Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE)


STARS strives to be the premier employment service in the Valley for people with cognitive and developmental disabilities through an individual first approach with high quality, personalized services to empower and equip each participant for independence and success in the workplace. This is achieved by having strong connections to, and working collaborations with, many local employers.

Through careful and caring supervision in a protected work environment, our trained staff helps develop and teach meaningful employment-related activities. We work with individuals to develop real-life, vocational skills such as hygiene, punctuality, supervisory & peer relationships, job interviewing and work etiquette. This initiative is designed to build confidence and help participants obtain and retain an independent position.

Program Highlights
Individuals experience the dignity that arises from gainful employment along with fair wages with benefits. Families see their loved ones in a fully competent role in the workplace. This program is designed to help support individuals of the legal working age living with cognitive and developmental disabilities in:
* Job Exploration & Search
* Resume Writing
* Interviewing Skills
* 1 on 1 On-site Training Support
* Long Term Employment Support (High School Students)

Success Story

Adult Participant

Noemi had not worked for over 20 years prior to her family discovering STARS. With support from her Job Placement Coach (JPC), she was able to improve her soft skills, such as understanding social cues and managing her emotions, in preparation for re-entering the workforce.

After about a month of working on these skills, Noemi actively looked for a job and was hired by the Hilton at Cavasson as a Housekeeper. The Hilton management team worked with Noemi and her JPC to carve out a new position that would suit her needs, and she is now responsible for cleaning common areas on a part-time basis three days a week.

Noemi continues to receive support from her JPC to improve her work habits and emotional management skills. She is committed to her job and is willing to work on her skills to ensure her success and the Hilton is pleased to have her on their team.

Success Story

High School Student Participant

Avery joined STARS in June 2022 with the aim of graduating from high school and gaining work experience through the STARS CIE Program. During the school year, Avery worked closely with her Job Placement Coach (JPC) to improve her communication and decisionmaking skills. With the support of her JPC, Avery applied for a parttime job at Fry’s as a courtesy clerk and was successful.

The staff and management at Fry’s have been incredibly supportive, allowing Avery to work independently and develop her skills further. Thanks to her hard work and dedication, Avery has successfully graduated from the CIE program and will continue her part-time job at Fry’s independently.

We are incredibly proud of Avery’s achievements and wish her all the best as she continues to work and pursue her goals.

STARS Community Partners

Feel the joy of creating opportunities for others to be great.

Community Partners who utilize this initiative will help decrease turnover and gain highly trained and committed employees.  Our Partners provide job placement opportunities within their organizations who are looking for employees that:
* Excel at performing repetitive tasks that can contribute to excessive turnover
* Take their job seriously, are loyal, and committed to the employer
* Do not use their smartphone during work hours

By The Numbers
Top Reasons Organizations Hire People With Disabilities
 70% say it supports their organization’s culture
 64% say it supports their diversity and inclusion strategy
 57% say they have found good talent matches for open positions
 14% say they receive Federal or State incentives or meets their contracting requirements
– Institute for Corporate Productivity

Success Story

Community Partner

U-Haul has become an integral STARS Community Partner. Their two towered headquarters in Phoenix fondly known as the Central Towers along with their other corporate buildings have provided a wonderful and supportive environment for our job seekers to work. “Jackson’s work ethic and dedication has been extraordinary… It is a joy to work with him and I look forward to seeing him each day. He has become part of the U-Haul family.”
– Marcia C.
Building Management, Manager Operations at U-Haul International, Inc.

Forging Paths, Impacting Futures

Many participants effortlessly enroll in the Community-Based Employment Support (CBE) program upon completing the CIE program, guaranteeing sustained support as they navigate the next phase of their employment journey. This seamless progression empowers STARS participants to cultivate positive work-related habits, attitudes, skills, and etiquette tailored to their specific employment needs.

Meet incredible individuals whose seamless entry into the workforce exemplifies the dedicated support provided by these STARS programs.

Read Stories

When you hand good people possibility, they do great things.

Services are offered to those with a developmental or physical disability who are Vocational Rehabilitation or DDD eligible or families interested in a private pay option.  To learn more on how to gain employment through CIE or to become a STARS Community Partner contact Tom Kowalczyk, Director of Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE) & Community-Based Employment Support (CB): tkowalczyk@starsaz.org


Meet the team who go above and beyond to ensure our participants are working in jobs that they love.