From the late 1980s through the 1990s, which supported employment consultant Connie Ferrell called “an incredible decade for Indiana,” there was energetic implementation of supported employment. “Indiana got ahead of the curve,” observed Jim Hammond, retired CEO of the Indiana Association of Rehabilitation Facilities. By contrast, he noted in 2013, placement in community-based jobs “has lagged behind in recent times because there hasn't been the same resource emphasis on employment of people with significant disabilities as maybe some other states.” Connie Ferrell agreed, noting the absence of “that push to be creative and try to figure out how to reach for those individuals who still aren't accessing it.”
In 2020, Indiana’s commitment to integrated employment as measured by “fiscal effort” is greater than a majority of other states. However, sheltered work has not disappeared, paying an average hourly wage of $2.71. A survey of disability service agencies showed that only 22% of individuals served, mostly people with intellectual disabilities, were working in competitive, integrated settings.
"Agencies that are really committed and are really values driven around having people in the community have continued on. But the pace is slower." Providers who "are driven by 'show me the money' have backed way away from serving people with the most significant disabilities." Connie Ferrell observes the stagnation that has set in for Indiana's supported employment initiatives. Connie Ferrell clip >
Derek Nord, Teresa Grossi, John Andresen; Employment Equity for People with IDD Across the Lifespan: The Effects of State Funding. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
1 August 2020; 58 (4): 288–300.