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Anyone Can Work: An Introduction to Customized Employment

In Employment Articles, Featured, News by eri

Anyone can work.  That is a fact and the foundation for customized employment.  

What Is Customized Employment?

Customized employment is a strategy for connecting job seekers and employers.   It works for job seekers who have a disability and have experienced challenges gaining employment through traditional ways.  It also works for employers with unmet business needs that can be met through unconventional approaches.

The result of connecting a job seeker’s unique abilities and interests with an employer’s unmet needs is a job that benefits both the employer and employee. It’s real work that helps businesses with their bottom line, and pay is comparable to what any employee would earn for similar work.

“Customized employment benefits both the employer and employee,” states John Fuller, ERI’s Employment Services Director. “It doesn’t depend on employers being “charitable,” but rather appeals to their desire to run a business more efficiently.”

Supporting Job Seekers with Significant Disabilities

Any job seeker can use customized employment strategies. However, job seekers with the most significant disabilities have traditionally been excluded from employment due to the pre-set demands of competitive personnel practices. Customized employment provides a strategy to navigate these challenges and support the job seeker to achieve employment goals.

Flexible Strategies Driven by the Job Seeker

Customized employment happens through the use of flexible strategies including:

  • Job exploration by the job seeker, with or without assistance.
  • Representation by a professional chosen by the job seeker, or self-representation, in working with an employer to:
    • Customize a job description based on current employer needs or on previously unidentified and unmet employer needs;
    • Develop a set of job duties, a work schedule, specifics of supervision (including performance evaluation and review), and determining a job location; and
    • Set up services and supports at the job location.

It’s a Win-Win

Anyone can work. Customized employment can result in employment that is beneficial both to the employer and employee with significant disabilities. It’s a win-win.


For more information about customized employment, check out these resources:

Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center (WINTAC)


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