Our Customized Employment begins with Discovery, an empowering process that involves the individual seeking employment and the people they care about. We translate life activities into possibilities and consider the individual’s skills, experiences, and more – resulting in a customized plan for finding the right employment.


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Many times, volunteer or unpaid internships allow our clients to explore different job opportunities ahead of being hired for paid work. Going this route helps both our clients and our Employer Partners make informed choices about preferences and find the best vocational fit. The goal with this phase is to identify the preferred job industry and generate experience for including in a visual resume and personal marketing materials.


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With the visual resume and personal marketing materials created, we begin the process of networking, making community connections, having conversations with potential employers, and using interactive, multi-dimensional resumes to find our clients the best job match. This phase culminates in success when our client is hired!


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Once an individual has been hired, we design and implement custom strategies to increase independence and confidence on the job. Specific assistance during orientation, training of job tasks and data collection to better help the individual learn the job results in our clients feeling more comfortable and stable in their job.


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Support on the job is provided at the level necessary for the employee to find success in their role. This can include Workplace Assistance or help through our Community Support Services program. We will remain involved with our clients and support them in their needs for as long they want us to after they are hired.


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We believe that with the right supports and in the right role, anyone can work. It just takes creativity and setting the right conditions. Happily, that’s what we do professionally so we’re up for the adventure if you are!

Sure! Previous employment isn’t a prerequisite to employment. That’s what we call a vicious cycle. Zero experience is just fine.

Yes! The type of employment that we seek is competitive, so we’re talking at least minimum wage and fair wages for fair work.

Because we carve out customized positions, the sky is the limit. We specialize in creating employment opportunities and helping job-seekers start their own business. When it comes to our clients, the more unique and personalized, the better.

Yes, provided that those people also have an intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (including autism.)

It’s normal to be skeptical of something that you haven’t seen or considered before but we’re proud of our abilities to help clients find and maintain employment, and we’re confident that when given the chance, anyone can work.

We believe in giving things a try and not making dangerous assumptions. The Discovery process would be a great way to give it a shot without too much effort – and if it feels right, keep going. If not, there’s no obligation to continue.

If you have a DARS counselor, please contact them and indicate that you’re interested in customized employment services with Branches of Life.

If not, contact your CSB service coordinator and let them know that you’re interested in customized employment through Branches of Life, starting with the Discovery process.

DARS is the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services. They work with community partners to provide and advocate for resources and services to improve employment, quality of life, security and independence for Virginians with disabilities and their families.

Workplace Assistance

Our Workplace Assistance program provides a range of personal care services and employment supports to a person who has a disability and who is competitively employed, allowing them to maintain employment. This can include helping solve safety issues, supervision and self-help concerns by providing an opportunity to have one-to-one support.

Community Support Services (CSS)

Our Community Support Services program provides short-term, one-to-one assistance in help solve problems that are either preventing employment, making the job more difficult, or threatening to maintain gainful employment – including deficits in non-vocational areas of life.

Our CSS specialists are highly-trained in implementation and support strategies, and consistently receive opportunities for continued development. This service is conducted in natural settings and consider environmental factors, current service, staffing, equipment, personality match, quality of life, and skill-building programs to design successful strategies.

We then collect data that is evaluated and used to directly influence decisions regarding the effectiveness of the program. If we find we’re not getting the results we want, our specialists intervene and add more support or make adjustments as needed.

CSS is available through DARS, and can be initiated by contacting your DARS counselor who will evaluate for the appropriateness of the service. There are several vendors in Virginia who offer CSS – if you’re interested in working with us, please mention us by name!

How CSS Can Help

Services May Include:

  • Education
  • Life Skills training
  • Assessment and Instruction related to assistive technology
  • Development and implementation of strategies that allow an individual to live and successful participate in their community

Areas CSS Addresses:

  • Building independence or supports to achieve household and financial management
  • Personal care/hygiene
  • Coping and Social skills
  • Using transportation
  • Many other areas as needed

CSS services are different from employment services even though we regularly work with people who are actively looking for a job. If you are seeking employment, we recommend checking out our customized employment services through Branches of Life for support in those areas.

We’ll help you wherever you need help!

CSS services are designed to accomplish a goal, and then fade – so it is a fairly short term service.

No, DARS pays for CSS services, which is why it’s important to be in contact with your DARS counselor. If you’re interested, check to see if it’s an applicable service. If you don’t have DARS counselor, you can complete a referral to get the ball rolling or speak to your CSB service coordinator.

If you have a CSB service coordinator, they can help you get hooked up with DARS. Otherwise, click here for more details and information.

DARS counselors make the determination about the need for this service, but it never hurts to ask. Contact your DARS counselor and ask for more information about CSS services through Branches of Life.

Employer Partner Program

We envision people with and without disabilities coming together to make our community a better place, and that includes pursuing job possibilities for our clients. We firmly believe our clients can do meaningful work, so we actively seek out businesses who have a real desire to hire and fulfill a role rather than checking a box in their diversity program.

Is it revolutionary? We’d like to think not. Are there benefits to hiring people with disabilities? Absolutely. If you agree and want to make a difference in your community, then our Employer Partner Program is for you.

The program is free to join and open to businesses of all sizes.

What does it mean to be a Branches of Life Employer Partner?

  • You’ll help end disability-based discrimination in our community
  • Employing people with disabilities helps others to see their potential
  • You’ll have a more inclusive work environment

Our Employer Partner "Perks" Include:

  • Free advertising, in a variety of ways
    • Prominent mentions in our email newsletter
    • Tagging and other shout-outs via our social media
    • Inclusion of your company brand logo on our website
  • Tax incentives for hiring people with disabilities exist, and we’ll help you understand them
  • New market opportunities, including attracting more business from the disability community
  • And much more!