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Welcome to the Massachusetts Employment First E-Newsletter

March 2014
In This Issue

Community Employment Services: What's it Take?

Don't underestimate what it takes to be a good employment specialist! Employment specialists require an extensive skill set in order to be successful at placing and supporting individuals with disabilities. They also must be proficient at many technical and complex tasks. They need to meet constant challenges and deal with multiple stakeholders and priorities every day.


How do you prepare for this?


Organizations must promote opportunities for staff to develop new skills and feel confident in using those skills with job seekers and employers. High-quality training is directly linked to best practices in the field. In addition, opportunities for competency-based training and for certification communicate a message of respect and professionalism, and can provide the foundation for career advancement.   


Core competencies have been established by national organizations dedicated to employment for people with disabilities, such as the Association for Community Rehabilitation Providers (ACRE) and the Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE). These competencies serve as a comprehensive foundation for employment specialist training programs.


But let's talk about real-world results. Does competency-based training lead to improved employment outcomes?


The University of Minnesota and the ICI conducted research on whether a competency-based curriculum would increase staff's effectiveness in assisting job seekers with intellectual or developmental disabilities in finding individual paid employment. Results showed that staff who participated in the training outperformed those who did not get the training by 3.4 placements per employment specialist in the year following the training.


To learn more about the curriculum study, read Improving Job Development Through Training and Mentorship.


For more information about the key elements of an effective training approach, read Effective Training For Employment Consultants: Job Development and Support Strategies

National Certification Endorses and Boosts Professionalism: 

Are You Interested?

Both ACRE and APSE offer certification options for employment professionals.

ACRE works with APSE to ensure that ACRE trainings align with APSE standards. Participating in ACRE training is a valuable way to acquire the skills and knowledge needed for the APSE exam. To learn more about earning an ACRE certificate in MA check out the ACRE Certification Webinar described below.  

Announcing A Variety Of Training Events!

The Blueprint for Success: Employing Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities in Massachusetts identified staff training and professional development as a priority. The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and providers understand that a skilled workforce is a cornerstone of the systems change efforts that are underway in the Commonwealth. 


ICI, in partnership with DDS, is pleased to offer an array of training events for DDS staff and provider direct service staff, supervisors, and managers. Visit our training calendar to see what is coming your way:

ICI is an approved ACRE provider, and the employment supports trainings being offered through our calendar will give registrants the opportunity to earn an ACRE certificate. On March 25th at 10:00 AM, ICI will offer a webinar for individuals and supervisors to learn more about the requirements for earning a Basic Certificate of Achievement in Employment Supports. Individuals seeking the certificate should be sure to register for all six days of Employment Supports Training, as well as this webinar. 

Stay in Touch!

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We hope this information helps. If you have any additional questions please let us know. You can reach the ICI by email at ici@umb.edu.

Institute for Community Inclusion | 617-287-4300 voice | ici@umb.edu  |  www.communityinclusion.org
UMass Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125