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School Days to Pay Days: An Employment Planning Guide for Families of Young Adults with Intellectual Disabilities

Authors: Linda Freeman, Melanie Jordan, Margaret Van Gelder


"Collaboratively designed by ICI (Institute on Community Inclusion) and the (Massachusetts) Department of Developmental Services through the Work Without Limits employment initiative, this booklet will help families get started with the school-to-work transition process. Readers will learn about resources, services, and programs available for young adults with intellectual disabilities in Massachusetts; and find inspiration in the many success stories of young adults who have secured fulfilling employment with appropriate supports."


"As parents, we advocate passionately during our childís school years until we reach that critical turning point when the entitlement of school ends at age 22.

Our advocacy cannot end. As our children grow and become young adults, we must make sure they are prepared for the adult world that lies ahead. That preparation involves work experience. Schools are essential partners in the preparation for this next stage. Assessing and exploring interests, skill development and on-the-job work experience should be written into a young adultís transition plan at school.
Work provides important, ongoing benefits: itís a way to build skills, make friends, give purpose to life, provide a sense of identity and, of course, earn a paycheck. Itís always challenging for young adults to find and keep jobs, and current economic conditions create additional hurdles. As you try to connect your child with work experiences, this booklet will assist you in understanding the roles of state and provider agencies, employment services, accommodations, benefits and much more.

In Massachusetts and throughout the country, young people with intellectual disabilities are becoming increasingly more successful as they transition from school to work. They are finding new pathways to careers as well as staying employed throughout their adult working years. Although employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities still lag behind those compared to individuals without disabilities, it is clear that enormous barriers to employment are being overcome. It is far more common now to see students and young adults with disabilities in a wide range of jobs throughout the community than it was even a decade ago.

This booklet is designed to help families of young adults with intellectual disabilities get started with the school-to-work transition process; learn about the resources, services, and programs available for young adults with intellectual disabilities; and find inspiration in the many success stories of young adults who have secured fulfilling employment with appropriate supports."



The Individualized Education Program (IEP)
Transition Planning Form
Chapter 688 Referrals
Career Preparation While in School
Employment-Related Activities Outside of School

College: A New Possibility
How Does the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Support Young Adults with Employment Planning?
What if My Young Adult is No Longer in School?
What are Employment Service Providers?
Employment Models to Consider

Can My Young Adult Get Support from Both DDS and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission?
One-Stop Career Centers: Another Employment Resource
Work-Related Social Security Benefits
Work Incentive Programs
Transportation To and From Work
Accommodations on the Job
Equality at the Workplace
How Do I Plan My Young Adultís Week When S/he is Working Part-Time?



Appendix A. Employment Planning List 47
Appendix B. Finding the Right Employment Service Program 50
Appendix C. People with Intellectual Disabilities in Jobs Across Massachusetts 53

Contact Info:
Organization:Institute for Community Inclusion/UCEDD UMass Boston
Address:100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, Massachusetts 02125
Phone:Voice:(617) 287-4300 TTY: (617) 287-4350
Fax:(617) 287-4352

Web Links

View the booklet online

Download brochure in PDF or Word

Institute for Community Inclusion website

Work Without Limits website

This information was found at www.qualitymall.org