Family Employment Awareness Training (FEAT)

An image of a darker-skinned man with Down Syndrome talking with a colleague.


The transition from high school to the world of work is often complex.

  • It involves knowledge of benefits, laws, and systems of support.
  • It requires new skills, like networking, interviewing, and an ability to talk with people who may not know who you are and what you can do or how you may need help.
  • And it requires that job seekers with disabilities and their families apply for services, identify local employment service providers, and get to know area employers.

Because they’re frequently unaware of who to talk to and what’s doable, families in transition often feel discouraged and overwhelmed. With knowledge, discussion, and real-life success stories, Family Employment Awareness Training (FEAT) introduces families to promise and possibilities.

Through FEAT, individuals with disabilities, their family members, and the professionals who serve them increase their expectations for competitive employment and their knowledge of federal and state employment resources.

Key Principles of FEAT

  1. Everyone can work when provided with the appropriate supports and services.
  2. Everyone can have a job that is both enjoyable and satisfying.
  3. Everyone can make more money working than by relying on public benefits alone.

How FEAT Works

  1. FEAT was created by the Beach Center on Disability, in collaboration with Families Together, Inc., and is now offered in five states (see below for more information).

    The original FEAT curriculum was a two-part training:

  • Part 1—Building the Dream of Employment 
  • Part 2—Identifying  and Accessing Employment-Related Resources

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the training format for FEAT now varies by state, but most states are now offering FEAT:

  • Virtually, through a series of webinars, and  
  • As a two-day, face-to-face option for families and young adults.

Regardless of the format, the FEAT curriculum engages attendees with information on:

  • Employment options (e.g., carved, created, business within a business, self-employment, resource ownership);
  • The family role in supporting employment;
  • The transition to adult life and services, including health care and postsecondary education or training;
  • State and federal funding; and
  • Employment resources, including services, benefits, and programs.

FEAT in States

FEAT is currently available in five states. See the links below for more information about FEAT and the implementing partners in each location.

  • Kansas - Families Together, Inc. 
  • Rhode Island - Sherlock Center on Disabilities 
  • Nebraska- PTI Nebraska 
  • Indiana- Center on Community Living and Careers, Indiana University
  • Oklahoma- Developmental Disabilities Council of Oklahoma 
  • New York - New York State Council on Developmental Disabilities

Interested in Bringing FEAT to Your State?

Five states are currently implementing FEAT for young adults with disabilities and their families. For more information, please contact Dr. Judith Gross at