Work is a central part of adult life.
People often identify themselves by the work that they do. A job can provide a sense of accomplishment and pride and have an enormous effect on our overall life satisfaction.
Finding the right job is not always easy, but with support from our staff, PAEP can make this process less stressful!
Individuals requesting services from PAEP must be connected to the Division of Rehabilitation Services.
To Get Started, locate your nearest DRS office by using the online Rehabilitation Services Web Referral, then refer yourself or someone else for services.
Can’t access the link or not comfortable with filling out the information online?
Call the Downers Grove DRS office at 630-495-0500 / TTY: 888-261-8512, or
PAEP can assist you with this – call 630-955-2075 / TTY: 630-955-2098.
Overview of Services
Professional Employment Specialists work one-on-one with qualified individuals with disabilities to provide an array of supported employment programs and services including:
Career Counseling: PAEP will engage participants to identify and determine employment skills and interests to develop short- and long-term career goals.
Job Training and Preparation: Development and preparation services are individualized services that assist individuals with disabilities seeking employment to develop skills, attitudes, interpersonal skills, work behaviors, and functional capacities to achieve identified employment goals. PAEP also offers job-readiness workshops to address some of these seeking skills.
Job Development and Placement: PAEP staff use assessment information about each participant seeking employment to target the types of jobs available from potential employers in the local labor market. Job development activities include contacting employers and building networks to develop and identify job opportunities, completing work site analysis, negotiating job carving or other job accommodations, and assisting the individual in finding jobs and employers well-matched to their employment goals.
Job Coaching and Support Services: Once an individual is placed into employment, PAEP provides job training and coaching services to ensure long-term success on the job. Job site training services include assisting the individual with performance on the new job task and helping them understand job culture and industry practices, and work behaviors expected by the employer.
Eligibility for Services
Parents Alliance Employment Project serves individuals residing in DuPage County who have a documented disability that may include developmental, cognitive, mental and physical disabilities and are:
18 years of age or older
Motivated to work and meet employer expectations
Able to achieve independence after initial training period
Able to provide transportation or learn public transportation
Connected to a third party funding sponsor such as the IL Department of Human Services-Division of Rehabilitation Services (DHS-DRS)
It should be noted that there are times that there may be a wait time to deem eligibility and receive services.
Frequently Asked Questions for Job Seeker Services
How much do services cost?
The services provided by Parents Alliance Employment Project are free for clients and employers. PAEP receives funding from a variety of sources, including state, county and local community high schools to support the services that are provided.
How long are services provided/How long does a participant remain an “active client” of your agency?
The services provided by PAEP are extremely individualized and based on each individual’s needs as they relate to employment. Therefore, the length of time may differ for every person. The average time that a person works with PAEP is 10-12 months. This timeframe includes all aspects of services from intake appointment to job-readiness training to placement and coaching.
What will an “Employment Specialist” do for me when my case is open?
An Employment Specialist is a trained career counselor who works with people with disabilities to help them gain the employment they are looking for. If the individual is not sure what they are looking for, the Employment Specialist can help them assess their skills and come up with some possible jobs to look into. Once the client is positive about what position they are looking for, the Employment Specialist will go out in the community on the client’s behalf and contact employers about job opportunities. This process is called job development as well. When a position is obtained, the Employment Specialist is also the Job Coach on the employment site if the client needs more help in learning the skills necessary for the position.
For more information, read our Handbook for Supported Employment Services.