Griffin-Hammis Associates

       Creating Communities of 
          Economic Cooperation

Customized Employment


       Griffin-Hammis Associates is an international leader in the evolution of Customized                      Employment providing training and technical consultation on all aspects of this approach.


         The U.S. Department of Labor definition states that:


Customized employment means individualizing the employment relationship between employees and employers in ways that meet the needs of both. It is based on an individualized determination of the strengths, needs, and interests of the person with a disability, and is also designed to meet the specific needs of the employer.

It may include employment developed through job carving, self-employment or entrepreneurial initiatives, or other job development or restructuring strategies that result in job responsibilities being customized and individually negotiated to fit the needs of individuals with a disability.

Customized employment assumes the provision of reasonable accommodations and supports necessary for the individual to perform the functions of a job that is individually negotiated and developed (Federal Register, June 26, 2002, Vol. 67. No. 123 pp 43154 -43149).


     Griffin-Hammis Associates’ approach to Customized Employment ensures that:

  • The job-seeker’s interests, preferences, and talents drive the employment development process, not the labor market; 
  • A negotiation of mutual benefit between the job-seeker and the employer is a critical component of successful employment;
  • These strategies work in urban, suburban, and rural communities when proper adaptations and approaches are utilized;
  • We all customize our jobs, however, the typical job-seeker customizes after being hired and many people with significant disabilities will succeed only if the customization occurs prior to beginning work;
  • Groups of people with disabilities are never offered up to employers, the process requires absolute individualization, otherwise it violates the basic premise of Customized Employment; and
  • The individual job seeker, not a program, is presented to the employer.


Customized Employment approaches include: Individualized Supported Employment, Job Carving, Job Creation, Natural Supports Utilization, Small Business Strategies, Resource Ownership, Social Security Incentive Initiative, and blended funding. GHA provides training on all these topics, as well as Systematic Instruction, Job Analysis, Job Development, Interest-based Negotiation and Problem- Solving for Employment Specialists, Using Customized Employment in a One-Stop, and Customized Employment for Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities, et al.

Available for FREE Download!

Customized Employment (CE) represents a nuanced departure from traditional competitive and comparative approaches to developing work. True CE is hard to come by actually. This collection of examples is offered to point out the sometimes less obvious nuanced methods vital to customization. 

These stories represent a broad array of situations from basic to very complex, but represent accessible examples relatable to by most practicioners in the field of community employment. GHA provides these case examples thanks to the hard, brilliant work of our many partners across the United States and Canada. 

This collection of examples is short and to the point. The lessons, while not always explicitly detailed, exist throughout. Please use this publication for staff in-service training, for family education, to bolster employment seekers' outlook, and to augment examples of successful companies that modified their hiring approaches ever so slightly to accomodate new workers. 

We encourage the reader to always be asking: "What's customized about this?"

Click the above icon or link to download!
Customized Employment: Stories and Lessons from the Field, Cary Griffin & Sherry Beamer (Eds).

The Job Developers Handbook

by Cary Griffin,David Hammis,Tammara Geary

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Brookes Publishing



Thought Sauce!


A collection of short articles, forms and related Customized Employment materials for free. Please use for training handouts, as a staff in service resource, and as a guide for emerging practice.

Just click on picture above!

Customized Self-Employment Examples

Thanks to our friends at The Rural Institute, University of Montana; Cobb/Douglass CSB Georgia; The Resource Exchange in Colorado Springs; The Kentucky Dept. of Vocational Rehabilitation; Allegan County Community Health in Michigan; Bridges of Indiana, and all the other folks who contributed these examples!

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Want more info? Click on these links to watch videos of Customized Employment In Iowa and Ohio