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Press Release: New UMass Boston Center Focuses on Employment for People with Intellectual Disabilities

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Originally published: 4/2015

Boston, Massachusetts: A new research and training center based at the University of Massachusetts Boston will develop and test support models and analyze policies that help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities find quality employment.

The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Advancing Employment for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is funded by a five-year, $4,375,000 grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) in the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The center’s work will address four areas: 1) information, outreach, and support for individuals with disabilities and their families; 2) strengthening the effectiveness of direct support professionals who help individuals find and maintain jobs; 3) organizational change strategies that allow community rehabilitation providers to target resources towards employment; and 4) analysis of state and national policies and their impact across state agencies that provide employment supports.

The goal of this multi-level approach is to increase integrated employment for all individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and to influence policy and strategy that establish employment as the priority outcome for state service systems.

The center is based at the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI), a research and training institute within the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development at UMass Boston. ICI’s partners on the grant include The Arc of the United States, the Research and Training Center on Community Living at the University of Minnesota, the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE), and APSE (the Association of People Supporting Employment First).

The center will join the ICI’s rich network of projects related to disability inclusion, and will support the grant partners’ existing work in this area. A network of advisors, including self-advocates with intellectual and developmental disabilities, will extend the project’s effectiveness. Planned activities include webinars featuring thought leaders in the field of disability employment.

The center’s website is http://thinkwork.org/rrtc/.

ICI: promoting inclusion for people with disabilities