Customized Employment: Case Study Examples from the VCU-DRRP Research
Jennifer McDonough, M.S., Project Director, Virginia Commonwealth University, Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project on Customized Employment
Michaela Lemieux, M.S., Employment Specialist, VCU-RRTC
Tomoya Lamberson, B.S., Employment Specialist, VCU-RRTC
Customizing jobs happens everyday in businesses across the country. When skills and interests of job seekers with disabilities are matched with work tasks that meet a business need, it is a win-win for all involved. This webcast will highlight customized employment case studies through the perspective of an employee with a disability, their manager and employment specialist. Hear how an individual's interests and skills were identified, a business was approached and tasks identified and finally how the new employee was supported at work.
Jennifer Todd McDonough has been a faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and working in the field of employment for people with disabilities for over 20 years. She earned her M.S. from the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University in Rehabilitation Counseling. Ms. McDonough is the Associate Director of Training at VCU-RRTC. She is also the Project Director for two national research studies - one related to customized employment for transition youth with ASD and/or ID and one related to employer practices of hiring and retaining employees with disabilities. Additionally, Ms. McDonough provides technical assistance and disseminates resources nationally to individuals with disabilities interested in employment. Ms. McDonough is a national expert on Social Security Disability Benefits and Work Incentives. She also serves as the Virginia Project SEARCH Statewide Coordinator and directly oversees four Project SEARCH sites for youth with autism and/or intellectual disabilities. Throughout her career with VCU-RRTC, Ms. McDonough has worked directly with individuals with disabilities assisting them in locating employment and determining accommodation needs.
Michaela Lemieux is an Employment Specialist for VCU's Rehabiliation and Research Center. Michaela Lemieux graduated from Utica College with a Bachelors of Science in Health Studies and Psychology. She then pursued her Masters in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling at VCU and graduated in 2017. She began working at RRTC as an intern in 2016 and became staff in 2017. She recently became a certified rehabilitation counselor.
Tomoya Lamberson is an Employment Specialist for VCU's Rehabiliation and Research Center. Tomoya graduated from the University of Mary Washington in 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Previously he worked as a Mental Health Skill Worker (MHSW) supporting individuals with mental health diagnoses progress towards being independent and self-sufficient. After 2 years in that role, Tomoya became employed with VCU's Rehabilitation Research and Training Center as an Employment Specialist working with individuals to obtain and maintain competitive employment to suit their interests, experience and skills. Currently, he is working toward his Master's degree in Rehabilitative and Mental Health Counseling through the VCU graduate program.