LEADOn! Article

Customized Employment and Guided Group Discovery

November 2023 | Customized Employment and Guided Group Discovery

Customized Employment (CE) is one approach to help jobseekers, including those with disabilities, find jobs that suit them well. It does this by personalizing the relationship between employee and employer to meet the needs of both. This “win-win” approach became a part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) in 2014 as a supported employment strategy.

Discovery is the first step in the CE process. Guided Group Discovery (GGD) is one form of Discovery for people who work well in a group. GGD is a strengths-based, group approach to supporting jobseekers by creating actionable career plans that are accessible to anyone,  whether or not they experience  challenges or barriers to employment. These career plans are called “Blueprints for Employment.” Each Blueprint outlines information about the jobseeker, their skills, abilities and strengths, their network, and action steps that link jobseekers to potential employers, career types, and support services. While there are other types of “Discovery,” this newsletter will shine a spotlight on GGD.

By using CE and GGD, jobseekers with disabilities can achieve competitive integrated employment  .

In this newsletter issue, you will learn about several resources for utilizing CE and GGD, including:

  • A brief on customized employment systems innovation
  • Success stories at the individual and programmatic level
  • Webinars and other resources on utilizing CE and GGD
  • A special introduction of a new staff member who brings a history of experience in programs that create partnerships and customize job opportunities

Customized Employment Systems Innovation Brief

While the traditional approach to job seeking suits most people whose skills closely match job requirements, many individuals with barriers to employment find it challenging and frustrating. For six years, the LEAD Center helped various states and systems develop job opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities through CE and Discovery (Guided Group and Self-Guided) pilots. The LEAD Center then gathered feedback from partners in these pilots, including staff and participants from the workforce system, vocational rehabilitation (VR), developmental disability administrations, behavioral health, schools, veteran services, juvenile and adult corrections programs, Centers for Independent Living, and community colleges. Based on this feedback, the LEAD Center created materials and processes to further support successful CE and Discovery (Guided Group and Self-Guided). This brief provides background information about the LEAD Center’s work, discusses new developments in this field, and shares lessons learned along the way.