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Enhancing Self-Employment Options for People with Disabilities: Indianapolis, IN

Indiana Customized Employment Project

The Indiana Customized Employment Grant (CEG) has leveraged resources and worked with state and local entities to help One-Stop customers with disabilities achieve self-employment. Previously, self-employment options for people with significant disabilities have been limited for customers of both state public Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Work One Centers. Through education, policy exploration and leadership, Indiana VR is establishing a small business representative position. A pilot is now being conducted in which VR is collaborating with the local Work One to assist their customers interested in starting up their own businesses. Similarly, WIA funding is now being accessed to allow customers the training they need in specific areas to begin their small businesses.

The following case illustrates the level of collaborative effort and the leveraging resources and funding that is occurring as a result of this projects' activity:

Joan had continually struggled with getting and keeping jobs because of the cyclic nature of her mental health. Through Person-Centered Planning activities with CEG staff, she identified the goal of establishing a medical billing business. This would allow her to do the work that she enjoyed on a schedule that is flexible and conducive to taking breaks when she needs them. Joan was connected with the Small Business Administration and received assistance through a volunteer effort (SCORE) with writing her small business plan. Training in medical billing was funded by WIA dollars. She successfully completed her program, resulting in a positive WIA training outcome and acquisition of the skills she needed. Because she was eligible, VR was able to purchase the computer she needed, conduct a workstation assessment, and make modifications to help her most efficiently start up her home-based business. Now, Joan is obtaining contracts through her networks to get the base clientele for her new medical billing business.

For more information, contact:
Steve Savage

or Doug Bebee
Family and Social Services Administration
Indianapolis, IN

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