1007 Mumma Road, Suite 100 Lemoyne, PA, 17043

                 Contact Us  |    Board Members

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Home
  2. Include Me
  3. Frequently Asked Questions

School Age Program

Q – Does Include Me School Age or charge school districts or parents a fee for inclusion services?

Include Me Program support is provided at no cost to districts or families. Program services are funded by a grant from the Bureau of Special Education and by private foundation grants.


Q – How does a family member or school district personnel volunteer for Include Me support?

Families and school district personnel can contact Nicole Turman, Program Director, at nturman@includemepa.org for more information about participating in the Include Me Program.


Q – How long is Include Me support service provided?

An Include Me consultant will work with student teams and families throughout the school calendar year.


Q – How many school districts and students does the Include Me program support each year?

The Include Me program supports school districts each year based on a contract outlined with the Bureau of Special Education and our private funders.


Q – What is customized employment?

Customized employment is a negotiated job, that focuses on creating tasks and responsibilities that matches the job seeker’s interests, skills, and needs. By creating a customized job, we are able to create a position designed around the job seeker’s abilities. Employers also benefit by hiring someone that is uniquely suited to the challenges and needs of their workplace.


Q – What is the difference between Discovery, Customized Job Development, and Systematic Instruction?

Discovery, Customized Job Development, and Systematic Instruction are 3 separate stages of Customized Employment that are designed to build off one another. The end goal of all of these services is paid, customized employment in the community.

Discovery is the first step to developing a customized job. Discovery is a positive, no-fail assessment of an individual’s strengths, interests, and needs. At the end of the process, the job seeker will have a plan creating a customized job.

Customized Job Development is the next step and the second service that ADEPT offers. Customized Job Development takes the plan from Discovery to negotiate with local employers for a custom position. Our staff and consultants trained in customized job development specialists will research, outreach, and negotiate for a customized job on behalf of the job seeker.

Systematic Instruction is the third service from The Arc of PA. Systematic Instruction is a form of temporary job support with an emphasis on training the natural supports within the business. Our role with systematic instruction is to build up the capacity for employer’s trainers, supervisors, and co-workers to effectively teach new skills to the newly hired individual.


Q – Who qualifies for Discovery, Customized Job Development, and Systematic Instruction services?

The Arc of Pennsylvania believes that anyone can work. Discovery, Customized Job Development, and Systematic Instruction are ideally suited for anyone with an impact of disability that’s struggled with traditional forms of job development or who wants customized employment.

What is the appropriate age range for these services?

Our services are appropriate for anyone interested in finding employment. Pennsylvania’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), and Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) will fund this service for eligible adults 18 or older. We can also serve students of transition-age (14-21) thanks to a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education. Depending on availability, students can receive Discovery to help plan for their transition to work and participate in an internship.


Q – How do I get Discovery, Customized Job Development, and Systematic Instruction services?

All 3 services are offered by Pennsylvania’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), and Office of Developmental Programs (ODP). It is recommended that you first speak with your OVR counselor to request these services. You can request for The Arc of Pennsylvania to be your provider or ask for a list of qualified providers available to your region. OVR regional offices – http://www.dli.pa.gov/Individuals/Disability-Services/ovr/Pages/OVR-Office-Directory.aspx

Should OVR be unable to provide these services, ODP can offer Customized Employment through waiver funding. Customized Employment is called Advanced Supported Employment under waiver funding. You will need to work with your support coordinator and local Mental Health and Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities office to request this service. ODP will provide a list of qualified providers in your area and you can request The Arc of PA as the provider if we are available in your area.

If you are a high school student or know a high school student that could benefit from these services, please contact the ADEPT Program Manager Anthony Chan at achan@includemepa.org or the ADEPT Assistant Program Manager Jennifer Hipps at jhipps@includemepa.org. The Arc of Pennsylvania has a contract with Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Special Education to provide a limited number of Discovery services to students free of charge.


Q – What are the essential elements of Customized Employment?

Customized Employment is a service that is offered by a number of providers in Pennsylvania. Here is a list of elements to Discovery and Customized Employment that all customers should expect- regardless of their provider.

Essential elements of Discovery:
• Discovery is a qualitative and optimistic approach.
• Discovery uses observation, participation with the job seeker, interviews, and records reviews as methods of qualitative research
• Discovery determines the individual’s strengths, interests, and needs
• Discovery describes the job seeker descriptively rather than evaluative
• Discovery is owned by the individual job seeker. All documents are approved by the job seeker.
• The findings of Discovery are recorded in a narrative profile.

Essential Elements of Customized Employment
• Customized Employment is a mutually beneficial employment opportunity between the employer and the job seeker that emphasizes flexibility.
• The job developer will negotiate job tasks and responsibilities on behalf of the individual
• Each job is customized to the individual’s strengths, interests, and needs.
• The job developer should tour the employer’s business to determine a real need and compatibility for the job seeker’s contributions.


Q – What is the Customized Plan for Employment (CPE)?

The Customized Plan for Employment is a planning meeting to create a blueprint for a customized position for the job seeker based on the information learned in Discovery. This meeting is facilitated by the person who provided the Discovery process and it is owned by the job seeker. The job seeker will choose up to 10 individuals to attend this meeting. The goal of the meeting to help shape what the customized job will look like by identifying job tasks related to the job seeker’s interests and skills. All attendees will receive copies of the Discovery profile which outlines the person’s life experiences, strengths, interests, and needs. The attendees will assist the job seeker by providing input, but all final decisions are determined by the job seeker. The outcome of this meeting will be a list of interests, potential job tasks, conditions for successful employment, and potential employers within the community.


Q – What is the Visual Resume?

The visual resume is a resume that highlights the job seeker’s skills and contributions to an employer. It primarily uses photographs and videos showing the job seeker performing skills related to their desired work. The use of photographs and videos creates a unique and memorable resume for the employer. It also helps highlights the contributions of the job seeker to an employer more so than a traditional 1-page written resume. Its strength is that the pictures and videos will help an employer clearly understand the skills that the job seeker has to offer. The resume can be printed out or shown electronically.


Q – How do I get certified in providing Discovery, Customized Job Development, and Systematic Instruction?

If you are interested in providing these services through the Office Vocational Rehabilitation or Office of Developmental Programs, then you must become certified through an approved trainer. The Arc of Pennsylvania has partnered with Marc Gold and Associates to offer certification training to all interested organizations and individuals in Pennsylvania. Marc Gold is a national leader in Discovery and Customized Employment. They are recognized by both OVR and ODP as an approved certifying entity for Discovery, Customized Job Development, and Systematic Instruction. Please be aware that each service – Discovery, Customized Job Development, and Systematic Instruction – requires a separate certification. For example, if you are certified in Discovery, you are not yet qualified to provide services in Customized Job Development or Systematic Instruction. There are also slight differences in the requirements to become qualified in these services between OVR and ODP.

OVR Requirements
• Must be certified by an OVR approved certifying agency.
• Must provide proof of certification.
• Discovery certification must provide samples of the Discovery profile, customized plan for employment, and visual resume.

ODP Requirements (Listed as Advanced/Enhanced Supported Employment)
• Must be certified by Marc Gold and Associates.
• Must provide proof of certification.
• Must have a BA in a related field or provide a copy of diploma and written documentation showing experience in working with individuals with disabilities.

NEW Module Just Arrived - Trauma-Informed Care. Visit our E-Learning Module Series. This series provides information and strategies for teachers, families, and paras to support the education of all students.

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 work with school districts with the lowest inclusion rates. After the initial success, we have grown in reputation among school districts. Currently districts voluntarily chose our services, which are provided free of charge to the district. In addition to our School Age services, we offer transition-age services to help teams plan a path to customized employment for students transitioning from high school.

Donation Refund Policy

We are grateful for your donation and support of our organization. If you have made an error in making your donation or change your mind about contributing to our organization please contact us. Refunds are returned using the original method of payment. If you made your donation by credit card, your refund will be credited to that same credit card.

Automated Recurring Donation Cancellation

Ongoing support is important to enabling projects to continue their work, so we encourage donors to continue to contribute to projects over time. But if you must cancel your recurring donation, please notify us.

Privacy Policy

  1. What Information Do We Collect?
    When you visit our website you may provide us with two types of information: personal information you knowingly choose to disclose that is collected on an individual basis and website use information collected on an aggregate basis as you and others browse our website.
  2. Personal Information You Choose to Provide
    We may request that you voluntarily supply us with personal information, including your email address, postal address, home or work telephone number, and other personal information for such purposes as correspondence, placing an order, requesting an estimate, or participating in online surveys.
    If you choose to correspond with us through email, we may retain the content of your email messages together with your email address and our responses. We provide the same protections for these electronic communications that we employ in the maintenance of information received by mail and telephone.
  3. Website Use Information
    Similar to other websites, our site may utilize a standard technology called "cookies" (see explanation below, "What Are Cookies?") and web server logs to collect information about how our website is used. Information gathered through cookies and server logs may include the date and time of visits, the pages viewed, time spent at our website, and the sites visited just before and just after ours. This information is collected on an aggregate basis. None of this information is associated with you as an individual.
  4. How Do We Use the Information That You Provide to Us?
    Broadly speaking, we use personal information for purposes of administering our business activities, providing service and support and making available other products and services to our customers and prospective customers. Occasionally, we may also use the information we collect to notify you about important changes to our website, new services and special offers we think you will find valuable. The lists used to send you product and service offers are developed and managed under our traditional standards designed to safeguard the security and privacy of all personal information provided by our users. You may at any time to notify us of your desire not to receive these offers.
  5. What Are Cookies?
    Cookies are a feature of web browser software that allows web servers to recognize the computer used to access a website. Cookies are small pieces of data that are stored by a user's web browser on the user's hard drive. Cookies can remember what information a user accesses on one web page to simplify subsequent interactions with that website by the same user or to use the information to streamline the user's transactions on related web pages. This makes it easier for a user to move from web page to web page and to complete commercial transactions over the Internet. Cookies should make your online experience easier and more personalized.
  6. How Do We Use Information Collected From Cookies?
    We use website browser software tools such as cookies and web server logs to gather information about our website users' browsing activities, in order to constantly improve our website and better serve our users. This information assists us to design and arrange our web pages in the most user-friendly manner and to continually improve our website to better meet the needs of our users and prospective users.
    Cookies help us collect important business and technical statistics. The information in the cookies lets us trace the paths followed by users to our website as they move from one page to another. Web server logs allow us to count how many people visit our website and evaluate our website's visitor capacity. We do not use these technologies to capture your individual email address or any personally identifying information about you.
  7. Notice of New Services and Changes
    Occasionally, we may use the information we collect to notify you about important changes to our website, new services and special offers we think you will find valuable. As a user of our website, you will be given the opportunity to notify us of your desire not to receive these offers by clicking on a response box when you receive such an offer or by sending us an email request.
  8. How Do We Secure Information Transmissions?
    When you send confidential personal information to us on our website, secure server software that we have licensed encrypts all information you input before it is sent to us. The information is scrambled en route and decoded once it reaches our website.
    Other emails that you may send to us may not be secure unless we advise you that security measures will be in place prior to your transmitting the information. For that reason, we ask that you do not send confidential information such as Social Security, credit card, or account numbers to us through an unsecured email.
  9. How Do We Protect Your Information?
    Information Security -- We utilize encryption/security software to safeguard the confidentiality of personal information we collect from unauthorized access or disclosure and accidental loss, alteration, or destruction.
    Evaluation of Information Protection Practices -- Periodically, our operations and business practices are reviewed for compliance with organization policies and procedures governing the security, confidentiality and quality of our information.
    Employee Access, Training, and Expectations -- Our organization values, ethical standards, policies, and practices are committed to the protection of user information. In general, our business practices limit employee access to confidential information, and limit the use and disclosure of such information to authorized persons, processes and transactions.
  10. How Can You Access and Correct Your Information?
    You may request access to all your personally identifiable information that we collect online and maintain in our database by emailing us using the contact form provided to you within the site structure of our website.
  11. Do We Disclose Information to Outside Parties?
    We may provide aggregate information about our customers, sales, website traffic patterns, and related website information to our affiliates or reputable third parties, but this information will not include personally identifying data, except as otherwise provided in this privacy policy.
  12. What About Legally Compelled Disclosure of Information?
    We may disclose information when legally compelled to do so, in other words, when we, in good faith, believe that the law requires it or for the protection of our legal rights.
  13. Permission to Use of Materials
    The right to download and store or output the materials on our website is granted for the user's personal use only, and materials may not be reproduced in any edited form. Any other reproduction, transmission, performance, display or editing of these materials by any means mechanical or electronic without our express written permission is strictly prohibited. Users wishing to obtain permission to reprint or reproduce any materials appearing on this site may contact us directly.