The RISE Program is an initiative of the Maryland State Department of Education's Division of Rehabilitation Services [DORS]. Launched in 1997, its mission is to present self-employment as a realistic and viable vocational option to individuals with significant disabilities who are eligible to receive DORS services. RISE Program staff work with individuals and their families, rehabilitation professionals, and the business community to facilitate and encourage the successful launch and operation of consumer-owned ventures.
You may participate in the RISE Program in order to:
- Explore the feasibility of self-employment as a vocational option
- Develop a comprehensive plan for your business
- Determine if DORS can help you maintain, expand, or purchase an existing business
- Receive individualized technical assistance
- Explore multiple funding sources for your venture
The RISE Program offers consumers the resources they need to pursue self-employment. For those individuals with a business plan and a needed product or service, self-employment is yet another avenue toward economic independence.
Through the RISE Program, program participants explore the realities of self-employment and business ownership. After examining the pros and cons of business ownership, they make their own choice about whether or not to proceed to the next step. This approach has enabled scores of individuals with physical, psychiatric, or cognitive disabilities to become successful business owners throughout the State of Maryland.
Maryland’s RISE Program has dramatically increased the success rate of new business start-ups through a systematic approach to training and individualized technical assistance that reduces the risk and the guesswork that leads to business failure.