At HCBS, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to live independently and earn an income. For individuals with disabilities and special needs who require lifelong, ongoing support, finding employment can be challenging. In the past, these individuals may have spent their entire lives in a segregated environment such as an institution or at home where they would never have been allowed to work, earn money, or learn new skills. Now, Supported Employment provides a way for people with disabilities in Chester, Montgomery, Bucks, Berks, Lancaster, Delaware, and Philadelphia Counties to be successful in an integrated employment environment that is compatible with their abilities, interests, and talents.
What is Supported Employment?
Supported Employment programs provide individuals with those mild to moderate intellectual disabilities or cognitive impairment to become employed and receive supported assistance on the job as needed. These programs empower those with special needs by providing job training, interview coaching, employer outreach, and orientation, and follow-up support tailored to the individual’s strengths and needs. Other services include assistance building and writing a resume, job search support, and teaching important skills needed to foster increased independence. Taking into account an individual’s skills, interests, talents, background, experience, and abilities, Supported Employment helps place an employee into an appropriate field and position where they can be happy and successful.
Who Can Benefit from Supported Employment?
Anyone with a disability who is motivated to work but who requires assistance finding or maintaining a job is a candidate for Supported Employment services. Everyone has the right to work, and employers are now looking for more diverse employees. Whenever possible, Supported Employment specialists work with an individual’s family members, other specialists, or a treatment team in addition to the individual’s employer to ensure the employment is conducive to the individual’s goals.
How Can Supported Employment Be Acquired?
The first step to receiving Supported Employment services is contacting a Supported Employment agency within the individual’s county. Once funding is approved, the agency will place employment specialists or job coaches with the individual to help them find suitable employment based on their unique skills, abilities, and interests. Once work is found, the coach will continue to provide job counseling, help determine transportation, and offer other support services as needed to help the individual sustain employment. The length of time that services are received, as well as the specific types of services, depends on the specific needs of the individual.
How We Help
At HCBS Supported Employment, we assist individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities in securing employment within their communities in Chester, Montgomery, Bucks, Berks, Lancaster, Delaware, and Philadelphia Counties. We believe that anyone can work if they are provided the right support. People who have not traditionally participated in competitive employment because of their disability are the primary focus of our Supported Employment services.
Our Supported Employment Program is a specialized employment placement service that provides the necessary support to individuals with disabilities to obtain and maintain meaningful employment within the community. Supported Employment Services consist of two components: job finding and job support.
Job finding services may include interview assistance, employer outreach, and orientation, resume preparation, job searching, and preparation for job tasks. Other examples of activities that may be associated with job finding include participation in individual planning for employment, development of job-seeking skills, development of customer-specific job skills, job analysis, consultation with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), benefits counseling agencies, and provider networks under Ticket to Work on behalf of a participant, assistance in beginning a business, and outreach with prospective employers on behalf of the participant including consultation on tax advantages and other benefits.
Job support services consist of training the participant receiving the service on job assignments and periodic follow-up and/or ongoing support with participants and their employers. The service must be necessary for participants to maintain acceptable job performance and work habits including assistance in learning new work assignments, maintaining job skills, and achieving performance expectations of the employer. Other examples of activities that may be associated with job support include participation in individual planning for employment, direct intervention with an employer, employment-related personal skills instruction, support to relearn job tasks, training to assist participants in using transportation to and from work, and technical assistance and instruction for the participant’s co-workers that will enable peer support.
Ongoing use of the Supported Employment services is limited to support for participants that cannot be provided by the employer through regular supervisory channels and/or on-the-job resources that are available to employees who are non-disabled. We provide these services to people in specific counties in the state of Pennsylvania.