As Disability Employment Month kicks off in the month of October 2019, the theme is “Right Talent, Right Now”. This theme embraces the great strides that have been made for the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workforce and truly celebrates the skills and talents they bring to the table. We are no longer looking to employment models that segregate people with disabilities, but rather using Customized Employment (CE) approaches that match people’s strengths, interests and training to the needs of the employer and their business.

Customized Employment is a process driven concept focusing on the individual and assumes that competencies discovered in natural settings can transfer to skills used in the workforce. CE uses a discovery approach to gather information from the individual and the team to outline the job seeker’s interests, skills and preferences as it correlates to employment. The information gathered during the discovery process will aid in developing a plan toward meaningful employment and to define a list of potential employers.

The Customized Employment approach creates a mutually beneficial relationship between a candidate and an employer, both seeking a customized fit that fulfills the needs of the employer with the talents and wants of the candidates with disabilities.

Employers and businesses benefit from the Customized Employment model in the following ways:

  • Pre-screen applicants and job matching
  • Vital role in job retention efforts
  • Adds diversity to the workforce
  • Attracting a broader customer base
  • Increased tax benefits

Customized Employment incorporates person center planning, so that we focus on the individual needs of each job seeker. When we focus solely on the individual, we realize that once a candidate with disabilities is placed in competitive integrated employment, post-employment supports may be needed for the overall success on the job. Post-employment support may include, but is not limited to a job coach. A job coach can add a great deal of value and ensure satisfaction for both the employee and employer on the workforce. A job coach is there as an advocate. They can assist in providing work accommodations to bridge the gap, so as to guarantee a level playing field skill wise, as well as socially. A job coach can analyze details of the tasks and assist in parts of the training and determine were accommodations could be useful. This again is mutually beneficial to both the employee with disabilities and the employer.

Disability Employment Month reflects a commitment to the presumption of employability for everyone. Let’s continue to view people with disabilities with high expectations. When we focus on matching an individual’s interests, skills and talents with the right business, we look beyond the disability label. We celebrate the individual’s competency and the benefits of including them in the workforce.

By: Karen Navarro, MPA, Career Project Coordinator, Jay Nolan Community Services

We encourage employers to contact the Mayor’s Committee via email at or by phone at (661) 705-7595.