At the same time, there was growing experience with the participation and contributions of people with developmental disabilities in the real world of work. The Federal Government provided significant leadership in hiring people with developmental disabilities.

In 1964, the first full year of the program, 361 placements were made. By mid-1967, the cumulative number of placements was 3,241 and 79% of all appointees were still on duty. Only 7% of the placements were ended because of poor performance or social adjustment. Most of the placements were in jobs titled laborer, clerk, messenger, substitute mail handler, laundry worker, and food service worker.

Woman working on a basket
Photos courtesy Metro Work Center

Nevertheless, the placements spanned 64 different job titles in 38 Federal agencies in 50 states. Many of the jobs (25%) were in the Washington, D.C. area. By the end of the ten year program, the federal government employed 7,500 people labeled mentally retarded. The federal program was complemented by the National ARC training-on-the-job project which had its greatest impact in the 1970s.