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Division of Developmental Disabilities

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.


  • Links to Employment First Information
    LEAD Center (National Center on Leadership for the Employment and Economic Advancement of People with Disabilities)

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  • What is the Division of Developmental Disabilities doing to implement Employment First?
    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 Employment provides 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

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