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What Have Supported Employment Opportunities?

Apr 23

Supported employment is a type of job training and placement assistance that helps individuals with disabilities find and keep competitive jobs in the community. The goal of supported employment is to help individuals with disabilities such as Good Sammy become integrated members of the workforce, earning a competitive wage and enjoying the same benefits as their nondisabled peers. Supported employment services typically include job coaching, resume writing assistance, and on-the-job training. Individuals who participate in supported employment programs often find that they not only improve their financial situation but also gain a greater sense of self-worth and independence.

Who Is Supported Employment Designed for?

Supported employment is designed to help those who have difficulty securing or maintaining employment due to a mental or physical disability. The program provides services and supports to help participants obtain and keep a job that is consistent with their interests, skills, and abilities. Participants receive individualized assistance in areas such as job coaching, resume writing, and interview preparation. In addition, supported employment programs often offer on-the-job training and job shadowing opportunities. These services are designed to help participants succeed in the workplace and lead independent, productive lives.

When Is Supported Employment Appropriate?

Supported employment is a job placement, training, and support services model that is designed to assist individuals with the most significant disabilities in competitive jobs. The term "significant disability" is used to describe an individual with a disability who: 1) has been determined to need intensive supported employment services to perform competitively in the labor market; and 2) whose vocational rehabilitation counselor has determined that competitive, customized, or integrated employment is not available after reasonable efforts have been made. In other words, supported employment is appropriate when an individual with a significant disability needs intensive supported employment services and competitive, customized, or integrated employment is not available.

The Process of Supported Employment

The process of supported employment begins with an assessment of an individual's interests and skills. Once this information is gathered, a job coach works with the individual to develop a plan for finding and keeping a job. The next step is to find an employer who is willing to provide the necessary support. This may involve customized training or other accommodations. Once an employer is found, the individual works with the job coach to learn the skills needed to be successful on the job. 

After an individual has been employed, his or her need for continued support may decrease over time. The objective is for the employer to eventually give the inherent support provided by coworkers. Supported employment services may be provided by several different types of providers, including vocational rehabilitation counselors, job coaches, and supported living providers. These services can help individuals with disabilities overcome barriers to employment, develop job skills, and become more independent workers. Supported employment services can make a significant difference in an individual's ability to lead a productive and fulfilling life.

The Need for Supported Employment

Supported employment is a service that helps people with disabilities find and maintain competitive employment. The benefits of supported employment include increased independence, self-esteem, and self-determination; improved physical and mental health; and increased community involvement and social interactions. Supported employment services are individualized to meet the unique needs of each person with a disability, and they are typically provided by a job coach or other support staff. Supported employment can make a significant difference in the lives of people with disabilities, and it is an important tool for helping them to reach their full potential.