Preparing for a job and employment readiness

Before you start looking for a job, make sure that you are ready for employment. Start early: there are some things which may take several months or even years to put in place.

  • For example, do you have the right skills to find a job that you will enjoy? If not, you may want to find a provider of job skills training, to prepare you for a particular job or trade.
  • Will you have a reliable source of transportation so you can get to and from a job? It’s good to know what options will be available for your particular situation, so that you can plan early.
  • Do you have a criminal record? If so, you may want to apply for a pardon or an expungement.

This section gives a summary of these issues and provides links to more information.


Skills assessment and training

Before you start looking for a job, become familiar with different services that can help you find the right job for you. For example, the Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) provides services to help people with disabilities find a job, such as vocational assessment, employment planning, counseling, and job placement.

You can find more information on the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation on its website: or by visiting one of its office locations:

Your educational provider (school) is also a great source of employment planning services. Many schools have Career Cruising, a school to work transition tool, to provide information on different types of jobs, the training necessary for such jobs, and how much they pay.   Your school may be able to provide links to job shadowing and volunteer opportunities that can help you narrow down your job choices.

You may also consult other public agencies to inquire about their employment training and other job services. Many of these agencies also provide supported work environments or transition services. For more information on supported work environments, see the section on “Finding a Job.”

  • Delaware Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDDS) – provides information and services to individuals with developmental disabilities.

DDDS 24-Hour TOLL FREE Contact Number: 1-866-552-5758

Quick Reference Guide for DDDS assistance:

  • Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) – provides services to assist people in addressing mental health, addiction, and substance abuse challenges.

(302) 255-939 or see DSAMH website for more contact information:

  • There also are many private or non-profit organizations that provide different types of employment-related services. Some can be found on the DelARF website, at


Housing and Transportation


As you prepare to find a job, you will want to consider your particular living situation. There are several organizations that can help you understand different housing options. Many of these organizations also offer employment services. Here are just a few:

  • The Arc of Delaware – serves Delawareans with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Arc can help you understand what type of housing is right for your particular situation, such as independent home options, supervised home options, or housing support programs. It also offers other housing help, such as home modifications for assistive technology.

For more information, call (302)736-6140 or visit

Link to more housing information:

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness “NAMI” Delaware – serves mental health consumers and their friends/families/professionals to improve the quality of life of individuals with mental illness, including support and advocacy services, as well as housing programs.  For more information call 302-427-0787 (Helpline # is 888-427-2643); see
  • Sunday Breakfast Mission – call (877) 306-HOME or visit

If  you believe that a housing provider is illegally discriminating against you because you have disabilities, you may be able to file a complaint, by contacting  the Delaware Division of Human Relations:


It’s also important that you have a reliable way to get to and from your job. There are several sources of information to help you understand different transportation options available to you, such as public transportation or paratransit. Some options to consider are:

  • Public transportation, such as buses or trains.

There are two types of public buses available in Delaware through DART:

  1. Fixed route service – regular city buses. For more information, see
  2. Paratransit service – shared-ride public transportation for individuals with disabilities. For more information, see

Travel Training – If you would like to take public transportation but want to learn more about how to use it, DART also offers travel training. This will teach you everything you need to know about using DART’s public transportation, such as how to read a bus schedule, pay the fare, board a bus using a wheelchair lift, and plan your trip.

To learn more, call DART’s Travel Trainers at 302-760-2858.

If you have a visual impairment, the Delaware Division of the Visually Impaired also offers programs to help you take public transportation.  For more information, call the Division at 302-255-9800 (Voice) or 302-255-9854 (TDD), or visit

  • Affordable Taxi Program – this DART program (called the Senior Citizens Affordable Taxi Program) provides a 50% discount on taxi fares for senior citizens and persons with disabilities. If you have a physical or mental disability that prevents you from driving a car, you may be eligible for this program.

There is an application that you must complete, with the assistance of your doctor, in order to qualify for this program. If you are approved, you will receive a special ID card that you can use for this service.

If you have questions, call the DART First State Eligibility Section at 1-800-652-3278, Option 3. Or, visit the website for more information:

  • Shared ride services, such as carpools or vanpools. In Delaware, DART’s RideShare Delaware program helps connect people with different shared transportation options. For more information, call 1-888-RIDE-MATCH or see
  • Miscellaneous

  → Some employers may offer transportation to and from your job site. If you are interested, ask your employer about what types of transportation may be available.

 →  There are several other sources of information and services that may be useful for your particular needs. Here are some examples:

Office of Independent Living,

      Independent Resources, Inc.

      Freedom Center for Independent Living,


Handling criminal background issues

If you have been arrested for a crime as an adult, but the case was disposed of in your favor, you may be able to get the arrest record expunged.  If you have been convicted of a crime as a young adult and have already served time for that crime, you may apply for a pardon and an expungement[1].   For juvenile records, please see the section on juveniles, below.


Adult convictions

What’s the difference between an expungement and a pardon?

An expungement allows a person charged with a crime but not convicted to petition to have the arrest removed from the public record.   Convictions may only be expunged after a pardon has been granted for that conviction.

A pardon completely eliminates all consequences of a conviction. It removes any further punishment. However, a pardon does not remove the record of conviction. It simply adds to the criminal record that a pardon has been granted.

To apply for an expungement:

  • First, obtain a certified copy of your criminal history from the State Bureau of Identification. In addition, you must obtain certified court dockets and sentencing orders for all adult dispositions listed as guilty, unknown, unobtainable or transferred on the criminal history. This process will take several weeks.
  • For cases that are mandatory expungements (generally lesser crimes) an application is filed with the State Bureau of Investigation.  For discretionary expungements, a petition must be filed with Superior Court in the county where the arrest was made.

To apply for a pardon:

  • First, obtain a certified copy of your criminal history from the State Bureau of Identification. In addition, you must obtain certified court dockets and sentencing orders for all adult dispositions listed as guilty, unknown, unobtainable or transferred on the criminal history. This process will take several weeks.
  • After you have gotten this certified copy, you may apply for pardon from the Board of Pardons.
  • After you have been granted a pardon, you may apply for an expungement, to remove the conviction from the state’s official arrest and conviction records

Generally, you may apply for a pardon after 3-5 years from the time the last sentence was completed. However, the Board of Pardons may consider applications if there are special circumstances such as needing to get a pardon for employment purposes.

If your application for a pardon is denied, you may re-apply, but you must wait a certain period of time before re-applying.

  • Generally, you must wait 15 months from the date of the decision before you are eligible to reapply, and your petition cannot be heard before 18 months from the decision date.
  • If your case is a capital offense, then you must wait 33 months from the date of the decision before you are eligible to reapply, and your petition cannot be heard before 36 months from the decision date.

For more information about the pardon application process, you may contact the Delaware Board of Pardons, at 302-739-4111 or


Juvenile Delinquency Records

If you have a juvenile delinquency record, you might be able to apply for an expungement.

Petition for Expungement of Juvenile Record asks the Court to erase a juvenile delinquency record. If the petition is granted, the Court will order the State Bureau of Identification (SBI) to delete all records of the arrest. Once your record has been expunged, you are legally entitled to report that you have never been arrested or convicted for the expunged charge(s).

To qualify for a juvenile expungement, you must not have any pending criminal or delinquency charges in any court.  Also, it’s important to know that not all delinquency records or charges qualify for an expungement. The law explains specific circumstances and charges that may be expunged.

For more information, follow this link to “A Guide to Expungement of Juvenile Records in the Family Court,” which explains the juvenile expungement process:


Help for individuals with criminal histories – APEX Program

The APEX Program in Delaware helps people with criminal histories through the pardons and expungement process. For more information on the APEX program, please contact Program Coordinator, at 302-333-7605 or visit

[1] See 11 Del. Code 4371 et seq (adults); See 10 Del. C. §1014-1020 (juveniles).