Making Self-Employment Work for People with Disabilities / Edition 1

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Self-employment is a realistic employment option for all people, regardless of disability. With an emphasis on the involvement of community programs and school transition staff, this book focuses on how to identify and utilize the critical business supports necessary for the development of self-employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Specific topics covered include the role of community rehabilitation personnel and vocational rehabilitation counselors and methods for using programs such as Plans for Achieving Self Support and Ticket to Work. While this book provides practical advice for helping people with developmental disabilities become successfully self-employed, other books on disability and work tend to examine theoretical issues and stop short of providing useful strategies.

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Editorial Reviews

Michael J. Callahan

"Kindles the excitement associated with self-employment via numerous examples while paying attention to hard-nosed business detail."
Mental Retardation
"This book can be expected to be very useful to a number of audiences. People with disabilities, along with their families and allies, will find it useful to create new dreams. Support personnel will find that the practical tools and methods in the book will assist them in supporting people with disabilities. Further, government personnel who shape disability policy, implementation, and funding will see templates that work for people with disabilities and show ways to combine resources from various sources, both public and private, I strongly urge anyone concerned about the employment of people with disabilities to read, and use, this book."
From the Publisher
Been selected for the ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education database and abstract journal Resources in Education and Exceptional Child Education Resources database.
President, Marc Gold Associates - Michael J. Callahan
"Kindles the excitement associated with self-employment via numerous examples while paying attention to hard-nosed business detail."
Rick Rader

"The dignity of risk" is one of the hallmarks of the disability movement. Self-employment of people with disabilities is among the highest risk domains but potentially the most rewarding and self fulfilling. Meaningful, authentic employment has health benefits equal to diet, exercise and other positive lifestyles; for that reason alone self employment for those interested in demonstrating their "personal genius" should be encouraged, explored and promoted. This is the definitive volume that will help guide, develop and navigate the incubation of a small enterprise by a person with a disability. It's invaluable and should be part of the disability toolbox."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557666529
  • Publisher: Brookes Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Mr. Griffin is Senior Partner at Griffin-Hammis Associates, LLC, a full-service consultancy specializing in building communities of economic cooperation, creating highperformance organizations, and focusing on disability and employment. He is also Codirector of the U.S. Department of Labor’s National Self-Employment Technical Assistance, Resources, and Training project with Virginia Commonwealth University and former Director of Special Projects at the Rural Institute at The University of Montana. He is also past director of an adult vocational program in southern Colorado, former Assistant Director of the Rocky Mountain Resource and Training Institute, and former Founder and Executive Director of CTAT in Colorado.

Mr. Hammis is Senior Partner at Griffin-Hammis Associates, LLC, a full-service consultancy specializing in building communities of economic cooperation, creating highperformance organizations, and focusing on disability and employment. He maintains an ongoing relationship with the Rural Institute at The University of Montana, where he served as Project Director for multiple self-employment, employment, and Social Security outreach training and technical assistance projects, including the Rural Institute’s Rural Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment Expansion Design Project. He works with organizations nationally and internationally on self-employment, benefits analysis, supported employment, and employment engineering. Mr. Hammis has worked in supported and self-employment since 1988 and is personally responsible for the implementation of thousands of Plans to Achieve Self-Support leading to employment, self-employment, and enhanced personal resources for people with disabilities. In July 1996, Mr. Hammis received the International Association for Persons in Supported Employment Professional of the Year Award for his “outstanding support and commitment to people with disabilities, especially in the areas of career development and the use of Social Security work incentives.”

John Kregel, Ed.D., is Professor of Special Education at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond. He presently serves as Director of Research and Associate Director of the VCU Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workplace Supports. Current research efforts are focused on evaluating the effectiveness of state and federal efforts to reform social security policy, promoting improvements in supported employment programs, and enhancing the ability of employers to provide accommodations to workers with disabilities. He is also co-editor of Focus on Autism and Developmental Disabilities.

Dr. Wehman is Professor of Physical Medicine with joint appointments in the Departments of Rehabilitation Counseling and also Special Education and Disability Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University. He serves as Chairman of the Division of Rehabilitation Research in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Wehman has his Ph.D. in Behavioral Disabilities from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

As one of the original founders of supported employment, he has worked closely with business and industry since 1980 and has published over 200 articles and authored or edited more than 40 books primarily in transition, severe disabilities, autism, traumatic brain injury and employment for persons with disabilities. He has been the Principal Investigator on 41 million dollars in grants during his career.

As the father of two young adults with disabilities, he brings a strong parental as well as business perspective to his work. He is highly active in speaking to professionals, parents, advocates and businesses on transition and employment for people with autism, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and other developmental disabilities. On a daily basis he works with individuals with disabilities, communicates regularly with professionals in the world of business relate

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpted from chapter 1 of Making Self-Employment Work for People with Disabilities
By Cary Griffin & David Hammis
Copyright © 2003 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved.

Self-Employment as a Mainstream Approach to Adult Life


Community rehabilitation programs (CRPs): Local rehabilitation agencies that generally offer sheltered employment, supported employment, service coordination, and other state-funded services to adults with disabilities. Most are funded primarily for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Small Business Administration (SBA): A federal agency that sponsors small business development programs throughout the United States. Offers free of charge technical assistance, financing, and information on enterprise development.

Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs): Centers in many U.S. communities that provide free assistance regarding business feasibility, business planning, marketing suggestions, financing, and management. SBDCs are part of the SBA.

Social Security Administration (SSA): The primary benefits system in the United States for people with disabilities. The SSA's most common benefits programs are Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The SSA also manages the Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) program.

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR): A state and federally funded program charged with assisting eligible individuals with significant disabilities in finding employment. VR can and does support business development, vocational training, and college education. VR offices are found in communities across every U.S. state and territory. Access to VR can also be obtained through local One-Stop Centers (see Workforce Investment Act).

Workforce Investment Act (WIA): This federal act created One-Stop Centers (also known as Workforce Development Centers) across the United States to serve all people seeking employment. VR and other disability organizations are collaborators in WIA, and it is another source of technical assistance and potential funding for wage jobs and self-employment.

Many people begin their working lives as teenagers. Delivering newspapers, mowing lawns, milking cows, preparing fast-food, washing cars, and babysitting exemplify the diversity of jobs traditionally assigned to youth to build character and a strong work ethic. Unfortunately, for most students with significant disabilities, this natural part of learning real-life skills and lessons, acculturating, and growing a work ethic is missing. Various legislation and legal decisions hold the potential for and promise of equal access to careers and substantive employment: the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (PL 94-142); followed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1990 (PL 101-476); and — supporting people with disabilities into adulthood — the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (PL 93-112), the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 (PL 105-220), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 (PL 101-336), and the Olmstead v. LC (1999) decision from the Supreme Court (Wehman, 2001). Still, most transition-age youth with significant disabilities graduate without paying jobs, and most adults with significant disabilities remain unemployed or severely underemployed throughout their lifetimes (U.S. Census Bureau, 2001). During the 1990s, a decade that witnessed one of the strongest economies in U.S. history, enrollments for sheltered workshops increased, and the number of special education students graduating into paid jobs remained agonizingly low (Butterworth, Gilmore, Kiernan, & Schalock, 1999; McGaughey, Kiernan, McNally, Gilmore, & Keith, 1994; Wehman, 2001).

This same time period witnessed the success of supported employment techniques, with more than

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Table of Contents

About the Authors
Alice Weiss Doyel


  1. Self-Employment as a Mainstream Approach to Adult Life
  2. Person-Centered Business Planning
  3. Business Feasibility
  4. Building the Business Plan
  5. Marketing and Sales Tactics
  6. Small Business and Social Security Income Benefits Analysis
  7. Small Business Finance and Small Business Owners with Disabilities
Paul Wehman and John Kregel

Appendix A: Blank Forms
Appendix B: Internet Resources

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2004

    Outstanding effort!!!

    As a benefits analyst, this book is an invaluable aide for me in developing business plans and corresponding Plans for Achieving Self Support. Dave and Cary take a very complex subject and reduce it to its most simple components. Chapter 6 in particular clearly identifies the complex relationship between PASS plans and business plans. The section in Chapter six on 'two sets of books', alone is more than worth the price of the book. Thank you David and Cary - outstanding effort-someone had to do it - you did!!!!

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