Employment & Daily Activities

Learn how these individuals have built their careers across different industries.

Employment and Daily Activities: How to Start

After a person with an intellectual or developmental disability (I/DD) has completed school, many families don’t know what’s next. There are a wide variety of options for employment and other daily activities available to adults with I/DD. Many people with I/DD work in the community, either independently or in supported employment programs. Others participate in other daily activities and programs.

In determining what options might work best for your family member with I/DD, you should connect with the local I/DD agency or a chapter of The Arc to find out what programs exist in your community.

Competitive Employment

Many people with I/DD are employed in the community alongside people without disabilities and earn competitive wages. This can be achieved with job training provided by the employer, vocational training programs, or at school. Supports in the workplace are important for the success of the person with I/DD.

Supported Employment

Similar to competitive employment, but the major difference is that the person with I/DD is given more long-term support by a job coach or the employer to succeed. The majority of states use Medicaid funding to provide most of their supported employment services.

Connect with the local I/DD agency or a chapter of The Arc to help navigate the Medicaid system and eligibility process in your state. Waiting lists for these services are common. While on a waiting list, consider programs in the community to keep the person with I/DD active. Also consider the vocational rehabilitation system and the one-stop services funded through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

For competitive and supported employment options, it’s important to recognize the potential impact of income on critical support services such as Medicaid community-based services. A chapter of The Arc can help with directing you to those community programs which can provide benefits counseling.

Other Daily Activities and Volunteer Work

Many people with I/DD who are not employed attend day programs or participate in volunteer activities. Volunteer work provides an option to gain additional job training while on a waiting list for supported employment programs. Contact a chapter of The Arc for help identifying options in your area.

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