Date of Award:

2015

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Ecology

Advisor/Chair:

Robert L. Morgan

Abstract

Customized employment for individuals with significant disabilities is becoming a focus of job placement. Customized employment is defined in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act of 2014 as “Competitive integrated employment, for an individual with a significant disability, that is based on an individualized determination of the strengths, needs, and interests of the individual with a significant disability that is designed to meet the specific abilities of the individual with a significant disability and the business needs of the employer, and is carried out through flexible strategies.” Despite its status in federal legislation, no research exists on the employer’s perspective on customized employment. This study surveyed 53 employers and a focus group of 10 employers to identify perceived barriers and facilitators to customized employment. The researcher found that the highest-rated barriers employers identified with regards to customized employment were their lack of experience with customized employment, cost and responsibility of accommodations. The highest-rated facilitators included support was available from other agencies, financial incentives, and increased productivity. Limitations of this research and implications for further research are discussed.

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