Customized employment is a specialized set of services specifically designed for individuals with the most significant limitations to help them become competitively employed in an integrated setting. This program has a "no-fail" mentality that assumes that everyone can work regardless of the level of limitation, meaning that these services are appropriate for individuals who have previously been employed in sheltered work or have been previously considered "too severely disabled " for work activities. Customized employment has a specific set of steps/services that are meant to help an individual not only become employed but to also focus on building relationships with the employees/employers rather than the employees/service providers to increase sustainability of the employment. These services are highly individualized and involve getting to know the personâ€™s strengths, needs, and interests to a higher level than a typical VR case. This allows the provider and counselor the ability to create the needed individualized service plan to help the person be successful long-term.
The goal of the Customized Employment initiative being implemented in South Dakota and other states is to provide consistency in provider training, increase sustainability of CE placements, and to increase employment outcomes for this particular group of people we serve. For South Dakota, we are currently in the process of introducing the initiative to different parts of the state in four stages that began last fall and will continue through the spring of 2020. Stages in order were the pilot (in final stages), Eastern Area (beginning summer 2019), Northern/Central Area, and Western Area. We are contracting with Griffin Hammis Associates to provide the required ACRE training and technical assistance for the Customized Employment Program to ensure adequate training and knowledge of the program for staff to provide the highest quality service possible. If you have questions about the Customized Employment Program in South Dakota, please contact Jordan Trumbo at 605-280-5565 or Jordan.firstname.lastname@example.org .