Supported and Customized Employment

The Arc Davidson County & Greater Nashville provides innovative employment services for adults with disabilities. The Arc sees every person with a disability as a potential employee. In fact, Supported & Customized Employment, as defined at the federal level, is designed as a service reserved for people with the most severe disabilities. We believe everyone can work and it is up to us to make the right job match that will promote employment success for each person. Our services have supported numerous individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in becoming successfully employed, productive members of their communities.

Employment Services are currently available in Davidson County and Williamson County.

Each step in the Supported & Customized Employment process is provided by a trained individual who serves as the expert in matching the right person to the right job and providing individualized supports that lead to success. Nationally, the Supported Employment movement began in the 1980s as an avenue to help people move from sheltered work environments to "real work, in the real world, for real pay."

Over 150,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have gone to work in real jobs, but national unemployment rates for people with disabilities still range from 70% to 83%. A recent study determined that 95% of adults with developmental disabilities surveyed say they want to work in real jobs. Supported & Customized Employment offers advantages for employers and most importantly, helps employers locate and retain capable employees.

 Supported or Customized Employment is a process involving:

Assessment – getting to know potential employees and finding out about their interests, abilities, and the areas in which they need help

Planning – a person-centered approach to developing work-related goals and strategies to secure the right job match and promote success in that job

Job Development – a tailored approach to finding the right job match for each person, and for assisting businesses in securing valuable employees

Job Coaching – on-the-job assistance for new employees in learning their jobs, and assistance businesses in learning how to manage new employees

Long-term Support – ongoing follow-up with employees and employers to promote and ensure continued success

Benefits for employers include:

  • Dedicated and loyal employees

  • Reduced turnover rates

  • Reduced absenteeism

  • Pre-screening of job candidates

  • Access to an untapped and underutilized labor pool

  • Savings on advertising, hiring, and training expenses

  • Individualized training at no expense

  • Ongoing support and follow-up

  • Assistance with Equal Opportunities employment practices and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issues

  • Tax credits, in most instances

This is a good business decision for employers, an empowering personal decision for individuals! What a difference a job makes!

A presentation by Lynette Henderson - Tennessee Works
Effective Employment Programs for Persons with ASD: What we know now


For more information on The Arc of Davidson County & Greater Nashville's Employment Services, please contact us or make an appointment to visit our office.