Blueprint for Success: Employing Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities in Massachusetts Prepared by Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services Association

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Blueprint for Success:
Employing Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities in Massachusetts

Prepared by
Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services
Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers
The Arc of Massachusetts

Principal authors
Margaret Van Gelder
Amanda D. Nichols, M.S.W.
Larry Tummino


Given recent federal policy changes and directives, a mutual, proactive plan has been created by key representatives of the Association of Developmental Disabilities (ADDP), The Arc Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to increase integrated employment opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities (ID). The foundation of the plan emphasizes the deeply held values about the importance of having a job in society and the multiple benefits gained by individuals and businesses when adults with (ID) contribute to their communities via work. The plan also sets forth a path for the Patrick Administration to be a leader among other states by taking the initiative to close sheltered workshops and provide supported employment in integrated settings.

The key milestones in the plan include:

  • Close the “front door” to sheltered workshops as of January 1, 2014 by halting any new referrals to this service.

  • Close sheltered workshops by June 30, 2015.

  • Transition participants in sheltered workshop programs during fiscal year 2015 to one of the following options: integrated individual or group employment at minimum wage or higher and/or Community-Based Day Services (CBDS). DDS remains committed to providing individuals needed day services in a manner that maintains stability for families and residential providers during non-work hours.

  • Continue to transition individuals from CBDS to integrated work opportunities that pay minimum wage or higher based on person-centered career plans.

  • Gradually phase out group employment settings that pay less than minimum wage.

To successfully meet goals, the Department is committed to funding an 18 month capacity building initiative beginning in November, 2013 to expand existing strengths of its provider agencies. Key components of this initiative include (a) extensive training opportunities for staff; (b) supporting organizational change via management consultation/business planning efforts; (c) expanding an employment collaborative model to better coordinate identification of job opportunities within the business community; (d) providing technical assistance on vocational assessment and person-centered career planning to provider staff and DDS service coordinators, (e) and supporting a series of regional forums for individuals and families. The latter will be organized by The Arc of Massachusetts, in collaboration with Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change and Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong, to help educate and support individuals with ID and families during system change.

To accomplish the plan’s objectives and to strengthen partnerships, an Employment First Implementation Council will be created to include individuals with ID, family members of individuals with ID, advocates, providers, and state agency representatives.

A fiscal analysis has been completed indicating a need for an estimated investment of $26.7 million over four fiscal years to provide appropriate levels of necessary support to individuals moving out of sheltered workshop programs into integrated work settings. The aforementioned investment will be offset by federal revenue through the Home and Community-Based Waiver, resulting in an estimated net state cost of $13.35 million.
Work makes me excited and happy, especially when I do something new, for instance when learning new tasks. Getting a paycheck makes me feel proud that I have done a good job and I earned it myself.” (Adult with ID)


In July 2013, the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Commissioner Elin Howe appoints a group of disability providers, advocates, and DDS leaders to examine day and employment support programs for adults with intellectual disabilities (ID). The Employment Workgroup’s goal has been to develop a five-year plan to increase both inclusive employment opportunities and higher earning potential for individuals with ID, while phasing out the use of sheltered workshops. The Workgroup has achieved consensus on the following plan, which is reflected in proposed changes, goals, recommendations, and timelines to achieve the desired outcomes.

The Employment Workgroup, chaired by the DDS Deputy Commissioner Larry Tummino, has had an intense schedule of weekly meetings beginning in August 2013 through October 2013 to develop a plan. This partnership will also continue throughout implementation stages of the plan. The core group members are comprised of representatives from the Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers (ADDP), including leadership staff from eight provider organizations; The Arc of Massachusetts; and DDS. The group has developed a plan to re-design day and employment services that will not only better respond to changing demands of individuals with ID and their families but also expand principles of the Olmstead decision beyond residential, specifically to day and employment services.

Special guests have also participated in meetings to share expertise on various topics, such as transition of students turning 22 years old leaving public education and entering adult service systems. Engaging additional experts has fostered discussion on how to address barriers, such as existing service coordination gaps across school systems and state entities and how to best leverage one another’s activities. The core group has also explored other state entities for potential collaboration related to its goal: Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC), Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD). A list of the core group members, guest contributors, and guest providers are listed in Appendix A.

The Workgroup has also informed and engaged additional stakeholders throughout the planning process. To offer opportunities for feedback on the emerging plan, the Workgroup has convened meetings with stakeholders representing Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change, DDS Statewide Advisory Council, DDS Citizen Advisory Boards, Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong, Disability Law Center, Down Syndrome Congress, and Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts (AFAM).

From the beginning, DDS has met with key figures at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, including Assistant Secretary for Disability Policies and Programs Rosalie Edes and Secretary Polanowicz, to notify and seek input on the initiative to expand integrated employment.

The Department has been engaged in system change activities and has implemented a number of important initiatives over the past several years to transform day and employment services to support increased opportunities for individuals to work in the community. In part, DDS has initiated these early activities because individuals supported by the Department have given a loud and clear message about their belief that individuals with ID can and should work in the community.
Major initiatives have included:

  • Informing providers of Center-Based Work Services1 of the Department’s commitment to develop alternatives to “sheltered workshop” services via a qualifying procurement for day and employment programs to begin in fiscal year 2010. This procurement specifically states, “over the next three to five years, providers should make concerted efforts to assist individuals to enter into supported employment (individual or group), and/or re-structure their services to create alternative business/employment program options.” In a 2011 directive to executive directors of sheltered work programs, DDS Commissioner Howe has reinforced this commitment stating the Department’s intent to increase the numbers of individuals who work in integrated employment, and within the next five years to discontinue purchasing sheltered workshop services. Providers have been required to submit their plans on how they would increase integrated employment and phase out sheltered workshop services within this five-year period.

  • Issuing an Employment First Policy in 2010 has established integrated, individual employment as a preferred service option and optimal outcome for working age adults with ID. This policy raises expectations and expands opportunities by prioritizing assistance and supports for integrated employment in the development of service plans and delivery. This policy is in alignment with Governor Patrick’s commitment to expand work opportunities for individuals with disabilities through his administration’s Community First policies and Massachusetts as a Model Employer initiative.

  • Establishing and implementing on July 1, 2013 new standard rates for employment services. As a result, the new rates have incentivized integrated employment services and outcomes.

  • Collecting data from providers over the past two years indicates a decrease in the amount of time individuals with ID have spent in sheltered workshops. During the same period, it shows that time spent in individual or group supported employment has increased. It is important to note that providers have continued to make progress on helping more individuals obtain jobs that pay minimum wage or higher.

An important catalyst for these changes has been the expressed preference of self-advocates and their families for competitive jobs with the same opportunity to earn fair wages and benefits as other employees. In particular, young adults transitioning from school and their families and/or guardians are seeking more inclusive employment opportunities and day program choices.

[Having a job is important to me because] I want to be normal, and be respected as an equal. To be paid the same as others doing the same job. I don’t want to be treated as less then equal or a poor handicap person. (Adult with ID)


The landscape is changing on a national level because of increased attention on employment opportunities and outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Important federal policy changes and legal actions have emerged that have significant influence and direct bearing on employment and day service options for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

  • Legal proceedings in Oregon and Rhode Island by the United States Departments of Justice and Labor and other plaintiffs have found segregated work environments, specifically sheltered workshops, violate both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Olmstead inclusion case.

  • Continued use of the commensurate wage allowance under Title 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act is under review in the U.S. Congress. The provision that allows payments at less than minimum wage is used in the delivery of sheltered workshop services and in some group supported employment situations.

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued guidance further describing expectations for pre-vocational services offered within vocational programs, such as sheltered workshops.

In turn, the above federal policy changes and legal actions create a sense of urgency. The Department is responding by taking an affirmative, pro-active approach to accelerate movement – in a more timely way – to expand integrated employment services.


The importance and value of employment is recognized by all stakeholders. This is consistent with the mission of DDS to “create in partnership with others, innovative and genuine opportunities for individuals with intellectual disability to participate fully and meaningfully in, and contribute to their communities as valued members.” Having a job has a positive impact on the quality of life of individuals, as well as results in being perceived by others in a more positive light. Some of changes of individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) working in the community include increased self-confidence and improved self-image and sense of pride. It also allows an opportunity to become a taxpaying citizen. In addition, businesses benefit having a diverse workforce by meeting specific employment needs and reflecting communities served.


As part of planning and re-designing the system, it is important to build upon assets in the current service system. Strengths include the following:

  • The successful employment experiences of individuals with ID working in a variety of different jobs have demonstrated work in the community is possible.

  • An increasing number of businesses who have opened their doors by embracing employment of individuals with disabilities. Businesses have effectively partnered with employment providers for necessary supports and have taken a leadership role in promoting employment of persons with disabilities with other employers.

  • A vibrant and large network of employment providers with strong community ties who have effectively and successfully assisted many individuals with ID to enter the workforce.

  • The voices of individuals who are loud and clear about their desire and interest to become employed at jobs in the community.

  • New promising approaches on different ways to engage employers to identify job opportunities and coordinate job leads through organized networks of job developers.

  • Examples of service innovation to replicate.

  • An existing strong partnership and collaboration among DDS, provider community, individuals with ID, and families.

As part of this transformation, the Workgroup identified the following challenges that will need to be addressed:

  • Some individuals and/or their family members are apprehensive about leaving sheltered workshops because it has offered stability, a potential to earn some money, and a social network.

  • There is a concern about availability of employment and day services and supports from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., especially when an individual works part-time. There is also a concern about a safety net of services available if individuals experience job loss or change.

  • Some jobs may require working non-traditional hours (evenings and weekends) that will necessitate flexibility.

  • The impact of earnings on Social Security and other public benefit programs is a common concern of individuals with ID and family members and/or guardians.

  • Limited transportation options hinder access to different job opportunities, especially in rural parts of the state.

  • There is concern that it will be difficult to develop numerous different types of competitive job opportunities given the current economic climate.

  • The need for staff development and training to build the knowledge base and expertise in the delivery of integrated employment services for staff who will be transitioning from their roles in sheltered workshop programs and for DDS service coordinators.

  • There is a need to develop and expand an array of services provided through Community-Based Day Supports (CBDS) programs, especially person-centered planning to include career exploration and discovery.

  • The process of organizational change and movement to more integrated and community-based models of services may be difficult for some provider agencies.

  • Given difference in rates, there is a need for additional funding to provide types of supports needed when individuals leave workshops to enter integrated employment.

The Workgroup has identified key action steps to support an overarching goal to increase both access to integrated employment services and the number of individuals who successfully obtain jobs at businesses in the community.

  1. Close new referrals to sheltered workshop programs as of January 1, 2014 as a first step to phase out use of this model by June 30, 2015.

  1. During fiscal year 2015, the designated group of individuals currently in sheltered workshop programs will gradually transition into individual supported employment, group supported employment, and/or Community-Based Day Services (CBDS) programs. The hours of service currently provided to individuals in this group will be maintained. This plan does not rely on use of Day Habilitation programs, unless it has been determined as the most appropriate service option for the individual.

  1. Increase the number of people who participate in integrated individual and group supported employment that pays minimum wage or higher in fiscal years 2016, 2017, and 2018.

  1. Expand the scope of CBDS programs to include service options with a career exploration/planning component to serve as a pathway to employment through use of a variety of different volunteer and discovery opportunities, skills training, or other community-based experiences. The CBDS model will also be used to provide complementary supports for individuals who work part-time and need and want to be engaged in structured, program services for the remainder of the work week.

  1. Develop and implement a common framework for a planning and assessment process that allows informed choice as an integral part of the development of a person-centered career plan.


A projection of the number and type of day and employment services is a preliminary estimate based upon professional judgment and collective knowledge of individuals and their needs. These preliminary projections may change over time based on individuals’ specific needs, as well as case law in the area of supported employment.

Essential to success of the proposed plan is an investment of new funding to provide resources and opportunities for individuals to move from sheltered workshop services (currently funded at the lowest rate at $8.42/hour) to individual ($47.96/hour) or group ($13.80/hour) supported employment, and/or CBDS programs (average $12.92/hour). These services have rates at a higher level due to program design and staffing ratio. The incremental infusion of new funding provides a “bridge” to new service options for individuals currently participating in sheltered workshops. Cost projections have been based on fiscal year 2014 rates, which are subject to a review process under Chapter 257. Rates may be adjusted during implementation of the plan.

A total investment has been projected to cost $26.7 million* over four fiscal years, from 2015 through 2018. The cost analysis has been based on a projected number of individuals participating in center-based/sheltered workshop services on a full-time or part-time basis as of July 1, 2013.

The total number of individuals participating in sheltered workshop services is 2,608: 1,251 attend sheltered workshops full-time (typically 30 hours/week) and 1,357 attend part-time (52%). Individuals in workshops on a part-time basis may receive a combination of services in individual or group supported employment and/or CBDS. This is the designated target group for the funding investment.
Specific funding amounts needed, goals, and timelines for movement to different service options for each fiscal year are described below.

Fiscal Year

Funding Amount

FY ‘15

$11.1 million

FY ’16

$ 6.3 million

FY ‘17

$8.3 million

FY ‘18

$1.0 million


$26.7 million*

*Important Note: The net cost to the state would only be approximately $13 million dollars due to waiver reimbursement/federal financial participation for these services at almost 50%.

FY 2014: This is an important planning year to conduct assessments and develop plans with individuals in sheltered workshop programs to determine which alternative service option(s) will best meet their needs.

FY 2015: The largest investment is needed this year to facilitate transition to individual or group supported employment, and/or to CBDS programs for all participants in center-based/sheltered workshops. It is expected a majority of individuals will initially move to CBDS programs, which will provide opportunities to explore work-related possibilities. This will enable DDS to reach the goal of phasing out sheltered workshop services and removing the concern of sub-minimum wage payments related to sheltered work programs by June 30, 2015. (Proposed investment: $11.1 million; Net state cost: 5.55 million)
FY 2016: It is expected that a larger number of individuals will move to individual or group supported employment options this year from CBDS programs. In addition, funding will provide participation in CBDS for individuals who work part-time. (Proposed investment: $6.3 million; Net state cost: $3.15 million)
FY 2017: There will be continued movement of individuals from CBDS programs to individual and/or group supported employment services to provide integrated employment opportunities for all individuals who had previously been participating in sheltered workshop programs. (Proposed investment: $8.3 million; Net state cost: $4.15 million)
FY 2018: The final year of investment is used to solidify gains made in integrated employment services for individuals in CBDS and also facilitate movement of individuals to group supported employment earning above minimum wage. (Proposed investment: $1 million; Net state cost: $500,000)
This is a sound and cost-effective investment. Through this deliberate process, DDS can end purchase of sheltered workshop services and successfully transition individuals into other employment or service options by the end of fiscal year 2015. In turn, it will eliminate the issue of sub-minimum wage payments that is used in these settings. In subsequent years, this funding investment could support individuals to both (a) obtain integrated jobs through individual supported employment services and (b) facilitate movement of individuals in group supported employment to earning minimum wage or higher. The new funding investment that has been requested will be used for waiver services that are reimbursable; therefore, revenue obtained will greatly offset cost of this initiative.
The new investment pays off in the long-term by creating a robust employment provider network and system of supports that is more responsive to addressing employment needs of individuals with ID. The ultimate desired outcome is a system of inclusive employment and day service options that assist individuals in becoming successfully employed at jobs in the community. Furthermore, more individuals with ID will become taxpayers, as well as enjoy personal benefits of being employed.
An investment in capacity-building activities is necessary to support successful transformation of DDS’ day and employment services system and to improve employment outcomes. The Workgroup prioritized several key areas for development. A commitment has been made by DDS to provide funding and support over an 18 month period (beginning November 2013) to address the following areas, which represent a comprehensive and coordinated approach to building capacity.

  1. Engagement and support to individuals and families

Individuals and families need and benefit from helpful information and support to assist in understanding changes in services being made and to address their concerns and questions about how change impacts them. Funding will be provided to The Arc of Massachusetts, in partnership with Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change and Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong, to host regional forums across the Commonwealth. The Arc will develop materials and resources for individuals and families to address changes to day and employment services. They, along with DDS, will also respond to questions and concerns, such as the common fear of losing Social Security and other public benefits. Integral to outreach efforts is developing culturally responsive strategies and approaches to meet diverse needs of families from various ethnic and linguistic communities. Part of the education strategies include facilitation of family-to-family connections and peer support.

  1. Staff development and training

A comprehensive approach to staff development and training is essential for both DDS and provider staff, especially those currently employed to provide supports to individuals in sheltered workshops. It will be especially critical for staff to build a knowledge base and expertise in delivering integrated employment services and working with the business community. Re-training of provider staff is essential because different skill sets are required to develop and support individuals in community jobs versus sheltered workshops. Training opportunities will include the following areas:

  • Comprehensive training series for employment specialists/job developers with curriculum and field work experiences that are aligned with credentialing and certification entities for employment specialist professionals

  • Education and resources on the impact of earnings on Social Security benefits and use of work incentives

  • Training on specialized topics, such as (a) career exploration and discovery approaches; (b) customized job development; (c) systematic instruction techniques, (d) working with specific populations, for instance individuals on the autism spectrum; (e) technology on the job, and (f) other topic areas to be identified.

  • Leadership roundtables and communities of practice to facilitate opportunities for providers to work together on common issues and to promote peer-to-peer learning. These activities will be planned jointly with DDS and ADDP and/or providers

  • Specific education and training opportunities will be provided for DDS regional and area staff to support implementation of this plan.

  1. Technical assistance and consultation for provider organizations

Technical assistance and consultation to providers on redesigning services and restructuring organizations to move from segregated, center-based programs to integrated, individualized employment services has been identified as a priority. Feedback has indicated that some providers may need initial funding to conduct strategic planning to convert sheltered workshops into integrated employment and other program models, such as Community-Based Day Services (CBDS). The Department has committed to offering all current providers of center-based work programs access to technical assistance resources. Working with the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, a consultant pool consisting of individuals and/or qualified organizations will be available to provide technical assistance and subject matter experts. The resource pool will be established with input from DDS and providers. As a part of this consultation, an organizational assessment will be conducted leading to a plan tailored to meet providers’ needs.

  1. Employer engagement through expansion of employment collaboratives

To engage employers more effectively and to increase job opportunities, the Workgroup has prioritized supporting a current regional employment collaborative model in central Massachusetts, as well as expanding this model to additional regions of the state. The employment collaborative is a cross-disability interagency model approach to conducting macro-level job development that generates more efficient collaboration with the business community. The collaborative works with employment service providers, organizations, and state agencies to improve employment outcomes for persons with disabilities. It supplements work of providers locally engaged in individualized job development activities. This past year, the Central Massachusetts Employment Collaborative uncovered over 248 employment opportunities in which hiring of 136 individuals with disabilities occurred at minimum wage or higher with businesses in the community. The Department has also provided partial funding to this Collaborative in fiscal years 2013 and 2014.

Given the success of Central Massachusetts Employment Collaborative, DDS has committed to provide funding to support this project hosted at Riverside Community Care and its expansion to western Massachusetts. Additional funding will be provided to support replication of the employment collaborative model through hiring account managers in three additional regions of the state: South Shore, North Shore, and Greater Boston. The model will be tailored to support efforts occurring in specific geographic areas with established job developer networks. Long-term efforts will also focus on building a coalition of employment collaboratives statewide to maximize resources, share best practices, and provide opportunities for partnership among state agencies and provider organizations. In the future, use of this model will be replicated to cover all geographic areas of the state with adaptations made to reflect local differences and lessons learned through implementing the collaborative model.

  1. Data collection on employment outcomes

The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) has established and implemented employment outcome data collection systems with the assistance of ICI. These approaches need to be refined and streamlined to most effectively record and report relevant information on new job placements and movement between service models to track and document progress and to help inform the planning and transformation initiative.

The Workgroup has recommended that an active stakeholder review council be appointed to facilitate ongoing implementation of the plan. Stakeholders will include individuals with ID, families, advocates, providers, and DDS to monitor progress.

As noted above, the Employment Workgroup has recommended several areas for further exploration, which include:

  • Redesigning CBDS programs to provide career exploration, discovery process, and soft skills training;

  • Establishing a “state set-aside” that requires state contractors to hire a certain percentage of individuals with disabilities through potential legislation or an executive order;

  • Strategizing how to effectively capitalize on new regulations for federal contractors regarding requirements to hire a certain percentage of individuals with disabilities that will help expand job opportunities;

  • Obtaining “real-time” labor market information and tools to assist in job development;

  • Expanding different business sector skills-based/internship training models, such as Project SEARCH;

  • Working closely with the Department of Transportation and EOHHS to develop more options for individuals going to and from work;

  • Defining best practice models for social enterprise, microenterprise, and affirmative industries that meets U.S. Department of Labor standards; and

  • Developing a regional structure of DDS and provider staff to support local implementation of the plan’s goals and activities.

As the plan is implemented, specific additional resources may be needed to sustain system changes, particularly staff training and expansion of employment collaboratives. Some of these areas could potentially be funded by other parts of state government (MRC, DESE, LWD) in partnership with DDS.


To build a sustainable future of improved employment opportunities for individuals with ID, it is important to strengthen partnerships with education and other state agencies that provide employment services. Some preliminary ideas and opportunities for increased inter-agency collaboration and coordination are identified below.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE): Some important areas for future development include: (a) developing common expectations for a vision and goals of integrated employment for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and (b) expanding access to relevant educational curricula that provides career exploration, skills training, and employment experiences prior to transitioning from school. Opportunities to share information with families on promising practices in local schools and to help expand these options, especially as it relates to the re-design of services for 18 to 22 year olds on employment opportunities and community-based experiences, is an area of focus. Central to these efforts are communication and partnership between DDS area offices, local schools, MRC, and employment provider agencies to help facilitate better transition and employment outcomes. This is especially critical given that DDS is in a position to provide long-term supports individuals may need when they graduate high school. Improved coordination with schools is very important since research has clearly demonstrated that students with disabilities who have employment experiences while in school are much more likely to be employed as adults.

Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC): There are many ways MRC and DDS can work together more effectively to increase integrated employment. MRC and DDS are committed to expanding utilization of an existing memorandum of agreement (MOA) that is focused on joint planning and cost-sharing of employment services for transition-age young adults with ID who are eligible for both MRC and DDS services. Through this cost-sharing approach, MRC can provide funding for assessment, skills training, job development, and initial supports through Competitive Integrated Employment Services (CIES), with a commitment from DDS to fund long-term, ongoing job-related supports. In addition, MRC and DDS will explore other models of cost-sharing services for individuals attending sheltered workshops or CBDS programs to access specific services, such as job development through CIES, as a way to bridge transition from a day program to employment in the community. This type of coordination will be more cost-effective and lead to better outcomes. Other common interest areas for development include: (a) partnerships with local schools; (b) support of innovative service models, especially for transition-age young adults; (c) staff training opportunities, for example benefits planning or building expertise on specialized needs of different groups; and (d) strategies to access job opportunities with federal contractors.

Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD): LWD and DDS will explore potential ways workforce investment boards and career centers may be able to better assist in meeting employment goals of individuals with ID. DDS is a state partner in a three-year federal grant (Disability Employment Initiative) that LWD received from the U.S. Department of Labor. Disability resource coordinators will be hired at four career centers that have been identified as pilot sites, and DDS will participate as part of local teams to support access for individuals with ID to career center services. Other areas for future development include: (a) develop effective working relationships between career centers and provider agencies to assist individuals with ID to access training resources and job leads; (b) access to training funds and youth summer employment opportunities; and (c) capitalize on job leads and employment connections and trends through the regional employment collaboratives.

Massachusetts is part of a national movement to improve employment outcomes for individuals with ID. It has been clearly demonstrated over the last two decades that many individuals who were previously considered unemployable due to their disability can work successfully in integrated jobs through careful job matching and support design. Employers and community members have also demonstrated that they are capable of providing necessary supports and assistance for individuals with ID working in the community. These natural supports are supplemented by provider staff support and services when required.

The theme of partnership is very important and central to the mission to help individuals obtain jobs that pay minimum wage or higher in the community. It requires strong partnerships among individuals with ID and their families and/or guardians, employment and day program provider agencies, businesses, DDS staff, EOHHS, and other community organizations and entities. There are many social and economic benefits for both individuals and employers when individuals with disabilities are successfully employed. Massachusetts, under the Patrick Administration, has an opportunity to become a national leader in the development of inclusive work opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Work makes me feel good, it’s freedom. … I meet new people every day.”

I like it because I’m getting paid and it makes me feel independent.”
It gives you a since of respect.”
- Quotes from adults with ID working in the community

Appendix A: Workgroup Members

  • Larry Tummino, Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services Deputy Commissioner

Core members

  • Bruce Bird, Vinfen President and Chief Executive Officer

  • Gary Blumenthal, ADDP President and Chief Executive Officer

  • Gail T. Brown, New England Village Executive Director

  • Daniel Burke, Lifeworks Inc and The Arc of South Norfolk President and CEO

  • Mary Lee Daniels, Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services, Berkshire Area Office Director

  • Bob Harris, CLASS Inc/Arc of Greater Lawrence President

  • Don Hughes, Riverside Community Care Associate Division Director for Clubhouse and Employment Services

  • Joe Krajewski, Community Connections Vice President of Programs

  • Kelly Lawless, Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services, North Shore Area Office Director

  • Barbara L’Italien, The Arc of Massachusetts Director of Government Affairs

  • Amanda D. Nichols, ADDP Director of Programs and Analysis

  • Richard Royse, East Middlesex Arc Executive Director

  • Donna Sabecky, Community Connections President and Chief Executive Officer

  • Leo Sarkissian, The Arc of Massachusetts Executive Director

  • Sharon Smith, Work Inc. Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

  • Margaret Van Gelder, Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services Statewide Director of Family and Employment Support

  • Tara Hopper Zeltner, ADDP Director of Governmental Affairs

Guest contributors

  • Charles Carr, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission Commissioner

  • Victor Hernandez, Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services Deputy Assistant Commissioner

  • David Hoff, Institute for Community Inclusion/UMass Boston Program Director

  • David Kent, Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services, Worcester Area Office Area Director

  • Jennifer James Price, Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Undersecretary
    • Cindy Thomas, Institute for Community Inclusion/UMass Boston Coordinator of Employment Services, Training, and Technical Assistance

  • Teri Valentine, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Special Education Planning and Policy Development

Guest providers

  • Colleen Brosnan, Sunshine Village Director of Day Services

  • Colt Duckworth, Kennedy Donovan Center Transitional Jobs Coach Program Coordinator

  • Char Gentes, Riverside Industries, Inc. President/Chief Executive Officer

  • Gina Golash, Sunshine Village Executive Director

  • Jean Goldsberry, Minute Man Arc Executive Director

  • Jeannine Pavlak, New England Business Associates Executive Director

  • Phil Philbin, Seven Hills Assistant Vice President

Appendix B: Service Definitions
Center-Based Work Services (activity code 3169)
Center-based work services (“sheltered workshops”) are essentially work preparatory services that are delivered in segregated settings and that provide supports leading to the acquisition, improvement, and retention of skills and abilities that prepare an individual for work and community participation. Services are not predominantly job-task oriented, but are intended to address underlying generalized habilitative goals, such as increasing a participant’s attention span and completing assigned tasks, goals that are associated with the successful performance of compensated work. It is intended that the service should be time-limited to assist individuals to move into supported employment options. This service must be provided in compliance with Department of Labor (DOL) requirements for compensation.
Individual Supported Employment (activity code 3168)
An individual receives assistance from a provider to obtain a job based on identified needs and interests. Individuals may receive supports at a job in the community or in a self-employed business. Regular or periodic assistance, training and support are provided for the purpose of developing, maintaining and/or improving job skills, and fostering career advancement opportunities. Natural supports are developed by the provider to help increase inclusion and independence of the individual within the community setting. Employees should have regular contact with co-workers, customers, supervisors and individuals without disabilities and have the same opportunities as their non-disabled co-workers. Individuals are generally paid by the employer, but in some circumstances may be paid by the provider agency.
Group Supported Employment (activity code 3181)
A small group of individuals, (typically 2 to 8), working in the community under the supervision of a provider agency. Emphasis is on work in an integrated environment, with the opportunity for individuals to have contact with co-workers, customers, supervisors, and others without disabilities. Group Supported Employment may include small groups in industry (enclave); provider businesses/small business model; mobile work crews which allow for integration, and temporary services which may assist in securing an individual position within a business. Most often, the individuals are considered employees of the provider agency and are paid and receive benefits from that agency.
Community-Based Day Supports (activity code 3163)
This program of supports is designed to enable an individual to enrich his or her life and enjoy a full range of community activities by providing opportunities for developing, enhancing, and maintaining competency in personal, social and community activities. Services include, but are not limited to, the following service options: career exploration, including assessing interests through volunteer experiences or situational assessments; community integration experiences to support fuller participation in community life; skill development and training; development of activities of daily living and independent living skills; socialization experiences and support to enhance interpersonal skills; and pursuit of personal interests and hobbies.
This service is intended for individuals of working-age who may be on a “pathway” to employment; as a supplemental service for individuals who are employed part-time and need a structured and supervised program of services during the day when they are not working, which may include opportunities for socialization and peer support; and individuals who are of retirement-age and who need and want to participate in a structured and supervised program of services in a group setting.

1 Service definitions are in Appendix B

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