Innovative Policy 2017 on Employment and Vocational Education & Training
State-wide, long-term inclusion in the open labour market
|Responsible body||Department of Disabilities, Ageing and Independent Living (DAIL)|
Vermont’s Supported Employment Programme of 1983 is providing state-wide a full range of services that enable people with developmental disabilities to access and succeed in integrated competitive employment, including person-centred planning, meaningful job matches, full inclusion in the workforce, and creative strategies that broaden employment opportunities. By 2002, Vermont had closed all sheltered workshops. Today, 48 per cent of Vermonters receiving developmental disabilities services are employed in the regular workforce, all of whom are paid at Vermont minimum wage or higher.
Approximately 75 per cent (420,000) of Americans with developmental disabilities are in sheltered work- shop settings or in non-work programmes, where as only 25 per cent are in community-based supported employment. Following a state/federal-funded pilot, Supported Employment became an authorized statewide funded programme in 1983, per a new service category developed by the U.S. Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services and reflected in Vermont’s State System of Care Plan. This was further strengthened by Vermont’s Developmental Disability Act of 1996. In 2002, Vermont closed its last sheltered workshop; and in 2008 it clearly prescribed that Medicaid may fund neither workshops nor congregate work.
«Employment in Vermont is the cornerstone for enabling individuals with disabilities to be included in the full fabric of living and participating in one’s community.»
Vermont’s Supported Employment Programme of 1983 is overseen by DAIL’s Developmental Disabilities Services Division (DDSD) in partnership with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), and is implemented by 16 non-profit agencies. The programme provides a full range of community-based services that enable people with developmental disabilities to secure paid employment in regular settings. New funding for the programme focuses on transition-aged youth (up to 26 years). Services are specified in an individualized plan, e.g., person-centred planning, job search, accommodation, on-the-job training, follow-up services, and career enhancement. Equipment and transportation may also be provided. Highly independent workers often work 26–63 hours per week, and workers requiring staffed support may receive up to 25 hours per week of job-site support. Appeals related to service provision are made to the Human Services Board. The annual budget is provided by DDSD (US$9–10 million) and by DVR (US$1.3 million).