Having issues finding qualified staff for your community? LeadingAge Illinois reached out to its state Department of Human Services Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) for help after learning about a program providing training to individuals with disabilities to work in different settings. The Illinois DRS is part of a national network of 80 vocational rehabilitation programs that match employees with workers. Each of the 80 programs has a single person who works directly with an employer – you!

What’s the process?

  • The contact learns what you need, e.g., type of employee, and the skills that you need.
  • The program provides free support:
  • Internships, specialized training, or OTJ training.
  • Recruitment and referral.
  • Training for your staff on disabilities issues.
  • Diversity strategies.
  • Retention help for all workers who may have, or develop a disability.
  • Consulting, technical assistance, and support.

What would make a partnership with this program successful for your community?

  • An understanding of the need for a diverse workforce.
  • A willingness to learn about the world of disability, and how these individuals can match your needs.

The program works! In Illinois, thousands of people have been matched to several careers, including older adult services. Nationally, the program has placed between 250,000-300,000 people annually. Interested? Contact Susan Hildebrandt at shildebrandt@leadingage.org for more information.