Real Careers

Sen Mike Dugan with Elizabeth Terzich, Doggie Day Care Animal Tech at Carrol County Animal Hospital in Carrolton.People with developmental disabilities want to work, however 70% of people with disabilities are unemployed in the United States. Current practices often look at the individual’s deficits and label them as being unemployable. The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) builds on the work of the Jobs for All United States Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy grant. In addition, The Developmental Disabilities Bill of Rights and Assistance Act defines employment as: People get and keep employment consistent with their interest, abilities and needs. Click here to view a video.

GCDD Vision

GCDD’s priority for Real Careers is that there needs to be a vision where people with significant developmental disabilities can work by replicating best practices such as “customized employment.” Click here to view a video. These employment opportunities will be enhanced by building relationships with business leaders and employers as well as through policies and practices that acknowledge the value of people with developmental disabilities in the work force. Click here to view a video.

GCDD Supported Efforts

Project SEARCH - Project SEARCH is a high school transition program started in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is currently being replicated in 39 states and four countries. GCDD has helped organize a statewide Project SEARCH Initiative which arranges for technical assistance and training for teams that would like to have Project SEARCH in their community. There are currently 13 Project SEARCH sites in the state and five others in the planning stages. Click here to view a video.

Advancing Employment 
- Advancing Employment is dedicated to building a community for inclusive employment in Georgia. It is here where individuals with disabilities, their families, service providers, and others interested in employment can learn and connect with one another. We believe competitive integrated employment is possible for everyone.

Take Your Legislator to Work Day - The goal of Take Your Legislator To Work Day is to show the far reaching benefits to employers, employees and communities alike of hiring people with disabilities as well as to create opportunities for Georgians with disabilities to form and nurture relationships with their elected officials. It is an opportunity for employees with disabilities to invite their legislator(s) to visit them at work.

GCDD Public Policy Initiatives

Employment First Policy - GCDD and its partners are pleased that in 2018 the state of Georgia adopted an Employment First Policy.  The Georgia Employment First Act is bi-partisan, common-sense legislation that establishes employment as the first and preferred option for all people who want to work, regardless of their disability. Signed into law this morning by Governor Nathan Deal, the Act creates a 14-member Council, comprised of members of the disability community, state leaders and business representatives. The Council serves to make recommendations for policy and legislative action advancing Employment First tenets. Read full Act details at

Minimum Wage
- GCDD signed on with Atlanta 9 to 5 to support raising the state minimum wage.

Other Partners and Resources

Georgia Advocacy Office
Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency
Department of Education – Special Education Services and Supports
Institute on Human Development and Disability
"Segregated and Exploited: The Failure of the Disability Service System to Provide Quality Work

View our Real Careers Resources