From career exploration to independent employment, Didlake has helped thousands of people achieve employment success. We’re here for you — to answer your questions, address your concerns, and help you understand how to utilize the resources available to you.

Eligibility for Employment Services

Eligibility requirements are determined at the state level. Each state has different requirements. Contact your local office to take the first step in your employment journey:

Virginia:
Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS)

Maryland:
Maryland State Department of Education Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS)

DARS, in Virginia, and DORS, in Maryland, provide you with the necessary documentation and referrals to receive employment services from an agency like Didlake.

Individual and Group Supported Employment

Supported Employment Services may be provided as Individual Supported Employment (ISE) or as Group Supported Employment (GSE). Each provides a different level of service to achieve a successful employment outcome.

  • ISE Services: Support is provided by an Employment Specialist on a one-to-one basis to meet the need of each individual in a supported employment position.
  • GSE Services: Continuous support provided by staff for eight or fewer individuals in a work crew model.

Career Exploration Services

Your Employment Specialist customizes the career exploration part of the employment process based on your individual needs. The goal is to find a good job match with the right supports. During this part of the employment process, you and your employment specialist work together to figure out:

  • Where you want to work.
  • Who you want to work with.
  • What type of work you want to do.

Situational Assessments | What to Expect

Most Didlake clients participate in Situational Assessments to begin their path to employment. Over a period of 3-4 months, you work one-on-one with your Didlake Employment Specialist to experience and learn more about different types of jobs in your community.

During this time you typically complete work tasks in one or more competitive employment environments in your community. Employment Specialist focuses on learning about:

  • What you like to do
  • What you are able to do now
  • What additional skills or supports you may benefit from

When the assessment is complete, you, your DARS or DORS counselor, and your family members, caregivers, or support providers meet to talk about your employment options and next steps.

The Right Job | Job Development Services

The goal is for you to become successfully employed. We are by your side to guide you through this process. Your Didlake Employment Specialist provides support based on your level of need and respects your abilities and independence.

Communication is the key to successful job development. It is important to have regular team meetings to share information and discuss your progress. Your Didlake Employment Specialist may support you with:

  • Writing a resume
  • Obtaining references
  • Searching for a job – online and in-person
  • Developing interview skills

You’re Hired | Job Placement & Training Services

Your Employment Specialist assists you and your employer as needed to fully integrate you into the workplace culture. The goal of this part of the employment process is for you to feel increasingly confident in your ability to do your job.

Services can include assistance with the company orientation, supplemental job skills training, and travel training. Your Employment Specialist works with you and your employer to identify needed accommodations, natural supports, and helpful assistive technology options.

Natural Supports

All employees seek assistance to get their job done. That assistance is different for each person. Your Employment Specialist refers to these supports as natural supports. Natural supports are resources that already exist in your work environment that you can use to get to know the people you work with and better understand your job. Natural supports can be informal such as an invitation from a coworker to join a social group at work or more formal such as the required participation in a new employee onboarding process. Your Employment Specialist will help you identify these natural supports. Gradually you begin to rely more on your co-workers and supervisor rather than your Employment Specialist.

Specialized Support Services for Employment Success

Your DARS/DORS counselor may provide referrals for additional support services to help you get a job or keep your job. Didlake provides the following Support Services:

Sometimes a behavior can become a barrier to getting a job or keeping a job. Positive behavior support uses person-centered processes and tools that are designed to increase quality of life by reducing or eliminating problem behaviors. PBS may include person-centered planning, functional behavior assessment, development of positive behavior strategies, and ongoing supports to ensure your success.

The Didlake Employment Specialist team includes specially trained Positive Behavior Support Facilitators (PBSF). They are experts in discovering triggers and helping you learn to manage challenging behaviors which may create barriers to reaching your employment goals.

Areas of your life that may be impacting your ability to get a job or stay employed. Community Support Services may include help with organization, time management, personal care, communication skills, assistive technology training, and educational supports.

All Didlake Employment Specialists are trained to provide Community Support Services.

When you are receiving social security benefits and decide to enter or re-enter the workforce, this decision affects your social security benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has developed work incentives for people with disabilities who want to work. To help you understand these work incentives, the SSA publishes an annual self-help resource, The Red Book – A Guide to Work Incentives. Your local social security office can also answer questions about employment and your benefits.

Didlake certified Work Incentive Special Advocates (WISA) provide Benefits Counseling Services. Through one-on-one sessions, the WISAs help you understand how the wages you earn at your job impact your federal and state disability benefits. These benefits planning and counseling services are helpful when starting a new job, returning to work, seeking a higher paying job, or starting your own business.

Professional Growth | Ongoing Services

These services are available to help you continue to be successful on the job. Some people benefit from these services and some do not require them — everyone has different needs. Ongoing or Follow-Along Support Services focus on supports you may need to help you maintain your job.

Ticket to Work Program

Didlake is an Employment Network (EN) participant in the Ticket to Work Program. We provide Follow-Along Support Services and ongoing benefits planning for Ticket to Work Program participants. Read more about the Ticket To Work Program.