September 16 Troy, MI
September 17 Grand Rapids, MI
September 19 Marquette, MI

The Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council and MARO, as part of the state’s Employment First initiative, are partnering to bring an innovative training opportunity to 3 regions in Michigan. This “train the trainers” event is open to employment service providers, educators, state agency staff, advocates, and self-advocates, and will build the capacity to convey positive messages about competitive employment and improve partnerships with families in the employment process.

In 2018 The MI DD Council collaborated with Sean Roy from TransCen to create 2 training pieces focused on increasing family expectations of competitive employment for their sons and daughters with significant disabilities. The result was a 2 hour parent workshop model and a 1 hour professional training module intended for use by various stakeholders in the state. In November of 2018 Mr. Roy conducted a “train the trainers” event in Lansing where over 150 people learned how to use the trainings to reach families. The response to this event was overwhelmingly positive.

This event is an intentional hybrid of training session on engaging families and instruction on using the training materials. Disability employment stakeholders will find value in the event, even if they don’t intend on using the training materials directly. However, it is the goal of the DD Council and MARO to spur a statewide effort to raise expectations of families (therefore improve employment outcomes) using these materials. To that end, Mr. Roy will also be conducting evening parent workshops in the training cities to help model how best to engage an audience of families.

The event is free and training materials will be provided. Come join in the effort to strengthen Employment First, and improve employment outcomes for persons with disabilities by engaging families as a valuable partner.


Lighting the Way: Helping Families See Possibilities in Competitive Employment. A workshop for professionals. Provider Sessions will be from 1-4pm

Families play a crucial role in the lives of youth and individuals with significant disabilities. They are often the first and most consistent influence a person with a disability will have. Families are responsible for making many decisions and coordinating services and support, all while trying to cultivate and honor what youth want for themselves.

For many families, their youth’s transition to adulthood is an uncertain time. Where will they work? Where will they live? Will they have friends and be able to do things they enjoy? Families of youth with significant barriers to employment may not be able to envision employment in the community for their sons and daughters. This session is intended to serve as an introduction to the topic of building partnerships with families and the following topics:

  • Improve partnerships between employment professionals and families of youth and individuals with disabilities in Michigan
  • Provide regional teams of professionals/parents with a presentation to train professionals on engaging families
  • Expand capacity within Michigan’s employment and provider community to partner with families
  • Improve the ability of families in Michigan to understand the value of competitive employment and their role as partners in the employment process


A Future that Includes Employment: A Workshop for Families Family session will be from 530-8 pm

Parents of youth with significant disabilities may have a difficult time envisioning community-based competitive employment as part of their son or daughter’s future.  This workshop is intended to be a tool that advocates, educators, and service providers can use to provide accurate information to and help raise the expectations of families in Michigan. The goal is to show that work is possible for all people regardless of disability, to help address questions families may have, and to connect families with the resources they need to begin advocating for competitive employment for their sons and daughters.

No single presentation can answer all the questions about employment or show all the available resources and supports available to people with disabilities. This session is meant to be an introduction to seeing employment as an option, and addresses the follow topics:

  • Opportunities for people with disabilities in today’s society
  • Challenges faced
  • Employment First and competitive employment (what are we trying to accomplish?)
  • Core employment concepts
  • Benefits of your son or daughter working
  • The power of high expectations (and the impact of low expectations)
  • Helping youth create a vision statement
  • Preparing for employment success
  • Addressing your concerns
  • Social Security benefits overview
  • Action steps: Getting started

September 16 Provider Training Troy

September 16 Family Training Troy

September 17 Provider Training Grand Rapids

September 17 Family Training Grand Rapids

September 19 Provider Training Marquette

September 19 Family Training Marquette