Innovative Policy 2021 on Employment and ICT

Government-led training and hiring services for people with intellectual disabilities

The State of Vermont Post-Secondary Education (PSE) Initiative promotes college education and industry-based career training for transition-age youth with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities, and access to lifelong learning. The policy aim is for enhancing the employment options in the open labour market. In 2019 over 200 young people and adults participated across 19 transition, education, or life-long learning programmes. PSE graduates have an 84 per cent employment rate.

“Being in my English class and having a super great professor makes me happy and excited.”

About the policy at a glance
Laws and regulations involved:State of Vermont Transition and Post-Secondary Education Initiative
Responsible Body:University of Vermont – Center on Disability and Community Inclusion
of Implementation
United States of America


  • Employment rate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Vermont is 49 per cent compared to a national rate of 20 per cent
  • Each year over 200 people participate across 19 high school transition, post-secondary education, and life-long learning programmes


The state of Vermont offers a variety of educational and vocational training programmes, but differences among them are often confusing to participants.


The state of Vermont works with selected implementation partners in post-secondary education facilities (‘provider agencies’) that organize three services to support training and education for people with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities (DD/ID). The first two programmes target the employment of young persons, while the third provides life-long adult learning opportunities.  Business contacts are organized through the Vermont Job Developers’ Association, where job developers organize a unified approach to employers.

The Work Experience Program funds employers during the time of the job matching, which helps to motivate employers to offer new jobs without too much risk.
The companies themselves do not receive direct financial incentives.
Graduates of the post-secondary education programmes have an 84 per cent employment rate. These results have led to Vermont having a 49 per cent employment rate of people with DD/ID.

Two women stand in a catering kitchen, laughing and smiling. Full cups of grapes are arranged on a tray in front of them.

Think College student Madeline interns in the catering department


Funding of the three programmes is provided by the federal Medicaid Waiver, which allows states to provide care or support for certain groups.

All programme partners cooperate under the state umbrella, which guarantees financial stability for all organizations involved, enabling long-term planning. This is one of the pillars for the programme’s success over the years.

In the coming years, the project will work to incorporate its post-secondary education support services into State Medicaid Rules as a reimbursable service.


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