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Support Paths to Competitive Integrated Employment

Support Paths to Competitive Integrated Employment

Do you have a disability? Do you want to work in the community and get paid at least $7.25 per hour? Are you having a hard time getting a job?

There are many paths to help you find a job in the community that offers competitive pay and benefits and opportunities to grow your career. Your local Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VR) office can help. You can apply for VR services at any time, whether you are still completing high school, have not worked in many years, or work in a sheltered workshop.

Pathways to Work

If you need support to work, there are many options. Some include:

  1. Supported employment
  2. Customized employment
  3. Internships
  4. College-to-employment programs

What is Supported Employment?

If your disability significantly affects your ability to work, supported employment may be a good option. Through supported employment, a job counselor or coach helps you find a job that matches your skill set and interests. Your job coach will prepare you for job interviews and may even attend them with you. Once you get hired, your job coach will help ensure that you receive on-the-job training. This training is long-term, and may last more than a year. It may include helping you learn and master:

  1. How to complete your new job duties, possibly by breaking large tasks into smaller steps;
  2. How to get along and cooperate with co-workers;
  3. How to take direction from your supervisor; and
  4. How to request things from management, including reasonable accommodations.

In addition to your job coach, other sources of support can be your VR counselor, electronic reminders on your cell phone or smartwatch, and pictures or checklists on paper or your cell phone. Your job coach will work with you to identify the best supports for your needs.

What is Customized Employment?

Customized employment happens when your job coach and an employer create a new job that both meets the employer’s needs and your skill set and talents. Although similar to supported employment, customized employment generally involves more creativity on everyone’s part. Before speaking with potential employers, your job coach may conduct testing and offer experiences to learn more about the type of job that would fit you best.

What is an Internship?

An internship is usually a short-term opportunity to work somewhere and learn basic job tasks and skills. The goal of an internship is to provide hands-on experience at the kind of job or workplace that you are interested in. Internships can be paid or unpaid.

What is a College-to-Employment Program?

Depending on the job you want, you may need a college degree or certificate. Many colleges and vocational or technical schools have a disability resource center that can provide reasonable accommodations to help you succeed. You often need to ask your doctor to submit information about your disability to get help from a disability resource center. Many colleges also offer free tutoring through each academic department.


If you have questions about paths to employment, feel free to contact Indiana Disability Rights using one of the methods below.

Phone: (317) 722-5555

Toll Free Phone: (800) 622-4845