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Welcome to the Massachusetts Employment First E-Newsletter

January 2015
In This Issue

Customizing Jobs for Win-Win Results

Do you run into situations where the job seekers you support don't fit into existing jobs? Don't feel defeated! This is often the case in today's complex economy. Successful job development for people with disabilities is about meeting the specific needs of each job seeker and business.


So how can you meet those needs and achieve great outcomes?


Start by really getting to know the job seeker. Develop a personal profile that brings together all kinds of information about their skills and interests. You may get this information directly from the job seeker, through community experiences together, or from others who know the person well.


The personal profile will help you and the job seeker identify some options for employment. TransCen offers some excellent tools that will be helpful in this process.


Next, explore businesses that align with the job seeker's profile. This is the first step to matching employer needs with the interests and skills that the person can bring to the job.


Identify potential employers, and then schedule an appointment to spend some time learning about their business. Observe keenly and ask the right questions:

  • What are the typical busy times?
  • Are employees working overtime? (Or do they bring in temps?)
  • Are there services the business wishes they could offer, but they lack resources?
  • Are there tasks that many people do that could be done by one person?
  • Are there tasks that take people away from critical jobs?
  • Are there tasks that could be done better, more quickly, or more often?
  • Are there tasks not getting done because no one has the time?
  • If the manager asked staff what they wished they had help with, what would staff say?

Help employers rethink how they operate. Businesses are likely to respond to ideas that will:

  • Save them money
  • Increase their profits
  • Increase production & efficiency
  • Improve customer service
See some opportunities? Put together a proposal demonstrating how the job seeker can meet a business need, creating a win-win for both the employer and the job seeker.

Maggie and AMP:  Putting Customization to Work

Watch Maggie's video to see how her customized job has been such a success.

Maggie at work

 Maggie at Work 


What stands out in Maggie's story?

  • The employer wanted to create a meaningful opportunity for Maggie, and genuinely welcomed her diversity.
  • The office manager researched workplace needs and broke down tasks that were not happening with regularity.
  • The job was custom built for Maggie and meets a business need.

When an employee establishes herself as a member of the team because she is filling unmet needs, she becomes a truly valued worker. She's performing vital tasks that otherwise wouldn't get done.

Bookmark This!

Institute Brief #17 Thumbnail Check out our Institute Brief: When Existing Jobs Don't Fit: A Guide to Job Creation.  


In this brief, you will learn to:

  • Assess when to use job creation techniques as an alternative to more conventional job development and marketing
  • Gather the information you need to identify job creation opportunities
  • Approach employers confidently to pitch and negotiate job creation ideas
  • Use a customized, systematic planning process to implement job creation when assisting job seekers to gain employment

Customized Employment Thumbnail



Customized Employment: Practical Solutions for Employment Success provides a helpful introduction to customized employment.





Check out the breakout session presentations from the Work Without Limits Raise The Bar HIRE! 2014 Conference: http://www.raisethebar2014.org   

Training Opportunities

Looking for training opportunities? Check out some of the options below:  

  • Foundations of Community Employment: Online January 5-30
  • Awesome Apps and Adaptations: A webinar on January 13, 2:30-4pm Eastern
  • Low-Cost Work Site Accommodations in Minutes: A webinar on January 22, 2:30-4pm Eastern
Register for all these trainings at: employmentfirstma.org/providertraining

Upcoming Events

The CESP Exam will be offered on January 30 in Springfield. Check out the website for more details about this national certification for Employment Support Professionals.  Save the Date


Massachusetts APSE Conference - Save the Date

April 29, 2015 at the College of the Holy Cross


APSE's 26th Annual Conference will be held in Philadelphia on June 23-25. Calls for proposals now being accepted--Do you have yours in yet?

Stay in Touch!

If you didn't receive this e-newsletter directly and you'd like to subscribe, please go to: http://employmentfirstma.org/signup. Remember to add ici@umb.edu to your contacts to make sure that each issue makes it to your inbox.  

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