New video, “Customized Employment in Kentucky” Premiering at Lexington 25th Anniversary of the ADA Celebration

Just in time for the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute announces the debut of their new video, “Customized Employment in Kentucky,” which will be premiered at Lexington’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of the ADA this Thursday, July 30.

The seven-minute video profiles three employees with developmental disabilities who are working in their community, in jobs which are a good fit for them, and in which their contributions are valued by their employer. The common thread in these stories is that the jobs were “customized,” a process in which employer needs are matched with the talents, interests and contributions of individual job seekers.

The video will premiere in Lexington at the 25th Anniversary celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act, to be held Thursday, July 30 at LexArts, 161 North Mill Street. Doors open at 12:30 p.m., the program begins at 1:00, and the video will be shown at 3:00. The event is free and open to the public; however, the organizers ask that you RSVP to or call (859) 252-4931.

The Lexington Human Rights Commission is hosting a panel discussion celebrating 25 years of the ADA, including Christina Espinosa, Program Administrator from HDI, who will be reflecting on the good things that have happened in the last 25 years, on the challenges individuals with disabilities encounter today, and how we can overcome them. The panel is Thursday, July 30 at 1:00 at the LexArts Building downtown on North Mill Street.

Sara Tinker, Employment Specialist for Down Syndrome of Louisville’s Career Solutions, says, “I think the great thing about customized employment, if you’re really doing it in its truest form, and you’re looking at an employer’s unmet needs and what their interests are, and you’re look at an individual’s strengths and what they have to contribute, but then also paying attention to things like natural support, an Employment Specialist, all they really have to do, is act as a resource and then get out of the way.

According to Katie Wolf Whaley, Project Director of the KY Supported Employment Training Project at  HDI and President of KY ASPE, “Employment First is a philosophy that employment be the first and preferred outcome for adults who receives services in the disabilities service system… it’s the idea that adults in our society go to work. That’s what you do after school.”

If you can’t make it to the premeire, the video can also be seen on HDI’s YouTube channel.