Marilee Boylan, M.S.
Director of Employment
Employment enables individuals with disabilities to participate more fully in their communities and become contributing members of our society. The employment rate for people with disabilities has remained persistently and disproportionately below the rate for individuals without disabilities for decades, despite significant effort at the local, state and federal level. The Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities strives to create a system of supports that makes competitive, integrated employment a reality for all people with disabilities in New York State. Through community collaborations and partnerships, training and technical assistance, and policy and advocacy efforts, SCDD works to ensure people with disabilities can secure and maintain employment opportunities in their community.
SCDD Employment Projects and Initiatives
Advance to Apprenticeship (A2A) is an employment initiative though the Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities to improve access to apprenticeship programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) within the manufacturing industry. The project is a collaboration with Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC), Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY), Center for Workforce Development at Monroe 2–Orleans BOCES (CWD) and Rochester Technology & Manufacturing Association (RTMA).
Courses at MVCC start in Fall 2023. Courses at CWD start in Spring 2024.
Please contact us for more information.
Employment Discovery Network
The Employment Discovery Network helps young people with disabilities and their families plan for employment and create independent meaningful lives through a series of workshops and meetings. Program Flyer
We are currently seeking partners to expand the Employment Discovery Network. If you or an organization you are affiliated with is interested, contact us.
Project SEARCH® - Project SEARCH® provides employment training and education for young adults with significant disabilities. The program is dedicated to workforce development that benefits the individual, community, and workplace. The Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities serves as the statewide coordinator for Project SEARCH® in New York State. Working in collaboration with the Project SEARCH® team at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, we can provide technical assistance to communities interested in starting a Project SEARCH® program. Please contact us for more information.
ROC EmployABILITY Coalition
- In October of 2018 SCDD co-hosted an employment summit with Starbridge. The ROC EmployABILITY Summit was born of a recognition that people with disabilities in the City of Rochester are the poorest of any city in the country. To learn more about the summit and the findings, read this report.
- This work continues through the ROC EmployABILITY Coalition. To learn more or become involved in the ROC EmployABILITY Coalition, contact us.
SCDD Employment Advocacy
SCDD advocates for high expectations related to employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across stakeholder groups (state officials, businesses, schools, families, and provider agencies). We advocate at the state and federal level to design creative and culturally responsive employment services. If you are interested in getting involved in our advocacy efforts, contact our Advocacy Specialist, Jeiri Flores.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month Video Campaign - The video campaign is designed to facilitate a business to business conversation about the benefits of inclusive hiring and advocates for a more inclusive business culture.
Through the Partnerships in Employment Systems Change project, SCDD developed Self-Advocacy Curriculum that is free and available to districts and agencies across the state. It can serve as a resource to support young adults to develop advocacy skills related specifically to employment. Read the full curriculum
SCDD Employment Services
SCDD can be contracted to provide program evaluations at the local, state or federal level. Examples include an evaluation of access to career and technical education for students with disabilities at WFL BOCES, and the Pathway to Employment service for the Office for Developmental Disabilities across the state of New York. Contact us to learn more about the services we can provide.
Training and Technical Assistance
SCDD offers training and technical assistance for schools and organizations on the topics of transition and employment. Topics can be tailored to fit the needs of the request. Presentation Flyer.
SCDD contracts with businesses to provide training and technical assistance. Content is geared towards creating more inclusive environments and designing better supports for individuals with disabilities in the workforce. Topics can be tailored to fit the needs of unique businesses.
Partners and Collaborators
SCDD is a proud member of APSE, a national, non-profit organization dedicated to Employment First, a vision that all people with disabilities have a right to competitive employment in an inclusive workforce.
New York Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation
SCDD is a proud member of the New York Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation’s Employment Council. This council focuses on advanced level, cross systems approaches to employment services for people with disabilities in NY.
Starbridge is a disability service provider located in upstate New York. SCDD collaborated with Starbridge to co-host and employment summit in 2018 that brought together employment experts and community stakeholders to brainstorm barriers to strategies for decreasing poverty and increasing employment for people with disabilities in Rochester, NY. Starbridge continues to be a great partner in a leadership capacity through the ROC EmployABILITY Coalition.
Project SEARCH is a one year training program for people with disabilities that was developed at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. SCDD collaborates with the Project SEARCH national team in Cincinnati to offer technical assistance and support to existing and potential Project SEARH teams across New York State.
SCDD is a proud member of the Rochester Area Employment Network (RAEN). RAEN is a coalition of agencies in the Rochester, New York area, that works collectively to promote the employment of people with disabilities through education, outreach, and training opportunities