Working on purpose: 6 steps to employment and a framework for planning [PDF]


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Carol Blessing

Abstract. Working on Purpose: 6 Steps to Employment and a Framework for Planning is a unique blend of integrated employment and person-centered planning theories packaged in one practical resource. It provides a value-based step-by-step process for supporting individuals with disabilities explore, discover and experience meaningful community inclusion and productive civic engagement and contribution.

This paper is a synthesis of material that was presented at the 2013 National APSE conference in Indianapolis, Indiana in June. In addition to learning the content that is represented here conference participants received a hard copy version of the Working on Purpose workbook and planning templates.

Working on Purpose was developed around 2005 as a practical resource for use in state-operated psychi- atric hospitals across New York State. It was designed for practitioners who suddenly found themselves faced with the task of providing community-based employ- ment services.

At the time, supported employment, person-centered planning, and other exemplary approaches common in the developmental disability sector were either novel to this particular environment or dismissed as being exclu- sively relevant to people with intellectual disabilities. The priority and emphasis during this time was to “get the employment numbers up” with far less attention paid to the established core values and quality indica- tors for best practice. Working on Purpose proved to be an effective way to support rapid employment devel- opment without compromising the integrity of best practice in supported employment and person-centered planning.