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Katherine Inge

The Essential Elements of Customized Employment: The Results of a National Survey with Vocational Rehabilitation Service Providers

Presented By:
Katherine Inge, Ph.D., O.T.R., Virginia Commonwealth University Rehabilitation Research & Training Center
February 26, 2020

Since its emergence in 2001, a body of work has emerged describing customized employment.  Supporters of the approach agree that customized employment is based on the match between the unique strengths, needs, and interests of the job candidate and the identified needs of the employer.  Another important component of customized employment is Discovery or the identification of the individual's needs, strengths, and interests.  However, there is limited information on what practitioners in the field identify as the essential features of customized employment and how effectively customized employment is being implemented.

This webcast will explore the essential elements of customized employment as identified by rehabilitation professionals in the United States.  Using an email listserv of employment specialists and other vocational rehabilitation professionals, VCU conducted a national survey asking the respondents if they felt a specific element was essential to customized employment implementation. They were then asked how well their agencies were implementing these features. Implications of the findings for practice and staff training will be discussed.


Dr. Inge has over 30 years experience providing training and technical assistance including developing and disseminating best practice information on employment for those who have been unemployed or underemployed due to significant disabilities. Currently, she is the Director for VCU's Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employment of People with Physical Disabilities. She is also the Project Coordinator for VCU's subcontract to SEDL's Center on Knowledge Translation for Employment Research. Both of these projects are funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).

She was the Director of START-UP/USA, which was a National Technical Assistance Center for researching self-employment as a viable employment outcome for individuals with significant disabilities. She also was the project director for Region III CRP-RCEP and T-TAP (Training and Technical Assistance for Providers) a national technical assistance center whose mission was to assist agencies in converting their facility-based programs to integrated competitive employment.