About the Track: See all 22 sessions below!

Career Exploration, Discovery, and Job Development Keywords: Students, Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS), Customized Employment, employer engagement, Disability disclosure, Job development, networking with businesses.

This track corresponds with APSE Universal Competencies, Domains 2 and 3.

PLUS JOIN FRIDAY! Virtual Networking with a focus on the "Career Exploration, Discovery, and Job Development" Track happening Friday, June 18, 2021

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#2021APSE Virtual Conference
14th-18th June 2021

Small group networking opportunities daily

Large all attendee sessions with keynotes and panel speakers

Your registration includes access to the videos after the live event until September 2021
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Monday, June 14, 2021

1:15 PM - 2:15 PM EST

Strategies for Successful Employment

Strategies for Successful Employment will highlight current research related to employment interventions and evidenced-based strategies to increase independence in the workplace. This presentation will also discuss ways to engage employers and list multiple resources for successful employment. Presenters will share specific stories of how utilizing evidence-based practices led to successful employment.

Track 2: Workplace Supports and Job Coaching

Keywords: Competitive Integrated Employment, Inclusion, Employment Support, ASD, Evidence-based practices

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM EST

The Power of Language in Working Toward Employment First

As professionals, it is our responsibility to be able to talk about employment in a way that makes sense for job seekers, families, and others to envision options and raise expectations. It is our responsibility to represent people respectfully and convey what they have to offer a potential employer in a way that makes sense to that business. Our words matter. Terms like person-centered and long-term supports are powerful in our field but don’t mean much to an employer. Our field is often plagued with hints of charity that just don’t resonate in conversations around workforce needs. This session will focus on the impact of our words in targeting our messages and making Employment First a reality.

Keywords: Job development, business language

3:45 PM - 4:45 PM EST

Who Are You Working For? Mindful, Holistic Approach to Employment Services

Being mindful while providing employment service means more than having the employment service skills. It means being present and understanding the person receiving the services – their needs, wants, and motivations. This individualized approach means understanding the culture, diversity, and intersectionality of the person and the disability community.

Track 2: Workplace Supports and Job Coaching

Keywords: Benefits, Employment, Motivation, Mindful, EmploymentFirst

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

1:15 PM - 2:15 PM EST

Job and Career Exploration: The Discovery Process

One of the five required activities under Pre-Employment Transition Services is Job and Career Exploration. This discovery process begins the search of careers and jobs of interest to students and adults with disabilities, what skills they need for those careers, and additional training to work in those fields. We will look at assessments, web-based resources, and hands-on experiences to learn about jobs and careers in the community. What does the job seeker need to know about the world of work and what tools can be used to customize and best match types of work environments and job skills with employer needs?

Keywords: Career Exploration, Discovery Process

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM EST

Work to Include: Community Building and Employment First

Are you interested in launching an Employment First initiative in your state, or strengthening your current efforts? Join two Work to Include Team Leaders for an engaging and informative discussion of Indiana’s efforts during the past two years to enact a grassroots “bottom-up” Coalition led by individuals with disabilities, and a “top-down” statewide policy and systems change initiative to advance Employment First. Activities and strategies will be shared, and the audience will be invited to share your experiences.

Keywords: Coalition Building, Community, promoting employment

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM EST

Work-Related Experiences: Legal and Practical Guidelines

Volunteer work, internships, and unpaid job exploration can be effective strategies for individuals with disabilities looking to gain work-related experience. So can assessments and training at places of business. However, such activities must be undertaken carefully, with a clear understanding of the purpose of these activities. All parties must know what is permitted from a legal perspective, as well as practical considerations regarding the appropriate use of volunteer and unpaid work experiences. Learn about the different types of experiences and what’s allowed, review relevant case studies, and discuss best practices in paid/unpaid work experience as a tool toward accomplishing competitive, integrated, employment.

Track 2: Workplace Supports and Job Coaching

Keywords: Guidance and Regulations, Internship, Apprenticeship, Unpaid Work Experience, Job Exploration


3:45 PM - 4:45 PM EST

The Intersectionality of Race, Disability, and Employment Through the Project SEARCH Lens

This session will introduce attendees to the Project SEARCH internship training program, which is designed to improve employment outcomes for young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The presenters will discuss Project SEARCH intern demographics (e.g., disability category, secondary diagnoses, racial/ethnic backgrounds, and geographic location of residence). The presenters will then discuss intern demographics as a potential factor in the rate and quality of employment following completion of the Project SEARCH program.

Track 2: Diversity in Employment Services

Keywords: diversity, equity, inclusion, employment

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

1:15 PM - 2:15 PM EST

Supported Employment Asset Mapping

While the pandemic has devastated countless industries nationwide, communities are reemerging together, determined to build back in ways that foster new relationships and partnerships. Asset mapping is the process of organizing a community around a single issue. When applied to integrated, competitive employment, asset mapping enrolls a wide range of stakeholders to capture a more expansive picture of the resources, needs, and opportunities that exist in any community. The result is not only a deeper understanding of the employment landscape as we emerge from COVID-19, but also a more comprehensive analysis of local resources that can be used to support integrated and meaningful lives of individuals with I/DD. In addition, the collaborations and partnerships that are forged in this process often lead to greater community understanding and support of the goals and values of Employment First.

Keywords: Job Development, Asset Mapping, Relationship Building

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM EST

Secure Your Financial Future - Introducing a Toolkit for Individuals with Disabilities

This session will introduce a new online Financial Toolkit, developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, for people that are experiencing new levels of financial stress and unemployment. The toolkit provides job seekers with disabilities and staff in the workforce system with critical financial engagement/literacy considerations throughout the work lifecycle: 1) Preparing for a job, 2) Starting a job, 3) Maintaining a job, 4) Changing or Losing a job, and 5) Retiring.

Track 2: Workplace Supports and Job Coaching

Keywords: Financial, Career Development, Benefits Counseling

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM EST

What Businesses Want

The use of readily available assistive technology (AT) has emerged as an important tool in self-management, virtual, and remote employment supports. We are at a point where consideration of technology is no longer an “extra”, but part of the core considerations and competencies necessary for successful employment. Attendees will learn how the Missouri Technology First initiative has been integrated within the state’s Employment First efforts, and is building AT competency among service providers, front line staff, and individuals with disabilities. We will share how this effort has gone well beyond simply understanding apps and devices, and uses a systematic person-centered approach focused on individual’s needs and preferences, the employment environment, the issue to be addressed, whether/how technology can be used to address the issue and implementation of technology options. Strategies developed during the pandemic for use of AT at a national level will also be discussed, with implications for the long-term.

Keywords: Job Development, Employer Perspective, Employer Champion, Professional Networking

3:45 PM - 4:45 PM EST

Next Step: The Career Path Project

Too often, people with disabilities struggle to find employment and those who do work remain in low-paid jobs that do not offer them the ability to use the full range of their skills and talents. In January 2017, Job Path started a project to address this problem using Customized Employment strategies. We will highlight our experience with the project, share stories (and challenges) as we assist people in obtaining not only jobs but meaningful careers. We define career advancement as opportunities for progress in education, training, and work experience.

Track 2: Workplace Supports and Job Coaching

Keywords: Customized Employment, Career Development, Job Development, Benefits Counseling

Thursday, June 17, 2021

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EST

Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Services with Strong Mental Health and Vocational Rehabilitation Partnerships

Panels of Mental Health and Vocational Rehabilitation teams from Missouri and Utah will describe their partnerships and how effective services are provided through each state’s unique collaborative efforts.


1:15 PM - 2:15 PM EST

Have You Heard? Groundbreaking Employment First Legislation Passed! Find out Why, How, Lessons Learned and Next Steps

This session will include a review of how Employment First legislation was written and passed with funding to professionalize our thriving supported employment workforce. We will share the process for getting stakeholder input, alongside collaboration with nationally recognized training and certification entities, and how these partnerships strengthened not only our legislation, but Colorado’s vision for what it means to be an Employment First state. We will also include operational strategies, including; meeting employment specialists where they are, making sure employment specialists know this is an investment in them, and providing the flexibility in a diverse array of training options including remote learning. To conclude we will provide lessons learned, our path sustainability and how this opportunity can be applicable to your workforce and most importantly the current and future impact on people with disabilities getting and keeping great jobs.

Track 2: Diversity in Employment Services

Keywords: Public Policy, Funding, Training and Certification, Remote Learning, Core Competencies


2:30 PM - 3:30 PM EST

Finding Your Voice: Using Self-Advocacy for Optimal Employment Results

Self-advocacy is one of the most critical skills to employment success for individuals with disabilities, but one of the least discussed. Effectively being able to represent one’s self makes all the difference during the job search and while maintaining employment. This presentation will provide some tried-and-true strategies to improve general self-advocacy skills as well how to use it at every stage of the employment process & during networking opportunities. Service providers will also learn how to encourage these tips within their clients to help them achieve ideal employment outcomes.

Keywords: self-advocacy, networking, mental health

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM EST

Understanding Impact of COVID-19 on Disability Employment Services and Outcomes: Results from a Provider Survey in the U.S. and Canada
In 2020 and 2021 employment and day service providers responded to three rounds of the APSE survey on the impact of COVID-19 on disability employment services and outcomes. Staff from the Institute for Community Inclusion in collaboration with APSE leadership analyzed the results of the surveys. This presentation will share the results of the analysis and offer recommendations to assist providers to recover from the pandemic and continue to enhance their employment services.

Keywords: COVID-19, statistics, survey, providers

3:45 PM - 4:45 PM EST

Shining a Light on Disability Disclosure: Mental Health Conditions

Disclosing a disability may be a consideration when starting a new job; transitioning from school, another job, or unemployment; or retaining a job after acquiring a disability. As with any new experience, knowledge and preparation are vital. This interactive session aims to share our expertise and encourage dialogue among participants. We will focus on disability disclosure for individuals with mental health conditions, but our tips and solutions will work for other disabilities as well. The information provided will be beneficial to both seasoned professionals and those new to the field, job applicants, and family members.

Keywords: Disability Disclosure, Workplace

Friday, June 18, 2021


1:15 PM - 2:15 PM EST

The Importance of Customized Job Development Fidelity

Customized employment (CE) emerged as a promising practice that leads to improved employment outcomes for people with significant disabilities. Despite the utility of CE, however, there remain gaps in research that establish fidelity to the customized job development process. The purpose of this presentation is to describe a Delphi study that sought to generate consensus among CE experts about acceptable and not acceptable CE job development fidelity descriptors outlined on the customized employment job development fidelity scale (JDFS) developed by Hall and Keeton (2018).

Keywords: Customized Employment, Job Development, Fidelity

1:15 PM - 2:15 PM EST

A Macro and Micro View on Employment Support Services for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Case Studies and Stakeholder Perspectives

This session will offer a micro and macro lens on current practices regarding the employment of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). On a micro level, individual case examples of processes successfully used within a large business to customize jobs and promote employer engagement will be presented. Strategies addressing pandemic related challenges will be discussed. The processes described will also be linked to the findings of a macro level national survey of stakeholders (e.g., persons with IDD, family members, transition educators, employment support staff and researchers) regarding the availability, feasibility, affordability, and satisfaction with various types of evidence-based employment support services.

Keywords: Customized Employment, Job Development, Stakeholder Input, Employer Engagement


1:15 PM - 2:15 PM EST

We Can Work Too! Exploring Job Development for those with Prader Willi and Other Exceptional Populations

Job Development for special populations can be challenging especially when seeking opportunities for those with Prader-Willi syndrome. This syndrome is growing in prevalency since its initial observation in the 1960’s and has become a growing community entering the employment field. Due to the intricacies of the syndrome such as hyperphagia, gastric issues, hypotonia and more job development and networking is crucial in successful employment placement.

Track 2: Workplace Supports and Job Coaching

Keywords: Job Development

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM EST

Aligning Outcomes and Services: Colorado’s State Transition Team Coordinates Efforts to Enhance the Success for Youth and Students with Disabilities

Learn how Colorado brought together thoughtful state level leaders to develop a framework for how to better serve and coordinate services for students and youth with disabilities. Through collaborative brainstorms and diving into group work to define postsecondary outcomes and services, Colorado will be able to implement a new framework and support local efforts impacting students and youth’s individual lives. This session will educate on the importance of Colorado’s transition efforts to create a shared vision, align the state messaging and training efforts for educators, vocational rehabilitation, families and service providers.

Track 2: Funding and Managing Employment Services and Teams

Keywords: Service coordination, Raising Expectations, Students with Disabilities, Transition, Postsecondary Outcomes

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM EST

Virtual Networking to Land the Job

Getting paid employment starts with you. In this session, you will learn strategies on how to map your current network, think about possible networks, and take advantage of virtual networks. The presenter will also share their experience in finding paid employment and give examples of virtual events and how they led to paid employment.

Keywords: Virtual Job Development, Virtual Networking, Job Development Resources

3:45 PM - 4:45 PM EST

Bringing Light to the Prairie

Customized Employment is not a new concept nationally, however, rural North Dakota (ND) struggled with completing the process because of a lack of knowledge, resources, and true efficacy. What started out as a three-year pilot project training Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) to explore and implement innovative Customized Employment strategies, has evolved into a statewide Customized Employment initiative. Our session will include a panel discussion with state partners, agency staff, employers, job seekers and their families focusing on how Customized Employment caused a shift in thinking about employment for individuals with disabilities.

Keywords: Customized Employment, Rural, Advocacy