In the transition network, we talk a lot about jobs, because employment is important for young adults with disabilities. Topics like job shadowing, internships, and pre-employment skills are all part of the discussion. But there is another side to the story that often gets overlooked: the people with careers in providing developmental disability services.
From Adventure Specialists to Case Managers to Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors, these are the folks who support and enrich the lives of people with disabilities. Careers in developmental disability services are rewarding and interesting, but many job seekers are not aware of all the opportunities. Fortunately, finding jobs in disability services just got a lot easier.
Impact Oregon: Careers that make a difference
In January of 2021, the Office of Developmental Services launched a new website called Impact Oregon. Angela Yeager, Communications Officer for the Office of Developmental Disabilities Services/Employment First, helped develop the site.
“In order to raise the capacity of agencies and organizations that provide services, we saw the need for a centralized job clearinghouse,” said Yeager.
Impact Oregon serves that need. As Yeager explained, the mission of Impact Oregon is twofold. First, the site makes it easy for job seekers to find and apply for jobs that interest them. Agencies and organizations post their job openings on the website, with the work description, estimated wages or salary, and qualifications needed.
The second part of the Impact Oregon mission is to educate job seekers about the variety of careers within the disability services field. The descriptions provide insights and details about what the work involves, the personal qualities that make a good fit, and the required qualifications.
Since the launch, use of the website has been growing at a steady pace. Currently, between 3,000 and 4,000 unique users explore the site monthly. Most users are browsing the job postings, but a large number of viewers also spend time exploring the job descriptions, watching the success story videos, and using the Glossary to understand the acronyms and terminology used in disability services.
Who uses Impact Oregon?
First, employers use Impact Oregon to recruit new employees. Before posting job openings, agencies and organizations must be certified by the Office of Developmental Disabilities Services. Using their provider enrollment ID, they can post jobs complete with the organization name and location, requirements and benefits, a link to their own website, and an Apply Now link to upload resumes.
Anyone looking to get started in a career–even if they have little professional experience—can find opportunities on Impact Oregon. “The greatest and most critical need is for Direct Support Professionals, who provide one-on-one support to a client,” said Yeager. Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) empower and assist people with disabilities with daily living, socialization, meal preparation, and mobility.
Impact Oregon also benefits people who are already working in a disability services position, and who are interested in the next step in their career. Someone working as a DSP, for example, may browse the site’s success stories and job descriptions to explore how they can grow professionally. Every job posting is labeled with the expected experience level, from entry-level to advanced.
“Our hope is that Impact Oregon gives people an efficient way to get started with a good job in DD services—a career that makes a difference. And we want them to stay in the field as they advance in their careers,” said Yeager.
To learn more about Impact Oregon and about jobs in developmental disability services, check out the Careers that Make a Difference video and the Impact Oregon Success Stories video…or hop right on the site and start browsing jobs!