Waiver Employment Services and Supports

Discovery and Career Planning

Everyone has been evaluated for something at some point. Do you remember how the evaluation process made you feel? Were you nervous or uncomfortable? Did you leave wondering if the results of the evaluation reflect the “real” you?

Typical evaluations and assessments do not give an accurate and useful picture of what individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) can do. Most evaluations are not individualized, use generalized checklist or made-up situations, and have time constraints. These evaluations usually do not answer the most important questions, such as “Who is this individual?” and “What are their strengths and interests?”

Discovery is a person-centered planning process that involves getting to really know the person before supporting them in developing a plan for employment (Callahan, 2001). Discovery begins with a team coming together to discover and gather information about an individual’s:

  1. Marketable skills
  2. Preferred tasks
  3. Personal attributes and
  4. Ideal workplace conditions

Information is gathered to learn more about careers the individual has never thought of doing and to identify environments and strategies that should be avoided. This could be done through interviews, community engagement activities, and hands on activities at various job sites. For example, an individual may:

  • be assisted with contacting a basketball coach he/she used to play for
  • be observed while they are volunteering for a non-profit agency
  • try out the use of a pallet jack, a multi-line phone, or other tool on a job in the community.
  • receive assistance interviewing business owners and workers

The information gathered is recorded into a Vocational Profile that can be used for customized job development and enhancing life activities/experiences. Customized employment is based on a match between the strengths, needs, and interests of the individual with the identified business needs of an employer or self-employment.

Callahan, M., Shumpert, N., & Mast, M. (2001) Using Discovery and the Vocational Profile Strategy as the Foundation for Employment Planning and as an Alternative to Traditional Evaluation. Employment for All.

Benefits Counseling

Don’t let the fear of loss of benefits drive future decision-making. There are many programs that can enable you to work and keep your benefits. The DDD offers Benefits Counseling through the Medicaid I/DD Waiver.

Other Benefits Counseling Resources:

Hawaii Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA)

If you are working, looking for work, or considering an employment decision and need individualized assistance, contact Hawaii WIPA using the information below.

Hawaii WIPA University of Hawaii at Manoa Center on Disability Studies
1410 Lower Campus Road, Building 171F
Honolulu, HI 96822

Phone: (808) 956-9800 Toll-Free: (844) 499-3594
Fax: (808) 956-9530
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM HST
Email: [email protected]

Individual Employment Supports

  • Job Development– Once a Discovery and Career Planning process is complete, an Employment Specialist will use the information gathered from the discovery process that identified the participants marketable skills, preferred tasks, personal attributes and ideal workplace conditions to match them with the identified business needs of an employer.
  • Job Coaching- Job coaching will help the participant on the job after they have been hired in a competitive integrated environment and decreases as the participant becomes more independent on the job.