Supported Employment Program
What is the Supported Employment Program?
Making a difference
- Café ambassador
- Shuttle fueler/washer
- Move team support staff
- Reception/office assistant
- Mail processing clerk
- Warehouse technician
- Laboratory technician
- Facility inspector
- Day porter
- Audio-visual assistant
- Food service worker
Participating employment agencies
Suddath Relocation at Microsoft
CBRE at Microsoft
Exela at Microsoft
Compass Group at Microsoft
Kyle Van Allan
Northwest Landscaping Services at Microsoft
Frequently Asked Questions
- People with disabilities: 21.5 percent
- People without disabilities: 68.4 percent
- People with disabilities: 7.4 percent
- People without disabilities: 3.4 percent
- Commitment. It is important to identify why you are getting involved in a Supported Employment program, define what you want to achieve, and set goals and appropriate resources to succeed.
- Strong partnerships. Build and nurture strong partnerships with employment agencies, employers, and local government offices. These partnerships will help you source qualified candidates for positions that create meaningful opportunities for employment and overcome systemic barriers to employment.
- Change management. Aligning employers, hiring staff, managers, supervisors, and co-workers is critical to the program’s success. Strong buy-in, training, and celebration will help bring everyone into alignment.
- An increase in diversity, empathy, and morale.
- A higher rate of worker retention among employees with disabilities than among those who do not have a disability.
- An increase in creativity and innovation, as supervisors and co-workers assist Supported Employees in adapting tasks and duties.
The costs are not extensive and are controllable according to the goals you set and the program structure. At the Microsoft RE&F program, our costs include a dedicated resource to oversee the program. Responsibilities include periodic trainings, collecting data, working with the vendors and agencies, keeping current on legislative impacts, and creating advocacy opportunities and marketing materials.
Our advice is to start small—identify the right jobs for the right people, and let it grow from there.
The primary focus of this program is to provide opportunities for Microsoft Real Estate and Facilities (RE&F) vendors to employ people with I/DD. People with I/DD often need initial and long-term job training and support from their selected coaching agency to secure and maintain meaningful employment with opportunities for career growth and progression.
- Dining room attendant
- Warehouse assistant
- Event services greeter
- Transportation ambassador
- PC recycling assistant
- Space reset specialist
- Human resources
- Landscaping specialist
- Intellectual Disability;
- Cerebral Palsy;
- Autism**; or
- Another neurological or other condition similar to intellectual disability.
- Originated before the individual attained age eighteen;
- Continued or can be expected to continue indefinitely, and
- Results in substantial limitations to an individual's intellectual and adaptive functioning.
- Have a physical, mental, or sensory impairment that results in a substantial impediment to employment,
- Require vocational rehabilitation services to get or keep a job, and
- Are capable of working as a result of receiving VR services.
As one of the primary funders of vocational services for individuals who require supported employment, DVR assists the individual and his or her family, and its Community Rehabilitation Program determines the best vocational goal for the individual—one that meets their unique abilities and interests. A Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor will coordinate needed assessment services and assistive technology needs and will then fund intensive training services so that the individual receives any needed on-site training to meet employer expectations and become stable on the job. The DVR counselor will then coordinate the transition from DVR funded services, to a long-term support provider.
It takes an applicant three to six months to move through the typical DVR process: application, eligibility screening, vocational assessment, and a plan for employment. However, DVR can “fast-track” the application process and significantly reduce the turnaround. In most cases, with effective collaboration and communication with Community Rehabilitation partner programs, DVR can get the needed services in place before the individual starts their first day of employment.
DVR is committed to supporting all individuals with disabilities who have the potential to benefit from supported employment. Reach out to your local DVR office and ask for the Business Specialist for your area to discuss potential services.
The traditional model of supported employment job development calls for a coach to work with the employer in customizing a job to a specific candidate. However, at Microsoft RE&F, we use a different approach. We partnered with our vendor employers and challenged them to look at open roles and opportunities and ask, “Could this role by filled by an individual with an I/DD?” As opportunities were identified, the program manager shared job requisitions with all employment agency partners to bring forward their best candidates.
Coaching agencies are our partner for sourcing candidates whose skills and interests are a good fit for a vendor’s positions and teams. Coaches provide individualized services to their participants. They learn about their participants’ skills and interests and assist them with resume building and applying and interviewing for jobs.
There are no increased safety concerns with Supported Employees as long as proper analysis of the tasks involved in a job, and the proper fit between the job and the employee’s skills are aligned. If safety concerns are identified, the employer may modify the tasks or provide accommodations to the employee.
We have produced three videos for managers as they help Supported Employees on their team grow their careers. Watch the Career Progression series on YouTube.
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