Since 1990, The Arc of Greensboro has offered vocational guidance and supported employment for the region's working-age adults with intellectual disabilities. An essential component of those services is reshaping public policy to expand employment opportunities for people with intellectual and/or physical limitation disabilities. Only a tiny fraction of working-age adults with intellectual disabilities are gainfully employed in North Carolina compared to their non-disabled counterparts.
The employment rate of working-age adults with disabilities in North Carolina is approximately 37% compared to 80% of adults without disabilities. The state's rate of poverty, which is set at an annual income of $9,800 for a single adult, is 27% for people with disabilities compared to 10% of working-age people without disabilities. North Carolina's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Sandhills Center contract with The Arc to assist disabled adults in securing and maintaining competitive jobs that pay at least minimum wage. Each year, The Arc helps more than 100 adults with disabilities obtain gainful employment in Greater Greensboro by working in partnership with local businesses.
Cornell University's Employment and Disability Institute has identified supported employment as a best practice model for increasing "the employment and economic self-sufficiency of people with disabilities and improving the quality of their lives." Employment readiness activities, job placement guidance and continuous on-the-job support helps people with disabilities integrate into community life and reduce dependency on Social Security Disability (SSD) and other government supports. Rewarding employment also provides opportunities for individuals to express their personal talents and interests.
Community Guide provides support to individuals participating in the Innovations Waiver and the planning teams that assist those individuals in developing social networks and connections with local communities.
GSAG is a peer-led self advocacy group that offers its participants opportunities to be actively involved in decisions that affect their lives. Monthly meetings include discussion about voting, legislature, and other relevant topics that directly impact individuals with I/DD.