Resources for New Employment Leads or a Refresh for Current Leads

As an employment lead for your state IDD agency, new or veteran, it can be overwhelming. You likely have multiple responsibilities, not all directly focused on employment. How do you keep employment front and center in your state? Where can you find resources and support? Here are some good places to start! 

The U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is the only non-regulatory federal agency that promotes policies and coordinates with employers and all levels of government to increase workplace success for people with disabilities. Their mission is to develop and influence policies and practices that increase the number and quality of employment opportunities for people with disabilities. They sponsor 6 policy development and technical assistance resources:  

Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) 

Job Accommodation Network (JAN) 

National Center on Leadership for Employment and Economic Advancement of People with Disabilities (LEAD Center) 

Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT) 

Center for Advancing Policy on Employment for Youth (CAPE-Youth) 

Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship (PIA) 

ODEP also runs many programs with a myriad of resources including taking part in development of the National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) theme and marketing materials, hosting the Employment First Community of Practice monthly webinar series, support for increasing competitive integrated employment and much more! 


The Administration for Community Living (ACL) was created around the fundamental principle that older adults and people of all ages with disabilities should be able to live where they choose, with the people they choose, and with the ability to participate fully in their communities. Their mission is to maximize the independence, well-being, and health of older adults, people with disabilities across the lifespan, and their families and caregivers. 

ACL funds services and supports, research, education, and innovation in a wide variety of areas. Of note is the Disability Employment Technical Assistance Center (DETAC). DETAC has many resources, offers on-demand technical assistance, and hosts a national community of practice with monthly webinars. The ACL also supports resources for State Councils on Developmental Disabilities which are federally funded, self-governing organizations charged with identifying the most pressing needs of people with developmental disabilities in their state or territory. Councils are committed to advancing public policy and systems change that help these individuals gain more control over their lives. Each council creates their own strategic plan to prioritize their work. If you are not already familiar with the council in your state, we recommend that you learn more about them and any relevant work they are doing around employment. You can find and connect with the Council on Developmental Disabilities in your state through the ‘State Councils on Developmental Disabilities: Program Contacts’ tab at the bottom of the State Councils on Developmental Disabilities webpage. 


In 2018, the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) celebrated their 50th anniversary as a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD). President John F. Kennedy launched the UCEDD network in 1963, and today UCEDDs are located at public universities in every U.S. state and territory. The goal is to empower all citizens, with and without disabilities, to fully participate in community settings. This includes workplaces, health care facilities, schools, and everywhere else where people engage with one another. Each UCEDD has their own areas of focus in their work. If you are not already familiar with the UCEDD in your state, we recommend that you learn more about them and any relevant work they are doing around employment. You can find and connect with the UCEDD in your state through the Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) directory of UCEDDs.  

As a member of the UCEDD network, ICI provides training, technical assistance, service, research, and information sharing, with a focus on ending disability-based discrimination and exclusion and building the capacity of communities to sustain all their citizens. This work is done through projects like the SELN. A few others to learn more about include:  

Think College 

Think Work 

State Data 

Explore VR 


The National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) mission is to assist member state agencies in building person-centered and culturally and linguistically appropriate systems of services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. They are a membership organization that provides up to date information on Medicaid and related federal legislation, technical assistance, resources, and hosts a listserv that you can ask questions to other states members. They also have innovating projects like the SELN that include:  

Community of Practice: Supporting Families Across the Lifespan 

National Core Indicators - IDD 

Dual Diagnosis Capacity Building Institute  


The Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) is the only national organization focused exclusively on Employment First to facilitate the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace and community. 

 APSE members recognize that everyone has the ability to contribute, and their work should be recognized and rewarded with fair pay, creating inclusive workplaces. Employment enriches and adds meaning to every life, and workplaces and communities are enhanced when they embrace differences. APSE hosts webinars, employment specialist training, state chapters, and provides resources. You can find and connect with the APSE chapter in your state through the APSE state chapter directory.  

Posted by Amy Huppi on Sep 22, 2023 11:16 AM America/New_York


Log in to post a comment.

Back to Blog