Overview of Customized Employment

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Overview of the Course

Customized employment is a process for individualizing the employment relationship between a job seeker and an employer in ways that meet the needs of both. It is based on a match between the unique strengths, needs, and interests of the job candidate with a disability, and the identified business needs of the employer or the self-employment business chosen by the candidate. Customized employment uses a flexible blend of strategies, services, supports, and funds to facilitate employment outcomes for job seekers with complex needs through negotiated employment relationships.

The customized employment process involves three key steps. First, job seeker exploration and discovery lays the foundation for planning. Second, customized planning occurs to determine the direction for the job search. Third, job negotiations occur resulting in a job description that outlines a customized relationship between the employer and employee. This course will take a closer look at customized employment and how it can facilitate employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. It will also review strategies for collaboration and braiding funding to support the needs of an individual with a disability in order to be successfully employed in the community.

The course will cover these important topics on customized employment and more:

  • Principles and Indicators of Customized Employment
  • Relationship to Supported Employment
  • Role of a Personal Representative or Employment Specialist
  • Strategies for Exploration and the Discovery Process
  • Personal Profiles
  • Informational Interviewing
  • Job Negotiations
  • Employment Proposals
  • Funding Strategies

This online course is an introduction to customized employment. Participants earn a certificate of completion, which is not a certificate for providing the service.

Course Lessons and Learning Objectives:

Lesson 1:  Overview of Customized Employment

  • Describe the principles associated with a customized employment approach to employment.
  • Identify indicators that must be present for a process to be considered customized employment.
  • Explain how customized employment differs from the individualized approach to supported employment.
  • Describe the role of a personal representative or an employment specialist.
  • Explain some of the advantages of using a personal representative rather than self-representation.
  • List how employment professionals can support individuals who choose to self-represent.

Lesson 2:  Job Seeker Exploration

  • Explain the importance of "exploration" in customized employment and how this information is used in the planning process.
  • Recognize a variety of strategies that can be used to facilitate Discovery or Exploration in the customized employment process.
  • Describe some tools that can be used to capture, organize and present information that is collected during exploration.
  • Explain how to address issues related to consent and confidentiality in the pre-employment process.
  • Recognize some steps to follow when a positive decision to disclose to an employer is made.

Lesson 3: Employer Negotiations

  • Describe reasons why an employer may be willing to consider customizing a job.
  • Discuss ways to become acquainted with business employment needs.
  • Develop an employment proposal that can be used during job negotiation.

Lesson 4:  Job Site Supports

  • Identify how job site supports can be used to facilitate independence in the workplace.
  • Discuss ongoing customization of job duties and worker responsibilities to advance workers with disabilities in their chosen careers.

Course Details

ALL instruction is web based. The lectures are in audio format, and you must meet the technical requirements for the course as described below to benefit from the course. Information for a specific lesson will be available by 9:00 am E.T. on the first date listed for any given lesson and remain available any time of day for one week. The course includes four lessons. Each lesson lasts one week and should take approximately four hours to complete.  Weekly lessons include pre and post assessment, audio lectures, activities and select readings. All participants will be assigned to groups. These groups will be asked to correspond with each other during the course through various assignments. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to post comments on the course bulletin boards and ask questions of nationally known experts in customized employment.

Participants can earn 1.6 CEUs or 16 CRCs upon course completion. A certificate of completion will be issued to all participants who complete all course assignments. Participants MUST finish all required assignments within the specified time frame in order to be eligible to receive CEUs, CRCs and/or the certificate of completion from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Technical Requirements: Your computer must have a sound card, speakers, and Adobe Acrobat Reader (free software). You will be able to log on to the course at any time of the day and access the audio lectures. Each person MUST have an individual e-mail account, or we cannot accept your registration. If the individual does not already have an account, a free one can be set up through https://www.gmail.com. We send updates on the course activities and feedback on course activities through e-mail contact. Participants must be able to receive and send messages in order to benefit from this online experience. We cannot correspond with participants through an e-mail address that is assigned to another person.

If you have questions about the technology applications, please contact Lucian Friel at (804) 827-1434. If you have content questions, please email Katie Thompson.