2024 Innovative Employment Opportunity (IEO) Notice of Opportunity

Under the leadership of Commissioner Scheff, the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and the Intellectual Disability Partnership (IDP) is relaunching the Innovative Employment Opportunity (IEO) grant program. This opportunity was established to provide support and resources for the creation or expansion of business ventures that integrate individuals with intellectual disabilities into their communities through meaningful employment. 
DDS is an Employment First agency with a goal of increasing opportunities for people with disabilities based on their skills and interests to find and retain employment in the general workforce that is equivalent to Competitive Integrated Employment (“CIE”). 
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) defines competitive integrated employment (CIE) as work that is performed on a full-time or part-time basis for which an individual is: 
• Paid minimum wage or greater. 
• Offered the same level of benefits as employees without disabilities in similar positions. 
• Located in an inclusive setting - at a location where the employee interacts with other individuals without disabilities. 
• Presented with opportunities for advancement similar to other employees without disabilities in similar positions. 

This grant program is intended to support innovative business ideas that will increase meaningful employment for people with intellectual disability that aligns with DDS’ commitment to Competitive Integrated Employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 
Nationally, individuals with developmental disabilities are disproportionately unemployed, underemployed, and living in poverty. DDS, an Employment First Agency, realizes that meaningful employment can be a cornerstone of any individual’s successful participation in their community. The Innovative Employment Opportunity seeks to increase opportunities for people with disabilities to become self-employed or to engage with entrepreneurs in employment opportunities, thereby increasing their economic self-sufficiency.


2024 IEO NOO
2024 IEO Application
2024 Innovative Employment Opportunity FAQ