Sign up for
Say NO to Labels
NO Generic Services
Say YES to
MANY TRADITIONAL PROGRAMS
teach people skills
SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMS:
to match the needs of some future job.
find jobs that match the person as she or he
Who is Supported Employment for?
Supported Employment is providing long-term supports for people to
hold jobs in the community. People who have multiple disabilities,
mental retardation, autism, physical disabilities, mental illness,
brain injuries, behavior disorders, and other disabilities can be
included in supported employment programs regardless of the degree
of disability they may have.
- Supported Employment is:
- Paid Work
- Intensive on-going support
- Integrated Work Sites
How are job openings found?
Traditional service provider roles are redefined, their role is to
arrange for jobs rather then to teach prevocational skills and/or to
provide employment in segregated settings.
In supported employment the role of the service provider is to
find a job opening in the community for a person, regardless of the
"severity" of his or her disability.
- Analyzing Job Requirements
When a job opening is found, the service provider figures out
what skills are needed to do the specific job task.
These could be things like:
The service provider also finds out what job related activities are
needed to successfully keep a job. These could be
- being able to follow directions
- knowing right from left, or
- being able to work at a task for several hours.
- tolerance for noise
- calmness under pressure, or
- good grooming habits.
How is a person matched to a job?
All the features of a person and his/her living situations that
relate to holding a job are included in an evaluation
- Developing a Personal Work profile to
find jobs that match the person as she or he is now
Supported employment changes the focus of an evaluation from
those things a person cannot do to all those things the
person can do.
In addition to looking at a person's skills and abilities, an
evaluation looks at a person's likes and dislikes about kinds of
work and work situations.
A person's living situation is also examined. For example, can
the time of the person's evening meal change to allow him or her to
work at night? Do the person's parents feel certain kinds of jobs
The types of supports a person is likely to need in a workplace are
also evaluated. Support might include a co-worker who is willing to
accept responsibility for assisting a supported employee with a
physical disability in case of emergency. Another type of support
might be a training program from the service provider to help a
worker learn to express anger in an acceptable way.
How is a person trained for the job?
Many traditional programs teach a person general job skills in
In supported employment, a person is taught
- at the actual work site -
the skills needed to do a specific job.
The person from the agency providing support services
The Job Coach:
who does the on-the-job training
is usually called a job coach.
- teaches the skills needed to DO specific job
tasks. Part of this teaching can include developing job aids
to help a person do a task. For example, a peg board can
help a person who cannot count keep track, or a glass shield
can protect the work area of a person who dribbles.
- helps the person develop abilities needed to
successfully HOLD a particular job. This could include
helping a person learn how to behave during a coffee break
or how to accept correction.
- works with the employer to develop job
accommodations needed by a person because of his or her
disability. These might be to divide one job between two
person with disabilities. That one would be available to do
a whole job if the other was in the hospital or temporarily
emotionally unable to cope with the job's requirements.
Another accommodation could be to agree that performance
would be rated on getting a job done and not on always
arriving at work on time.
- does things that are needed to help the person be
meaningfully included in the day-to-day interactions at the
workplace. This can include teaching co-workers basic sign
language or doing a group training for employees on general
- Finally, during the supported employee's intensive
training period, if the worker is unable to finish the job,
the job coach him or herself completes the work.
How is employment maintained?
In supported employment, the service provider also makes
- Providing Ongoing Evaluation and
the kind of on-going evaluation and long-term support
A person needs to STAY employed.
|The service provider helps the
person in many situations:
||Other responsibilities of the job
- if a person's performance begins to decline on a
task she or he already knows,
- if a person needs to learn new tasks on the job,
- if a person needs continuing help in developing
needed social skills,
- if a person gets a new manager or co-worker and
needs to develop new abilities to get along with him or her.
- monitoring the work rate of a person receiving
less than minimum wage to report increase in work rate that
should get a pay increase.
- arranging new transportation if there is a change
in transportation that interferes with a person's getting to
and from work,
- taking steps to improve the situation if a person
isn't being included in day-to-day interactions in the
- finding the person a new job opportunity if he or
she is laid off, is fired, or quits, and
- watching for changes for a person to get a better
Does the form of support differ for
The six areas
of support available through agencies
that provide supported employment services
are the same
regardless of the disability of the person being served.
- Finding a Job Opening
- Analyzing Job Requirements
- Developing a Personal Work Profile
- Matching the Person with the Job
- Doing On-the-Job Training
- Providing Ongoing Evaluation and Long-Term Support
However, the forms of support in each
of the six areas may be different according to a supported
For instance, a worker with mental
retardation may need the support of an on-the-spot job coach to
learn a skill needed for his or her job. The support needed by an
employee with mental illness might be ongoing access to off-site
counseling services to help develop ways of dealing with job stress.
In any case, the purpose of support
services is to enable a person to get a job and stay employed. What
is important is that the methods of support successfully meet the
particular needs of the individual, regardless of his or her
How is supportive employment part of the larger
Participating in new activities and gaining new experiences adds
richness and quality to people's lives.
Persons with disabilities have a basic right to
participate in the mainstream of life. They are not the only ones
who can gain from these experiences - society will benefit from
Material is adapted
from training and handouts provided by
Susan Schonfeld, Executive Director of Community Integrated Services
520 N Columbus Blvd. Suite 601 Philadelphia, PA 19123
Supporting Philadelphia and Montgomery County.
Call (215) 627-3550 to speak with an Employment Training Specialist
- Web link to:
Working with Companies, Government, and Non-profits to employ people
with disabilities. The goal of JobAccess is to enable people with
disabilities to enhance their professional lives by providing a
dedicated system for finding employment.
Help us enrich this site.
please submit information and