier) to the low employment rates for people with disabilities. By fostering their working relationship, the employer is able to become an additional team member and a support system for the individual. Over the years, we’ve seen employers rise to the occasion and go above and beyond to help create the most beneficial and optimal opportunity in employment. This, in turn, contributes to a more inclusive community. The individuals with disabilities who are hired are taught everything they need to know to be successful, are introduced to a team within the field of work, and are treated with the same respect given to the other employees.

Making Connections 

It is Jay Nolan’s job and privilege to facilitate these working relationships, and to go out of our way to make connections when need be. A JNCS joy is getting to see the confidence build in those who enter the working environment and thrive off the new opportunities they’re introduced to because of it. It’s the next step in being in control of their own lives and journey.


Learn more: Employment Services at JNCS

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