California Finalizes Agreement to Transform Employment Services for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Press Release

(Sacramento, CA – May 18, 2017) Forty-five-year old Charles McCarron, who has a developmental disability, dreamed of working in the food service industry. However, after high school he could not get a job in the community. Instead, he worked in a sheltered workshop, earning below minimum wage. Years later, with help from state agencies he got a job in an ice cream parlor. See video profiling Charles here. Today Charles works as a dishwasher in a restaurant.

Disability Rights California applauds the historic step taken by California to transform its employment services to better support individuals like Charles. With the finalization of the Competitive Integrated Employment Blueprint, the state moves away from a model of segregated job sites, and instead joins an emerging national movement that recognizes the right of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to work in integrated settings earning a livable wage.

Several major outcomes of the Blueprint include:

  • Improved coordination between state agencies that provide employment services.
  • Additional support for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to earn a competitive wage in integrated settings.
  • A commitment that by March 2019, the state will no longer place or serve individuals in segregated work settings, including sheltered workshops. The state will also provide individual planning and supports to help individuals in these settings develop alternative pathways to employment.
  • Immediate restrictions on the state’s ability to place individuals under 24 years old in jobs earning less than minimum wage.

“We worked closely with the state to create a plan that allows people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to find meaningful work in the community with fair pay,” said Debra Jorgenson, a managing attorney with Disability Rights California. “Everyone deserves the opportunity to achieve their employment goals.”

The Blueprint is the combined effort of the California Department of Education, California Department of Rehabilitation, and the California Department of Developmental Services. The three departments worked in partnership with a number of stakeholders, including Disability Rights California, the federally mandated protection and advocacy agency for Californians with disabilities.

To view the final Blueprint, please visit the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHSA) webpage at and select the tab at the top titled CIE.