For over 35 years, ICI Employment Services has successfully assisted individuals with disabilities in seeking, securing, and maintaining employment. Using a person-centered approach, ICI Employment Services provides support to job seekers throughout the discovery, career exploration, and job development processes as they look to find meaningful jobs that match well with their vocational goals, skills, and interests.
The ICI Work Experience Program at Children's Hospital Boston provides paid, temporary work opportunities for individuals with disabilities to experience the world of work. While working in departments throughout the hospital, participants develop personal and vocational skills leading to greater independence.
The program’s focus is on helping participants develop work skills and behaviors that will enhance their vocational success. Experiencing different job tasks, professional work environments, and different types of relationships at work helps participants to learn what jobs and professional settings are best for them, and to develop realistic career goals.
Work settings at Children’s Hospital provide opportunities for employment staff to perform assessments and evaluations of individuals’ skills and work habits, in addition to job-targeted education and skills training.
The Work Experience Program also provides a variety of services designed to support participants. Each participant receives initial job coaching support for transition into the new position, successful learnning and performance of work duties (including development of any tools necessary to do so), and facilitation of natural supports. Interactions with and feedback from program staff help to promote the participant's ability to make decisions, interact with others, and explore feelings about the future. The program coordinator, in conjunction with the referring counselor, provides case management services for the participant.
Program staff collaborate with the participant, his/her family, referring agencies and other service providers to develop plans that are consistent wi t eh the participant's interests and needs. Periodic team meetings are scheduled to assist the participant in reviewing his/her experiences in the program. These meetings also provide an opportunity to develop goals and plans for the future.
Program outcomes vary according to individual needs and may include: competitive employment, supported employment, or other employment or educational options. Referring agents receive assessment and skills-training information on the participant as he/she completes various components of the program. The staff is committed to working closely with the referral agency, participants, and families to create a positive transition and to promote continued vocational and emotional development.
Applicants must be at least 16 years of age and have a significant disability. The program is designed for individuals who are at the beginning stages of vocational development or who have had difficulty succeeding in other training or work settings. The program is committed to an inclusive model and does not require any previous work skills or experience. Emphasis is placed on the individual's expressed interest and motivation to work and the availability of appropriate supports to ensure a productive work experience.
Individuals may be referred to the program by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, Department of Developmental Disabilities, Department of Mental Health, Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, local schools, advocacy groups, family members, or they may refer themselves. Funding is arranged with the referring agency. Services may also be funded privately. The intake process is designed to assist program staff in understanding the needs of the applicant and to provide the applicant with the information necessary to decide whether he/she wants to participate in the program.
The admissions process includes three steps. First an informational meeting is scheduled to provide the applicant, family members, referring counselor, and/or other service providers the opportunity to learn more about the program and meet program staff. Next, if the applicant is still interested in the program, an application is completed and formal referral information is requested and reviewed. Finally, a formal interview takes place. Family members are encouraged to participate in all three steps of this process. After the interview process is completed a decision is made whether or not the applicant will participate in the program. This decision is based on the applicant's interest in participating in the program and on the determination by program staff that there is a good fit between the needs and preferences of the applicant and the program resources available.
For further information or to make a referral contact:
Institute for Community Inclusion
University of Massachusetts Boston
100 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston, MA 02125-3393
Since 1987, the Individual Placement Service (IPS) of the Institute for Community Inclusion has been providing individualized supports to people with disabilities seeking employment.
The IPS assists individuals with disabilities in seeking, securing and maintaining paid employment. These services are highly individualized, providing a wide range of supports for individuals with varied interests, skills, and needs. For individuals seeking employment, person-centered career planning remains a cornerstone of the service. Through the career planning process individuals articulate their goals and expectations for employment. The career plan guides the job development process, identifying the type of work, the culture of the work environment, as well as other preferences identified by the job seeker, such as pay, benefits, location, and work schedule. In addition to job placement, services may include job seeking skills training, resume development, case coordination, assistance with benefits, job coaching, travel training, and other work-related supports.
All placements occur in community-based employment settings. Individuals become employees of the company where they work. Each employer, according to existing personnel practices, determines work schedules, wages, and benefits.
Once an individual gets a job, supports are provided to facilitate the individual’s successful transition into employment. The IPS serves individuals with varied support needs. Upon placement, a plan will be developed with each individual to identify the amount and type of support needed to promote successful employment. The IPS works with each participant and their employer to facilitate the acquisition of skills needed to maintain the job and to facilitate the development of natural supports. While some participants need long-term supports, for many individuals services fade over time.
The IPS also provides services to individuals who may be working but need additional support to be successful at work. The IPS will work with each individual, employer, and referral agency to develop an individual plan for employment supports.
To be eligible for the IPS an applicant must be 16 years of age or older and demonstrate motivation to work. The intake process for the program is designed to assist program staff in understanding the needs of the applicant and to provide the applicant with the information necessary to decide if he/she wants to participate in the program. Potential applicants first attend an informational interview to get more information about the services offered. If interested in the IPS, the individual will be asked to complete an application and schedule an interview. Family members and other service providers are welcomed and encouraged to participate in the interview process. The purpose of the referral process is to ensure that the individual makes an informed decision to participate in the IPS and that the services offered are consistent with the individual's goals and support needs.
Referrals can be made by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, the departments of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, local educational associations, advocacy groups, families, or potential participants. Funding is arranged on an individual basis with the referring agency. Services may also be funded privately.
To learn more about the Individual Placement Service (IPS) or to make a referral contact:
Institute for Community Inclusion
University of Massachusetts Boston
100 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston, MA 02125-3393
This information sheet is available in audiotape, large print, and disk or Braille format upon request.
ICI Employment Services has many talented folks on staff...
Jill Eastman, MA, CESP, has extensive experience in vocational rehabilitation, currently serving as the Program Coordinator for the Institute for Community Inclusion/UMass Boston Employment Services Department. In addition to program management, Jill provides job development, job coaching, career exploration, and vocational counseling support for individuals with disabilities, also serving as the Human Rights Coordinator for the ICI Human Rights Committee. Jill has worked at ICI in various capacities since 2000 and was awarded Job Developer of the Year in 2014 by Massachusetts APSE. Jill became a Certified Employment Services Provider (CESP) in 2013. In 2017, Jill earned the ACRE national certification and joined the Massachusetts APSE Board of Directors. In her free time, Jill enjoys spending quality time with her two young children, reading historical fiction, and tap dancing at her local dance studio.
Megan Wiggins recently accepted a position with the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston as a Job Coach on the Employment Services team. Megan complete her Master of Science degree in Rehabilitation Counseling (University of Massachusetts Boston) in May 2020. Prior to coming to ICI, Megan worked at her alma mater Bentley University, as a financial assistance receptionist. While at Bentley University as an undergraduate, Megan participated in varsity women’s lacrosse and traveled to Ghana where she joined a local non-profit helping African children in school. In her role as job coach at ICI, Megan provides job coaching, training, and vocational counseling supports to individuals, assisting them with learning and succeeding at work, as well as advancing professionally in their chosen careers.
Juan Gaspar is a University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston) graduate currently working in the social work field. Juan serves a part-time Job Coach for the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at UMass Boston supporting individuals with disabilities in achieving their vocational goals. As a Job Coach, Juan provides support to individuals at work through vocational training, counseling, and case management. Additionally, Juan has worked for some time in the mental health field working with young adults and elders at South Shore Mental Health. Juan grew up in the Philippines and moved to Boston, MA at age 14.
Andrea Cooper, MEd- currently serving as an Employment Specialist for the Institute for Community Inclusion/ UMass Boston. Andrea is an alumni of UMass Boston graduating in 2002 with a BA in psychology. She holds a dear spot in her heart for UMass and is thrilled to be given the opportunity to work for ICI and UMass. Most recently Andrea received her Master’s degree in Education with a concentration in Higher Education Administration from Northeastern University. After graduating from UMass, she spent the majority of her work in social service. Andrea has extensive work in disability services, starting as an employment specialist and transitioning in her role as the Education Coordinator focusing more on supporting clients with their education goals, and most recently working as a health and wellness coordinator. Andrea has always had a passion for helping people and truly feels it is what she was meant to do. When not at work, Andrea loves to craft, read, dance, and spend time with her husband and beautiful daughter. Being a mom is the most important thing she has ever had the privilege of doing, family is everything.
Kara has 10 years of experience supporting individuals with disabilities in the recreational, school, and community settings. Previously, she worked in the Westwood Public Schools as an Instructional Assistant and at the Charles River Arc in both the family support and day services programs. At the ICI, Kara supports both the Employment Services team and the State Apprenticeship Expansion, Equity, and Innovation Project with a focus on individuals with disabilities.