What are the three new waiver-funded employment services and what do they do?

On July 1, 2018, Minnesota added three employment services to its HCBS waivers: employment exploration services, employment development services and employment support services. These services are available with the Developmental Disabilities (DD), Community Alternative Care (CAC), Community Access for Disability Inclusion (CADI) and Brain Injury (BI) waivers. The three employment services have unique purposes:

Employment exploration services: Community-based services work to introduce people with disabilities to employment opportunities in the community. This allows people with disabilities to explore career interests and experiences and make an informed choice about working in an integrated setting.

Employment development services: These services are individualized and help people find employment, whether it be in a competitive and integrated setting, self-employment or creating a microenterprise in their community.

Employment support services: These services are individualized to help people maintain employment in the community. The services may help with transportation, job training, coaching to strengthen work skills and various forms of advocacy with an employer.

I’m on a waiting list to get help finding employment. What can I do to get started?

Many job seekers and families find themselves on waiting lists for vocational rehabilitation (VR), Medicaid waivers, or with a specific provider. It can be frustrating, especially when a job seeker is eager to get to work. However, it doesn’t mean that a job seeker or family member can’t take action now. There are things you can do to help find a job or develop experiences and skills that could be useful while you’re waiting on a waiting list. A few things to consider: 1) Keep the job seeker’s resume up to date. 2) Write down a list of contacts, neighbors, friends, or families–look at who you know and where there might be places to inquire about job, internship, work experience, or volunteer experience. 3) Keep busy with volunteering or other community activities or hobbies to gain experience. 4) Ask friends or family about job openings they might know about, be willing to follow up with a call or visit.

While providers and formal services do provide additional supports to help find, keep, and maintain a job, it doesn’t mean they have all the answers. You don’t have to wait for formal services, there are things you can do today to gain work experience or build connections for employment.