Our Philosophy


Penn-Mar supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in living courageous lives, whether that’s securing a job, being an active member of their community, building independence, or developing new relationships.

We do this by supporting people on their own unique personal journeys. Our approach is innovative, person-centered, and successful.

We are a disability-provider leader, pioneering new levels of support. Our organization continually reflects on what we can do better and has evolved from one-size-fits-all support to individualized services that are focused on each person.

Penn-Mar provides an array of customizable services and supports through community living, day learning, employment, transitioning youth, family and peer supports, and respite.


Person-Centered Focus

Every person is unique. We all have unique goals, needs, desires, communities, and families. Our approach is to support people in living their best lives, partnering with families and friends, and helping people make meaningful connections within their communities. By providing supports in this way, we can facilitate people living a life of their choosing and achieving their short- and long-term goals.

It’s our goal to support people in the way they need and want. As a person grows and changes, we know their support needs change, too. This is why we offer a broad array of services, which are customizable and based on funding eligibility. As things in a person’s life change, we reassess access to new types of supports.


Meeting People Where They Are

The Penn-Mar team wants people to feel comfortable and respected when receiving support, which means that getting to know the person is key! We start by discovering a person’s vision for their future to determine the supports needed make that vision a reality. Families and friends play an integral role in the way we provide supports by helping us to get to know a person’s interests, skills, and conditions for success.

Wherever someone is on their journey towards living their best life, we come alongside them. That means meeting people where they are in terms of the types of support they want to receive, where they want to receive them, and how they receive support.

This includes providing options related to daily living supports (Penn-Mar owned vs. person owned or rented homes), day learning opportunities (both facility and community-based), in-home supports, use of assistive technology, and remote and virtual supports.


Employment 1st

We believe everyone is employable. As an Employment 1st provider, Penn-Mar supports people to connect their interests, skills, and conditions for success to competitive integrated employment through our Customized Employment program.

Competitive Integrated Employment is full or part-time work at minimum wage or higher, with wages and benefits similar to those without disabilities performing the same work, and fully integrated with co-workers without disabilities.

Just like a road map, Customized Employment services help people move through their own unique employment journey. The Customized Employment process includes Discovery (home visits, community mapping, observations of familiar and unfamiliar tasks, work-based learning experiences designed to highlight an employment seekers interests, skills and conditions for success), creating a career plan, job development based upon a good match, job negotiation, and job coaching. This model individualizes the employment relationship in ways that meet the needs of both employee and employer.