Supported Employment WORKS

Watch our video to learn about our Supported Employment Program for adults with developmental disabilities.

Frazer Center’s Supported Employment Program has three levels of support:

First, for those who are already working, we provide on-going support to them and their employers to ensure a successful, long-term working relationship.

Secondly, we have customized employment, or what could be thought of as a matchmaking service for those who want to get a job but aren’t quite ready yet or haven’t found the right match. We spend about a year getting to know the people in our program, discovering their interests and abilities. By visiting them at home or at volunteer sites, we are often able to recognize skills that could potentially transfer into a job situation. We help build a visual resume showing all those different skills and traits that make this person a unique employee.

Then we talk with employers in the community and ask: What are the jobs that never get done at your place? What tasks are on everyone’s job description but no one ever gets to? Can we package some of those tasks into a job that’s a really great fit for this person in our program and their unique skills? Once a match is made, we provide coaching as the new employee acclimates to their job and as the employer is learning how to best support the employee to be successful.

Thirdly, our prevocational services provide opportunities for the adults in our program to explore cultural activities and volunteer work so that, when the time comes for them to enroll in customized employment, they have a deeper understanding of what vocational opportunities might be available to them.

The people in our program who are currently employed have developed broad networks of support in the community. When out and about, they are often recognized by customers: “Oh, I know you! You wait on me at Home Depot!” Employment builds not only the connections they have in the community, but it also builds self-esteem and purpose, helping to provide a meaningful life which is something we all seek.

As more and more young people with disabilities are educated in an inclusive school system, and as their parents see that adults with disabilities can indeed have careers and contribute to the community, there’s more and more demand for employment options. We see our Supported Employment Program becoming a bigger and bigger part of the services we provide towards our vision of a more inclusive community.

If you have a business and would like to explore the possibility of hiring people with disabilities, contact Unondus Walker, Supported Employment Specialist, at u.walker@frazercenter.org.