Supported Employment Providing Opportunity
The Supported Employment Program helps individuals with disabilities find paid employment in an integrated setting with on-going support.
The Center for Community Partnerships’ Supported Employment Program began in 1985 with a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant provided funding to support adults with developmental disabilities in their dreams of working in the community and reduce barriers to their community.
Supported employment is a partnership between the individual with a disability, the employer, co-workers, family members, the referring agency, and the community at large. We use a Functional Community-Based Assessment to ensure our clients are able to achieve long-term success in their careers. Individuals referred to our program receive the following assistance:
- Assessing their employment related skills, abilities and challenges
- Develop an employment plan
- Job Development
- Job transition and maintenance support
We collaborate with a number of community partners to implement Project Search, a program that provides transitioning high school students internship opportunities. Our role at the CCP is to provide on-the-job training support and to ensure long-term employment success once our participants complete their internship experiences. Watch a video of the program.
Project Search has been widely successful and we are proud to be a part of this shared success.
The Supported Employment Process
- We gather comprehensive information through personal interviews with individuals, family members and other support providers to obtain baseline performance (education or work), participation, self-efficacy, and well-being/quality of life information.
- An experiential community or campus based evaluation (functional assessment) is used to validate and expand baseline information. Participant performance in everyday contexts including work and/or school is measured while strengths, challenges and interests are identified.
- Baseline information is shared and used for individualized, outcome-oriented planning and goal setting.
Employment Planning and Training
Employment planning is customized according to assessment results and the needs and wants of the individual participant. Some options include:
- Confirming employment direction and gaining needed skills
- Career exploration to include shadowing of professionals and/or informational interviews.
- Identification of and referral to needed educational resources for skill development.
- Supported work experience such as job trials and internships
- Learning to find and get a job
- How to find and obtain opportunities
- Resume and cover letter development
- Completion of job applications
- Interview skills training and practice
- If, when, and how to disclose disability
- How to request and negotiate an accommodation
- Referral and connection to resources
- Common referrals include financial planning/counseling, transportation assistance, assistive technology services, psychiatric services, physical therapy, psychotherapy, recreational resources, social connections, and supported living assistance.
Job Development and Placement
CCP Job Developers work closely with individuals with significant disabilities, employers and numerous community agencies in Northern Colorado in order to identify meaningful and viable job matches for job seekers. Professional Job Developers have years of experience and an impressive success record in connecting participants to jobs in the community that match their strengths, abilities, interests and support needs. When a job is offered and accepted, Job Developers, upon request and as needed, assist the employer in identifying and arranging reasonable accommodations, adaptations, and/or ‘natural supports’ that serve to maximize job performance and promote mutual success and satisfaction for employee and employer alike. CCP Job Developers also serve as consultants and educators to businesses, assisting them in meeting their labor needs, informing them of employer hiring incentives, and, upon request, providing disability awareness training for worksite staff. CCP takes pride in placing participants in jobs that are equally a good match for the participant and the employer, creating ‘win-win’ results.
Job Transition and Maintenance Support
Once the participant has been hired, CCP Staff will work with the participant, the employer and co-workers at the place of employment, ensuring that supports are in place for training and completion of essential job functions. CCP staff will analyze the work station and work tasks in relation to the participant’s challenges and needs; and then, identify any adaptations, accommodations or natural supports that will maximize the participant’s work effectiveness and efficiency. The CCP staff also take into consideration any other needs (e.g. at home or transport to and from work) that may contribute to employment success and, when considered necessary, identify off-site work supports and/or accommodations that will improve employment outcomes. In addition, CCP staff will assist with on-the-job training, as needed, and will provide job coaching to insure the participant understands and is able to fulfill all aspects of the job. If requested or needed, CCP staff will provide disability sensitivity support and training for co-workers and the employer, promoting natural supports in the work environment.
It is expected that CCP participants will achieve independence and success at work. CCP supports are all provided with ultimate independence being the goal, and the eventual transfer of on-going support and encouragement from CCP staff to co-workers, the employer and family members on the home front. For individuals with developmental disabilities, ongoing support may be provided to ensure job growth and stability over the long-term.