Include Me Program support is provided at no cost to districts or families. Program services are funded by a grant from the Bureau of Special Education and by private foundation grants.
Families and school district personnel can contact Nicole Turman, Program Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about participating in the Include Me Program.
An Include Me consultant will work with student teams and families throughout the school calendar year.
The Include Me program supports school districts each year based on a contract outlined with the Bureau of Special Education and our private funders.
The BEIS grants benefit your family through targeted technical assistance, professional development, family consultations, and family educational and leadership opportunities.
The Arc of Pennsylvania can offer information and resources to families. Visit our contact page to complete a request for assistance form or call The Arc of Pennsylvania at 717-234-2621 or 1-877-337-1970.
Family members are the most critical members of the team. When you provide valuable insight and actively participate, the working relationship supports all members of the team.
Contact us at 717-234-2621 or e-mail Lisa Snyder at email@example.com
Customized employment is a negotiated job, that focuses on creating tasks and responsibilities that matches the job seeker’s interests, skills and needs. By creating a customized job, we are able to create a position designed around the job seeker’s abilities. Employers also benefit by hiring someone that is uniquely suited to the challenges and needs of their workplace.
Discovery, Customized Job Development, and Systematic Instruction are 3 separate stages of Customized Employment that are designed to build off one another. The end goal of all of these services is paid, customized employment in the community.
Discovery is the first step to developing a customized job. Discovery is a positive, no-fail assessment of an individual’s strengths, interests and needs. At the end of the process the job seeker will have a plan creating a customized job.
Customized Job Development is the next step, and the second service that ADEPT offers. Customized Job Development takes the plan from Discovery to negotiate with local employers for a custom position. Our staff and consultants trained in customized job development specialists will research, outreach and negotiate for a customized job on behalf of the job seeker.
Systematic Instruction is the third service from The Arc of PA. Systematic Instruction is a form of temporary job support with an emphasis on training the natural supports within the business. Our role with systematic instruction is to build up the capacity for employer’s trainers, supervisors and co-workers to effectively teach new skills to the newly hired individual.
The Arc of Pennsylvania believes that anyone can work. Discovery, Customized Job Development and Systematic Instruction are ideally suited for anyone with an impact of disability that’s struggled with traditional forms of job development or who wants customized employment.
Our services are appropriate for anyone interested in finding employment. Pennsylvania’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), and Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) will fund this service for eligible adults 18 or older. We can also serve students of transition age (14-21) thanks to a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education. Depending on availability, students can receive Discovery to help plan for their transition to work and participate in an internship.
All 3 services are offered by the Pennsylvania’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), and Office of Developmental Programs (ODP). It is recommended that you first speak with your OVR counselor to request these services. You can request for The Arc of Pennsylvania to be your provider or ask for a list of qualified providers available to your region. OVR regional offices - http://www.dli.pa.gov/Individuals/Disability-Services/ovr/Pages/OVR-Office-Directory.aspx
Should OVR be unable to provide these services, ODP can offer Customized Employment through waiver funding. Customized Employment is called Advanced Supported Employment under waiver funding. You will need to work with your supports coordinator and local Mental Health and Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities office to request this service. ODP will provide a list of qualified providers in your area and you can request The Arc of PA as the provider if we are available in your area.
If you are a high school student or know a high school student that could benefit from these services, please contact the ADEPT Program Manager Anthony Chan at firstname.lastname@example.org or the ADEPT Assistant Program Manager Jennifer Hipps at email@example.com. The Arc of Pennsylvania has a contract with Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Special Education to provide a limited number of Discovery services to students free of charge.
Customized Employment is a service that is offered by a number of providers in Pennsylvania. Here is a list of elements to Discovery and Customized Employment that all customers should expect- regardless of their provider.
Essential elements of Discovery:
• Discovery is qualitative and optimistic approach.
• Discovery uses observation, participation with the job seeker, interviews and records reviews as methods of qualitative research
• Discovery determines the individual’s strengths, interests and needs
• Discovery describes the job seeker descriptively rather than evaluative
• Discovery is owned by the individual job seeker. All documents are approved by the job seeker.
• The findings of Discovery are recorded in a narrative profile.
Essential Elements of Customized Employment
• Customized Employment is a mutually beneficial employment opportunity between the employer and the job seeker that emphasizes flexibility.
• The job developer will negotiate job tasks and responsibilities on behalf of the individual
• Each job is customized to the individual’s strengths, interests and needs.
• The job developer should tour the employer’s business to determine a real need and compatibility for the job seeker’s contributions.
The Customized Plan for Employment is a planning meeting to create a blueprint for a customized position for the job seeker based off the information learned in Discovery. This meeting is facilitated by the person who provided Discovery process and it is owned by the job seeker. The job seeker will choose up to 10 individuals to attend this meeting. The goal of the meeting to help shape what the customized job will look like by identifying job tasks related to the job seeker’s interests and skills. All attendees will receive copies of the Discovery profile which outlines the person’s life experiences, strengths, interest, and needs. The attendees will assist the job seeker by providing input, but all final decisions are determined by the job seeker. The outcome of this meeting will be a list of interests, potential job tasks, conditions for successful employment, and potential employers within the community.
The visual resume is a resume that highlights the job seeker’s skills and contributions to an employer. It primarily uses photographs and videos showing the job seeker performing skills related to their desired work. The use of photographs and videos creates a unique and memorable resume for the employer. It also helps highlights the contributions of the job seeker to an employer more so than a traditional 1-page written resume. Its strength is that the pictures and videos will help an employer clearly understand the skills that the job seeker has to offer. The resume can be printed out or shown electronically.
If you are interested in providing these services through the Office Vocational Rehabilitation or Office of Developmental Programs, then you must become certified through an approved trainer. The Arc of Pennsylvania has partnered with Marc Gold and Associates to offer certification training to all interested organizations and individuals in Pennsylvania. Marc Gold is a national leader in Discovery and Customized Employment. They are recognized by both OVR and ODP as an approved certifying entity for Discovery, Customized Job Development, and Systematic Instruction. Please be aware that each service – Discovery, Customized Job Development, and Systematic Instruction – require a separate certification. For example, if you are certified in Discovery, you are not yet qualified to provide services in Customized Job Development or Systematic Instruction. There are also slight differences in the requirements to become qualified in these services between OVR and ODP.
• Must be certified by an OVR approved certifying agency.
• Must provide proof of certification.
• Discovery certification must provide samples of the Discovery profile, customized plan for employment, and visual resume.
ODP Requirements (Listed as Advanced/Enhanced Supported Employment)
• Must be certified by Marc Gold and Associates.
• Must provide proof of certification.
• Must have a BA in a related field or provide copy of diploma and written documentation showing experience in working with individuals with disabilities.