How Did Employment Consultants Adjust and Innovate Services to Respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic?


Background: The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced an immediate change to the delivery of employment supports and services for jobseekers and workers with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) across the United States.

Objective: This study examines how employment consultants and employment program managers adjusted the delivery of their supports to continue to provide services to jobseekers and employees with IDD during the pandemic.

Method: A total of 11 employment consultants and employment program managers from 10 states participated in semi-structured interviews about the effects of the pandemic on their provision of employment services and on the people they support. Data were analyzed thematically.

Results: Four overarching themes regarding changes in supports delivery were identified: 1) Immediate needs at pandemic onset; 2) Preparing for jobs; 3) Finding jobs; and 4) Keeping jobs.

Conclusion: The adaptations and innovations made to employment services during the pandemic, especially regarding remote services, offer new and innovative approaches to helping people with IDD find and keep employment beyond the pandemic.

Suggested Citation

Mahoehney, D., Lee, S., Bershadsky, J., & Butterworth, J. (2023). How did employment consultants adjust and innovate services to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic? Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 1–11.


Peer-Reviewed Article 
IOS Press


  • Employment and postsecondary education
    • Employment and workforce development
  • Health and safety
    • Emergency/disaster preparedness
  • Specific disability
    • Intellectual/developmental disability (IDD)