Published On: September 28, 2023

We have several different employment programs within the Employment Services Division including our Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) funded employment program which has been around approximately 40 years; our Family Opportunity Program which will enter its fourth year in October; and Pathways to Opportunity, which started its third year of a 5-year grant. We also offer Benefits Planning (BINS) services to compliment all three programs. We have a College Internship Experience program in its eighth year and Project SEARCH Indiana at Community Hospitals East (since 2007) and  Community Hospital North ( since 2011).

Program Goals

  • Employment services through VR referrals assist individuals with significant disabilities with career exploration, benefits planning, job placement, job coaching and long-term employment supports. This is funded by the State of Indiana, FSSA / DDRS / Bureau of VR. Eligibility requires participants to apply and be approved by VR, and then referred to Easterseals Crossroads. This program is available for those who are 16 years of age or older.
  • The Family Opportunity Program is a two-generational approach providing an array of services for children with disabilities, as well as workforce development assistance and the ability to connect with community resources and benefits for adult caregivers. We serve approximately 40 families per year. This is funded by the United Way Family Opportunity Fund. Entry into the program is a child with a disability who can benefit from and be enrolled in any programs offered through Easterseals Crossroads. If the adult caregiver will also benefit from services as noted, we can enroll the family. The adult caregiver does not have to have a disability. Families must reside in the United Way of Central Indiana seven- county service area. Children must be ages birth to 18 (or 22 if they are in school under an IEP) and adults must be ages 18 and up.
  • Pathway to Opportunity is a five-year grant with an enrollment goal of 150 individuals over 5 years. We serve individuals with disabilities who reside in Marion County and are living at or below 185% of poverty level. The goal is to move participants out of poverty through employment and high-touch, intensive services to address all barriers to achieving this goal. The program is funded by the Lilly Endowment Enhancing Opportunities in Indianapolis fund. To be compatible with the program goals, a participant must be willing to discontinue public entitlements and benefits and move to self-sufficiency through full-time employment. This program is available for those who are 17+ years of age.
  • Benefits Planning (BINS) services are available for participants in all three of the employment programs. We complete approximately 85 BINS per year. To be eligible, an individual must be receiving SSI, SSDI or Medicaid and participating in one of our employment programs. This program is available for those who are 16+ years of age.
  • The College Intern Experience program provides college students with autism with an internship in their field of study. It is funded through our Lilly Endowment Autism grant and the goal is to provide 22 internships over a two-year grant cycle. To be eligible, participants must have a diagnosis of autism and be actively enrolled in one of our nine partnering colleges. This program is available for college students who are 18+ years of age.
  • Project SEARCH Indiana is a work emersion program for transition age youth with developmental disabilities. We partner with three school systems (myIPS, Lawrence Township, Warren Township), VR and Community Health Network. We serve an average of 22 – 24 students each school year. Participants must have a developmental disability, be under 22 years of age and be eligible to be enrolled in VR services. We do accept some young adults (over 22 years old and out of school) when circumstances allow us to do so.

Our Staff

Our staff members who provide services within the above program areas come from an array of backgrounds. All of our employees are highly skilled in job readiness training and employment procurement. Our staff are dedicated and committed to working with individuals with disabilities.

“We have the distinct privilege and honor to help people with disabilities change and enhance their lives everyday through our employment programs and services,” said Marjorie Duryea, Director of Employment Services.

Who Benefits from these Programs

Our employment programs benefit the participants and their families by gaining employment and earning wages. In the broader sense, our program benefits our community by adding to the workforce and tax base, diversifying the workforce with individuals with disabilities and helping individuals with disabilities reduce dependence upon public assistance.

Pathways is the only Lilly Endowment LEI funded grant that focuses on disability.  We are one of a few FOF funded programs that focus on disability. Our Project SEARCH is the only one remaining in central Indiana.

Who to Contact for More Information

Contact us for more information about any of the above options within our employment services area.