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Advancing Customized Employment (ACE): Building Careers for People with Disabilities Via One-Stop Centers

A Collaboration of the Chicago Workforce Board, Chicago One-Stop Centers, Thresholds, Inc., and the Center on Mental Health Services Research & Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)

* Center wins Eli Lilly On-the-Job Award *

The project is designed to enrich the capacity of One-Stop Career Centers in Chicago to provide customized employment (CE) services to people with psychiatric disabilities. People with mental health disabilities are a significant and untapped labor resource for Chicago’s employers and businesses. Over five years, 135 individuals will be placed into community-based competitive employment using CE to…

  • promote the employment of persons with psychiatric disabilities in jobs that provide more than minimum wage, and offer benefits and opportunities for career growth and skill development;
  • place persons with significant mental health disabilities in non-stereotypical jobs in integrated, inclusive work settings by using individualized, person-centered job development strategies;
  • facilitate employer and other natural supports on the job;
  • build strong, enduring business partnerships;
  • and design all services on the basis of consumer choice and customer satisfaction.

The ACE project has developed a CE model for individuals with psychiatric disabilities that can be replicated and implemented in One-Stop Centers statewide. This model involves a systematic review of Center policies and procedures to incorporate new policies and evidence-based practices into all Center activities. The project brings together existing expertise where it is needed, organizes outreach and partnerships, and delivers training and education. To this end, three advisory councils are helping to guide the project, made up of state and local leaders in mental health, disability, policy, practice, advocacy, business, and other local communities. Staff at the UIC Center on Mental Health Services Research and Policy are responsible for all ACE training and evaluation activities, and participate in program and policy development.


For more information about this project, contact Jane Burke-Miller, M.S. (Project Manager).


Judith A. Cook, Ph.D. (Principal Investigator)
Lisa A. Razzano, Ph.D. (Project Director)
Carol Petersen, M.A. (Project Trainer)
Jane Burke-Miller, M.S. (Project Manager)

Chicago Workforce Board and One-Stop Center Staff:

Linda J. Kaiser, Esq. (Principal Investigator/Executive Director)
Deb Russell, M.S. (Project Manager)
Marta Cerda, Esq. (One-Stop Transition Director)

Thresholds Staff

Ginnie Fraser, M.A. (Principal Investigator)
Carolyn Jones (Project Director)

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UIC Center on Mental Health Services Research and Policy
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Chicago, IL  60612  USA
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Last updated January 25, 2007