In 2012, New Jersey became an Employment First state, which means that employment in the general workforce is the first and preferred outcome for people with any type of disability. Planning for each individual begins with the presumption that everyone of working age and receiving Division services will work in the general workforce. An individual’s path to employment will be noted in the person’s Service Plan.
The New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities counsels individuals who are interested in employment to first approach the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) in the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development. (Individuals currently enrolled in a day habilitation program may also take advantage of this opportunity at any time.)
DVRS is a valuable resource for people with developmental disabilities:
- DVRS is federally mandated to assist individuals with disabilities who are seeking employment.
- If DVRS believes it can help an individual, it will provide a range of services, including a job coach. The goal is to support individuals in competing for, securing, and maintaining employment in the general workforce.
- DVRS will do an assessment to determine if an individual is eligible for DVRS services.
Supported Employment services may be provided to any DDD eligible individual who is in need of assistance in finding or keeping employment in the general workforce. This service can only be accessed through the Division if it is not available to the individual through DVRS or the Commission for the Blind & Visually Impaired.
The need for Supported Employment and other services will typically be identified through the Pathway to Employment discussion that takes place during the person centered planning process, and is documented in the Person Centered Planning Tool. An outcome related to finding or keeping a job will be included in the Individual Service Plan (ISP). This may include individual employment or small group employment
An individual’s ISP may authorize a combination of working, volunteering, day habilitation, or other services during the week to meet her or his individual goals.