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ARC Discovery Employment Transitions

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What is Discovery?

The Arc of Pennsylvania has partnered with Mark Gold & Associates to offer Discovery and Customized Employment to Pennsylvania. Discovery is an alternative vocational assessment developed by Mark Gold & Associates. This partnership has resulted in consultants being nationally certified in Discovery, Customized Employment Job Development, and Systematic Instruction. Discovery seeks to answer the question, “Who is this person?”.  Our consultants work with individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities to develop a comprehensive profile. This profile is a non-traditional, no-fail form, which provides information on the person’s strengths and conditions for success to help find the right job. While Discovery is not employment, it is the first step in developing truly customized employment and ideal work for all people.


Scheduled Training Sessions

Job Development – January 10-12, 2022


​The Partnership with Marc Gold & Associates

The Arc of Pennsylvania has developed a training schedule with Marc Gold & Associates to offer training to our consultants. This partnership has resulted in consultants being nationally certified in Discovery, Customized Employment Job Development, and Systematic Instruction.

How does it Work?

Discovery is a process that seeks to understand the strengths, conditions for success, and potential contributions of an individual to better help them find customized employment that is competitive and fulfilling. Our goal is to have our participants be empowered to make real choices in employment and in contributing to the community.

Our consultants will seek to understand the individual by conducting extensive research through interviews of both the participant and the people who best know the individual and their strengths. This includes teachers, family members, mentors, neighbors, and any others who play a large role in the individual’s life. Consultants will also spend time with the participant in her/his home and accompany them to activities – in school, the community, wherever the individual spends time engaged in activity within the community – to both observe and participate in those activities to gain a better understanding of the individual and the skills they possess.

Over the time spent completing Discovery, our consultants will develop a solid foundation from which he or she will develop a specially crafted profile using the language and skills taught by Marc Gold & Associates. The profile can be updated by those connected to the participant, or Expanded Discovery may be completed to create a strong story of the individual which will serve as a substitute or supplement to traditional vocational assessments and provide a foundation for the customized plan for employment.

After completing the Discovery profile, our consultants facilitate a Customized Plan for Employment meeting. This meeting is focused on honing in on the conditions for success and potential contributions of the job seeker/participant. Potential employers/employment locations are identified to guide customized job development activities for the participant. Information from the Discovery profile and Customized Plan for Employment is used to develop a visual resume to present to prospective employers.

Customized Employment/Job Development is a unique process that considers both the job seekers’ needs, conditions for success, and potential contributions to an employer and the needs of a prospective employer. By working with the job seeker and the employer to negotiate a customized job description, both reap the benefits of the process. Employers have an opportunity to address unmet needs and the job seeker has the opportunity to fill a position that considers her/his conditions for success. Our consultants meet initially with potential employers on behalf of the job seeker/participant to discuss the customized employment process and how it is different from ‘traditional’ job development services. Potential employers are informed about and offered a benefit/needs analysis to identify unmet needs that can be met by the ADEPT participant. A customized job description is developed for the participant.

Systematic Instruction is a unique process to teach the ADEPT participant the aspects of the job secured through the customized employment process. Systematic instruction employs the methods of Marc Gold’s Try Another Way approach to teaching job skills.

If you would like additional information regarding ADEPT, please contact Jen Hipps via email at jhipps@includemepa.org.


The Arc of Pennsylvania appreciates the financial support of The Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Foundation and the Pennsylvania Office of Developmental Programs (ODP).

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The Arc of Pennsylvania’s Making Employment Work course is an ACRE Basic Certification Training. In order to receive certification, participants must attend a 3 day, in-person training and then complete a self-paced, online curriculum. Completing this certification course will qualify individuals to provide Supported Employment services with Pennsylvania’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and Office of Developmental Programs. Our training combines lessons learned from traditional Supported Employment and Customized Employment techniques.

Arc Discovery Employment Transitions (ADEPT) is The Arc of Pennsylvania’s customized employment program. The Arc of Pennsylvania supports individuals with significant impact of disability to seek and maintain customized employment in their community. As a result, The Arc of Pennsylvania’s consultants are trained and nationally certified by Marc Gold & Associates, a national leader in customized employment, to provide Discovery, Customized Employment Job Development, and Systematic Instruction to individuals with disabilities in Pennsylvania who are seeking employment. In addition to providing customized employment services, The Arc of Pennsylvania hosts several certification courses with Marc Gold & Associates for individuals and organizations interested in national certification in Discovery, Job Development, and Systematic Instruction.

Include Me is a new model for inclusive education and gaining meaningful employment for Pennsylvania’s students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Arc of Pennsylvania and Include Me believe all individuals with significant impact of developmental and intellectual disability deserve equal educational and competitive employment rights. Our mission, build and strengthen the inclusive education capacity for all public-school students, and discover meaningful employment opportunities meeting Pennsylvania employee and employer needs. Include Me strives to ensure all impacted students have equal access to all aspects of life and the community throughout their lifespan.

Include Me is an initiative that was part of the agreement on final terms between the plaintiffs and the Pennsylvania Department of Education in the Gaskin Settlement Agreement. We were initially assigned to districts with the lowest inclusion rates but after the initial success, we have grown in reputation among school districts. We now operate on a volunteer basis and serve districts that volunteer for our services. Include Me initially started as a School Age program but we have since expanded to include a PreSchool program and now we are excited to begin offering our transition-age services to help find a path to customized employment for students transitioning out of high school.

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