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Public Advisory: Please take our population health survey ... | last updated: 04/08/2020 - 3:26pm | + read more

Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) is asking Johnson County residents to complete a short survey in order to understand how many people in Johnson County have or do not have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). The survey will close at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 10.

Survey link - Population Health Survey

Developmental Supports

Mark D. Elmore Center

10501 Lackman Road, Lenexa, KS 66219

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Supported Employment

Supported Employment Banner

JCDS has partnered with several community businesses to provide supported work crews to their business location. A supported work crew is a group of individuals that are eligible for CDDO services that act as a team to complete production work. The work crew is supervised both by the business itself, and by an on-site employment coach provided by JCDS. Work crew employees are paid minimum wage or higher. Most crews work between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., but hours can vary.

Being part of a work crew is a good opportunity to get some hands on work experience in a business environment in a more supervised and structured way. This can be helpful for those who are interested in community employment, but want or need a more structured experience first.

To be in a supported worksite, you must be 18 years of age or older. You must also be CDDO eligible: to determine whether you or your family member is CDDO eligible and to start CDDO services visit the CDDO online. The opportunity to be in a supported worksite is determined by current availability, and is not guaranteed.


Amy Fair
Community Employment Team Leader
(913) 826-2223

Debra Bartholomew
Community Employment Team Leader
(913) 826-2282

Retirement Services

Retirement Banner

Many older adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities prefer to participate in day activities that are typical of those that many seniors enjoy during their retirement years. JCDS retirement activity programs are structured to connect both the aging systems and disabilities networks in empowering older adults with disabilities to have full access to community services. Some of the activities focus on therapeutic intervention as well as involvement in normalized daily routines such as attending movies, memory retention activities, T-Bones baseball games, Rodeos, and music therapy. Opportunities to practice a range of motion and joint flexibility in gym exercise within the community for the purpose of slowing age-related losses in physical reserves in the context of a normal daily activity.

We participate in rehabilitative/habilitative leisure outing opportunities that promote community inclusion and allow individuals to contribute to community life through various volunteering sites and settings. These include programs and organizations such as Meals on Wheels, Stroke Foundation, Kids TLC, KU Pediatrics, Kansas City Hospice House, Library, Shawnee Gardens, Homestead, Growing Futures (Head Start), Yearly “Adopt-a-Senior” Christmas Project, DaVita Dialysis, United Methodist Church, and more. We also provide a Dementia “Room” where trained support professionals observe and assist individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s to understand their interests, capabilities, strengths, and needs. Staffs provide immediate and frequent verbal encouragement, build on skills and capabilities and use repetition to promote success and positive engagement. Leisure lifestyle education is also provided on a regular basis which promotes choices and self-determination and recognizes the human qualities that exist in all older adults with lifelong developmental challenges.

Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH logo

Johnson County Project SEARCH is an education and employment program for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 18 years of age or older who are interested in community employment. 

Project SEARCH began in Ohio at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 1996 and has developed into a successful international program. The state of Kansas began implementing Project SEARCH with its first high school model in 2010. Since then, Project SEARCH sites across the state have averaged a 72% success rate with securing employment for Project SEARCH interns. Johnson County Developmental Supports implemented the first adult model of the Project SEARCH program in Kansas in August of 2014. We experienced a 100% success rate in our first program year.

During Project SEARCH, interns will spend nine months immersed in a host business site completing three unpaid internship rotations designed to teach them marketable, transferable work skills. The goal of the program is paid employment for each intern, which is defined as a minimum of 16 hours per week in a competitive, integrated setting earning prevailing wage or higher.

To be in Project SEARCH, you must be 18 years of age or older. You must also be CDDO eligible. To determine whether you or your family member is CDDO eligible, please visit the CDDO online. Anyone interested in being in this program must complete an application and assessment process. Not everyone who applies is guaranteed entry.

Meet Matt

Project SEARCH intern Isaac Rankin created this profile video of Matthew Gammil, who is also a Project SEARCH intern. Isaac is interning at the Johnson County Public Information Office and Matthew is interning at the Johnson County CDDO office.

Learn More

We hold open houses every year during the month of February to explain the Project SEARCH program and help you decide whether the program is the right fit for you.

If you would like to be on the mailing list for our next open house, or if you would like more information about the Project SEARCH program in Johnson County, please contact a member of our team:

Amy Fair
Community Employment Team Leader
(913) 826-2223

To contact a specific Project SEARCH site, see the information below:

Embassy Suites Site:

Chris Donner
Project SEARCH Lead Instructor
(913) 826-2293

Bernadette Russ-Cohen
Project SEARCH Skills Trainer
(913) 826-2254

Alexandra Shaw
​Project SEARCH Skills Trainer
(913) 826-2314

County Administration Building Site:

Forrest Austin
Project SEARCH Lead Instructor
(913) 826-2278

Tina Howard
Project SEARCH Skills Trainer
(913) 826-2368

Papercrete Works

Papercrete Works logo

Papercrete Works is a social enterprise program created by JCDS employees and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Papercrete is a mixture of cement, water and recycled paper. The crew of individuals served and staff work together to pour it into molds to create products for sale such as picture frames, planters and decorative bowls. Individuals served by JCDS who participate in the program earn an hourly wage for mixing and pouring the papercrete, shredding newspaper to go into the mixture, finishing the products and working at art shows and events where the product is sold. Proceeds from the sales go back into the program.

The program received a grant from the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission. This funding allowed JCDS to house the Papercrete Works studio at the InterUrban ArtHouse in downtown Overland Park for six months. 

As part of this grant, Papercrete Works is piloting the fabrication of park benches and has a commitment with Johnson County Park and Recreation District to install six benches in parks by the end of 2017.

For more information about this program, please contact Micah Wickstrom.

On-Site Work Services

JCDS has been proudly serving the Kansas City Metro area for over 40 years, providing a highly reliable resource helping businesses with production solutions and contract needs. Not only has this been beneficial to businesses, it provides viable job training and skill development for our workforce, with the goal becoming more self-sustaining and inclusive into the community.

Our on-site workforce is experienced in assembly, heat-sealing, material handling, packaging, labeling and collating. For every large scale job, JCDS breaks down the process into many small parts. This ensures that there is a way for every person to be productive with their current skillset. This also allows the ability to set goals for improvement in each person, to help them each be as vocationally ready as possible. Each person receives a paycheck based on their productivity; there are some tasks that we employ at minimum wage.

Community Readiness Group

Also known as CRG, this program provides extra training for individuals who have the goal of securing competitive employment in the community. In addition to working as a team to figure out how they are going to handle their daily workload, CRG team members work on softer skills needed in the workplace such as filling out timecards, participating in team meetings and more. Check out our Facebook photo album!



Getting Started

JCDS promotes the values of “Employment First” with a focus on integrated, community-based employment for individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities to earn at or above the minimum wage as the first option. If competitive integrated employment is not an immediate goal or inaccessible in the short term, JCDS offers a variety of on-site and community-based employment and community volunteer service options for individuals with all levels of support needs. For retired citizens, and for those impacted by significant health-related conditions, JCDS provides a variety of meaningful day activities.

To participate in any of the services or programs that are available at JCDS, one must first be determined eligible under CDDO guidelines. Visit the CDDO online to learn more about this process. Every service listed in JCDS service pages and every private provider for developmental services in our area require CDDO eligibility to participate.

After determining eligibility, you will meet with the CDDO to select service providers. All the services described on these web pages are provided and managed by JCDS, and you will need to select JCDS as a Day and Employment service provider to participate in them. In addition, not all services listed may be currently accepting new participants. JCDS services are but one of many options: there are many other private entities in our area that provide day and employment services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. You can find a list of other local day and employment service providers on the CDDO webpage.


Amy Fair
Community Employment Team Leader
(913) 826-2223

Meet Olga

Olga was part of our Project SEARCH internship class of 2016-2017 who got a full-time job before she graduated. Check out her story:

You can see more employment success stories on our YouTube channel.


Work Enrichment Services

Life Enrichment Services

End-Dependence Kansas

End-Dependence Kansas (EDK) is a program aimed at helping jobseekers diagnosed with IDD find competitive employment in the community. EDK uses a progressive, educational approach to employment that helps jobseekers develop work skills. Participants receive one-on-one training from employment specialists and participate in job shadows, company tours, and informational interviews to learn more about different work environment to help them find the right match. End-Dependence Kansas is a statewide program aimed at helping 2,000 Kansans with disabilities access employment. It is funded through a Kansas Department for Children and Families grant.

For Employers

EDK partners with many different companies throughout Johnson County that allow jobseekers in our program to complete a work experience at their business. The EDK program is a risk-free way for employers to engage with positive, hardworking jobseekers and expand their community engagement.

The work experience is a 4-6 week internship-like experience where a jobseeker works for a company up to 20 hours a week for $8.25 an hour, at no cost to the employer. We also cover Workers' Compensation and liability insurance during the work experience.

The business does not have to hire the jobseeker after the work experience ends. However, if the business feels they would like to hire the jobseeker, they can extend an offer of employment at any time during the work experience. As an employer, you will get to engage with the community and “try out” employees before you investing in hiring them.

For Jobseekers

To become qualified, you must be over 18 and be diagnosed with an intellectual or developmental disability. You must be CDDO eligible, receiving services or currently on the IDD waiver. Jobseekers must become eligible through Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and fill out a VR application.

You will benefit from a progressive, educational approach to employment. You will be able to learn valuable skills and try out a work experience to make sure it’s the right match of employment. You'll receive one-on-one job coaching and training support.


If you're a jobseeker or an employer and you would like more information about the program, please contact one of the employees below:

Amy Fair 
Community Employment Team Leader

Jessa Molina
Business Account Manager

Community Partners

We want to thank our community partners in Johnson County who have hired or offered work experience to EDK participants:

Dots Pretzels
Papa Kenos
Olathe Police Department
Hayes Tooling and Plastics
Overland Park Convention Center
Cosentino’s Market
Delmar Gardens of Lenexa
Turn Styles Thrift
Dillard’s Distribution Warehouse
KC Dawgz
Shawnee Gardens
½ of ½ clothing
Blessings Abound Thrift
Nova R Wealth, Inc
Dennis Family Dentistry
Taco Bell
Daylight Donuts

WishWash Laundry
Embassy Suites
Santa Marta Retirement
Price Chopper
Dollar Tree
Johnson County Fleet Services
Johnson County Sunflower Café
Johnson County Court Services
Tropical Smoothie
Plato’s Closet
Taco Johns
Firehouse Subs
Good Samaritan Society
Burger King
KC Joe’s BBQ

Emerging Artists

Brad showing tatoo sheet

The JCDS Emerging Artists Program exists to develop the skills of Emerging Artists so that they may reach their full potential and receive income through the sale of their art. It provides an opportunity for this group to build meaningful relationships with professional artists in settings that are typical for those who are part of the local art community. The Emerging Artists are in varying stages of their artistic development and have all expressed a strong passion and enthusiasm for creating art. It has been a joy to witness the personal growth that has occurred, particularly in the areas of self-expression, communication and self-esteem. Creating art has also provided an opportunity to earn money in an industry that is not typically an option for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Follow us on Facebook to get information about upcoming shows, learn more about the artists and more! 


We are located at the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center at 8788 Metcalf Ave, Overland Park, KS 66212. We are open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. 

Cary Odell
Program Coordinator 

Kristen Devlin
Art Specialist


Document Destruction

Johnson County Developmental Supports offers confidential shredding in our Document Destruction program.  Our Assistive Technology Department developed adaptive equipment for those with physical limitations to complete the job and earn a paycheck.  In addition, participants also complete important assembly, packaging, and other subcontract tasks at the Elmore Center. 

Our Direct Supports Professionals provide ongoing training in quality control, work ethics, social interaction skills, safety, and a variety of job tasks all in preparation for the individuals to work in our community.

Community Services

Community Service Banner

Community Services provides opportunities for individuals who have chosen to donate their time, energy, and creativity to engage and make connections by volunteering in their communities. Our engagement in the community benefits the people and organizations we connect with. Examples of organizations we interact with are: skilled care facilities, senior centers, hospice, elementary schools, churches, hospitals, meals on wheels, and we’re always open to new opportunities.

Through a variety of person centered activities, our program participants are empowered to strive for greater independence and personal growth. The overwhelmingly positive response we receive from the community is a huge part of how the program opens doors for those we support and lets people in the community see what we have to offer.

Looking at individuals strengths with a person centered approach our program also offers individuals served the opportunity to participate in a variety of community life experiences. This side of our program has an emphasis of assisting individuals served in understanding and practicing their communication skills and participating in health and wellness activities within their communities.

Community Employment

Community Employment is exactly what it sounds like: being employed in a community job. This could be anything from stocking goods in a retail setting, to working in an office or warehouse.

Often times people with intellectual or developmental disabilities are interested in working at a job in the community, but they may feel unsure about what types of jobs they may be successful at. In addition, people with intellectual or developmental disabilities may feel they lack the job skills or experience needed to secure a job. They may struggle with completing the application, interview and orientation processes of employment. If you feel like this describes you or a loved one, going through a Community Employment program may be the answer for you!

JCDS can be chosen as a provider of employment supports through Vocational Rehabilitation if the job seeker is CDDO eligible. Like other community employment programs, we will provide you with an employment specialist. An employment specialist will help with job applications, job readiness skills, and interviews. After a job seeker has been hired by a community business, the employment specialist will assist with the orientation and training needs of the position. The employment specialist will remain involved while the new employee develops the skills necessary to be successful in their position. As the new employee gains independence, the employment specialist will gradually leave the new employee to work on their own.

If you are interested in Community Employment, and would like to receive employment services from JCDS, the first step is to be CDDO eligible. If you have not already gone through the CDDO eligibility process, visit the CDDO page here.

Afterwards, to receive employment services you must apply at Vocational Rehabilitation. You can visit them at their website and download the application.

If you have questions about the Community Employment process, email Amy Fair or call her at 913-826-2340.

Check out our "Working Wednesday" features to see profiles of individuals who found work through our community employment programs:

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