Building economic opportunity through community development

Derek K Nord PhD, Joe Timmons, Don Lavin


BACKGROUND: Employment outcomes for people with disabilities continue to be significantly worse than those without disabilities. Government-based employment services and supports continue to face major challenges in reaching the full population of people with disabilities and the outcomes have not shown notable positive changes in last decade. OBJECTIVE: This article discusses a potential solution to this problem, to increase the support infrastructure by exploiting the abundance of local communities. CONCLUSION: Community development to solve local unemployment for all people, including people with disabilities, is necessary to increase economic opportunities and lead to more sustainable efforts to improve employment outcomes. Capacity building through neighborhood networks that include faith-based organizations, business associations, advocacy groups, job clubs, and other community groups can be a low cost but effective way to connect people with jobs outside of the traditional disability system.

Suggested Citation

Nord, D., Timmons, J., & Lavin, D. (2015). Building economic opportunity through community development. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 42(3), 241–245.


Peer-Reviewed Article 
Volume 42, Number 3
Institute on Community Integration