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Public Sector Employment


State, county and municipal employment would appear to be logical choices for pursuing employment for persons with developmental disabilities.  Diversity data from these employers suggest that they both welcome and accommodate diversity in their workplaces.  However, a survey conducted in 1988 by O’Neill and Associates, Seattle, WA, revealed that not one person with a developmental disability worked in the14,000 person King County workforce, nor among the 10,000 plus city employees of Seattle, and only a few positions were held in the entire state workforce.  With a 1989 grant from the federal Rehabilitation Services Administration, O’Neill and Associates launched a major initiative to expand government employment in state, county and local governments.

As of January 2002, over 225 persons with developmental disabilities have joined those workforces, the majority of which are in clerical support.  These employees earn an average of $18,000/year, and enjoy full medical, dental, retirement, and other benefits.  Approximately 25% have taken advantage of promotions and other career advancement opportunities.  This effort is being successfully replicated in communities throughout Washington State.

Employees with developmental disabilities who have been hired into these well-paying jobs have purchased homes, taken exotic trips, married, helped to pay for younger siblings college education, etc. 

The seminar will focus on: an expansion of these outcomes; how this effort is being marketed and funded, and the impact on Human Resources recruitment and hiring practices.  We will also spend time speaking about individuals and their jobs, job restructuring and some innovative technology that is being utilized to ensure productive outcomes for both the employer and employee.  In addition, potential and real barriers to obtaining and maintaining these jobs will be discussed, as well as very specific strategies to overcome those barriers.  Plan to attend a very uplifting seminar, where real world struggles and successes will be illustrated.