Potential and Current Employees

There are many resources to help family members and caregivers assist the self-advocate in their lives with their quest to find meaningful employment out in the community.  Included are instructions on how you can receive assistance from state and county agencies during this process, as well as a listing of some local nonprofits that also specialize in serving people with disabilities with regard to employment issues. 

Many employers will request or require that individuals are working with Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) or Employment First.  An individual can receive services such as job coaching, which can assist in creating a healthy and successful working environment. We encourage each family to explore their options and connect with resources to provide assistance and support in finding and maintaining meaningful employment. 

National Down Syndrome Society Employment Resources

An employment guide for employers and employees with Down syndrome and other disabilities. The #DSWORKS® Program is proud to present Guide Me & Watch Me Succeed. This valuable resource is designed to support employers as they train their employees with Down syndrome.


Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD)

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) is the State of Ohio agency that partners with Ohioans with disabilities to achieve quality employment and independence. They are also charged with making determinations on Social Security disability. 

Learn moe about OOD

Ohio's Employment First Initiative

In 2012, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed the Employment First Initiative to raise expectations surrounding employment for people with disabilities. The philosophy behind Employment First is that every person has abilities, skills and talents to enrich the community and people around them. Community employment is the preferred path for working-age adults with developmental disabilities, and individuals should have the opportunity to explore career options and seek jobs that fit their skills and interests.

Learn more about Ohio's Employment First Initiative.

What does it mean to have an Employment First Partnership?

Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

The Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) assists Kentuckians with disabilities to achieve suitable employment and independence.  We recognize and respect the contribution of all individuals as a necessary and vital part of a productive society.

Kentucky Works

KentuckyWorks aims to enhance employment opportunities for youth and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky. 

A How-To-Guide to Community Employment for Job Seekers and Families

The Job Seekers Guide was released on July 1, 2015. This is a web-based resource that can be accessed on the Employment First website. It allows for individuals with disabilities and their families to learn about a variety of topics related to community employment including: how to find a job, how to be a self-advocate, information about discovery, and explanations of different employment services and supports. 

Learn more about the Job Seekers Guide 

Benefits Planning Information

Working can increase your independence and empower you, but it may also create lots of questions. You may be afraid that you will lose your benefits if you work. You may be concerned about how to get your benefits back if you stop working or need to work fewer hours. You may be afraid that you will lose your health benefits if you go to work. Arm yourself with information so that you can make decisions based on facts, not fear. 

Learn more about Benefits Planning

VIA Character Strength Survey

The VIA Survey of Character Strengths is a simple self-assessment that takes less than 15 minutes to compete and provides a wealth of information to help you understand your core characteristics.  Regarding employment, the hope is that this test will provide some insight in terms of what kinds of roles or jobs would match up to one’s core characteristics. 

There are two versions of the VIA Survey.  One is for adults over 18 years of age and the other is for youth ages 10-17.  Researchers in the disability world suggest the youth version of the survey is the appropriate test for individuals into their early 20s who have a developmental disability.  A parent, caregiver, therapist, teacher, or other support person can also download a support guide and use it to help the individual with Down syndrome take the survey in a validated way. 

Take the VIA Character Strengths Test

VIA Character Strengths Youth Support Document