Community Engagement: A Pathway to Competitive Integrated Employment

People gardeningCommunity Engagement:A Pathway to Competitive Integrated Employment

The employment of individuals with disabilities benefits our communities and our nation as they maximize their skills and talents and contribute fully to our economy.  Individuals with disabilities are often unemployed, underemployed, or employed at low wages because of low expectations.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services released A Framework for Community Engagement — A Pathway to Competitive Integrated Employment.

The Framework presents a Federal vision for community engagement by individuals with disabilities to inform policymakers and service providers.

Supported community engagement enables individuals with disabilities to expand skills and experience. The benefits include:

  • Building relationships and social networks
  • Sharpening workplace skills
  • Learning work skills

Community engagement provides meaning and purpose specific to the individual. Examples of community engagement opportunities include:


  • Continuing education classes
  • Volunteering
  • Using a computer at a public library

The framework also describes how service systems work together to support community engagement and links to resources for families, young people, and providers.

Review the framework here

Learn more about “competitive integrated employment” here

View the REAL Transition Partners webinar to learn about Individualized Plans for Employment