Texas Customized Self Employment Project
National studies continue to indicate that people with disabilities have higher levels of unemployment than people without. In some cases, self-employment can solve certain problems associated with unemployment and/or insufficient income, however, starting a small business or micro-enterprise can be difficult, especially for people who do not have the necessary capital or the borrowing power. Furthermore, working for oneself can result in isolation or difficulty finding ongoing social support. Other existing employment models have been successful in enabling many people with developmental disabilities (DD) to be employed successfully.
Demonstrate innovative activities that will systematically increase employment opportunities for people with DD. Train individuals with DD, their families, and local collaborating agencies in how to develop and implement an individualized self-employment program.
Community Healthcore developed supports to facilitate successful self-employment by working with consultants from several organizations to develop the Texas Customized Self Employment Project and to clarify that self-employment can be included as a billable form of Supportive Employment in many statewide programs.
Community Healthcore held three self-employment trainings, two led by national consultants, and a Community Rehabilitation Providers training hosted by the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services. They conducted over 25 local trainings for over 125 people. Over the course of the project, staff was able to increase the cultural and ethnic diversity of the people whom they supported and were able to offer trainings in an expanded area.
In the fifth year, the project focused on publicizing outcomes and methods used in the project. A Self-Employment Symposium was held in October 2012. Eight speakers addressed topics on self-employment including four broad self-employment concepts: Discovery, Business Proposal, Marketing, and Benefits.
Community Healthcore created a video that shares the stories and perspectives of three new business owners who started their own businesses. This video, as well as written articles, were used to promote the possibility of self-employment for people with DD.
- 125 individuals participated in over 25 trainings
- 30 individuals attended the Self-Employment Symposium, including one self-advocate, three family members, and 26 professional staff
- Local trainings were expanded beyond the Longview area to six additional communities