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What Is an Employment Provider?

“Employment provider” is a generic term used for an organization that assists job seekers with disabilities in their job search and follow-up support. Some state Vocational Rehabilitation Programs are considered employment providers when they provide direct employment services. Most often, however, an employment provider is a community rehabilitation program (CRP). Occasionally, an individual professional can be considered an employment provider.

Why Does the Choice of an Employment Provider Matter?

The choice of an employment provider matters because not all of them are alike. Some employment providers have stronger emphasis on integrated employment, whereas other employment providers focus on other types of day programs. Therefore, if you are interested in integrated employment, you are more likely to receive better services from an employment provider that has a focus on integrated employment. Moreover, you want to work with a provider that has a track record of finding good jobs that match individual interests.

I’m Not Sure What Assessing and Choosing an Employment Provider Is. What Should I Do?

Shop around for the best services. Take the time to learn about all employment providers in your area. Knowing more about employment providers will put you in the “driver’s seat”; you will be able to compare the available services and make an informed choice, rather than passively accepting what you’re being told.

Questions you may want to ask when exploring CRPs’ offer of services include:

  • What types of jobs has the agency helped people find?
  • What do people earn, and how many hours are they working?
  • How long does it take people to find a job?
  • How long do individuals stay in the jobs they find?
  • What happens when a person does not succeed on a job?
  • How does the agency assist individuals in managing the impact of income on public benefits (e.g., Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, subsidized housing)?
  • What is the reputation of the agency in the community?

Where Can I Go for More Information?

This is a link to a summary that will address most questions you may have about how to choose a CRP: “Quality Employment Services: Will You Know It When You See It?” by David Hoff.

Overall Tips

These are some of the quality indicators that, if met, will increase the chances you will get the right services:

  • Professionals acknowledge that everyone has the right to a job without regard to label or severity of disability.
  • The agency helps the person figure out their dreams, hopes, interests and capabilities.
  • The person receiving services helps decide what services are provided, how they are provided, and which staff provides them.
  • Rather than “fitting” people into existing programs, people are helped to find their own jobs (not group situations), and are paid directly by the employer at the competitive wage for the job.
  • Staff do not replace typical employer training and support, but only add to it if necessary.

Date posted: May 29, 2012. Content created by The Institute for Community Inclusion at University of Massachusetts Boston. Last updated: June 20, 2013.

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