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Supported Employment


Vocational Specialist
3601 C St, Ste 878
Anchorage, AK 99503
907-269-3600 phone
907-269-3623 fax


Employment Handbook

Supported employment is an approach to vocational rehabilitation for individuals with disabilities that emphasize helping people obtain competitive work in the community, and providing the supports necessary to ensure success at the workplace. The emphasis in supported employment programs is on helping individuals find jobs paying competitive wages in integrated settings (i.e., with others who don’t necessarily have a disability) in the community. In contrast to other approaches to vocational rehabilitation, supported employment de-emphasizes prevocational assessment and training, and puts a premium on rapid job search and attainment.

The overriding philosophy of supported employment is the belief that every person with a disability is capable of working competitively in the community if the right kind of job and work environment can be found. Rather than trying to sculpt the individual into becoming the ‘perfect worker” through extensive prevocational assessment and training, individuals are offered help finding and keeping jobs that capitalize on their personal strengths and motivation. Thus the primary goal of supported employment is not to change the individual, but to find a natural “fit” between the individual’s strengths and experiences and a job in the community. As individuals’ succeed in working in the community, their self-perceptions often change and they view themselves s workers and contributors to society. Furthermore, as people in the community see individuals with disabilities working, individuals are less stigmatized for their sever behavior disorder and they become more socially accepted. Supported employment is a successful approach that has been used in various settings by culturally diverse individuals, employment specialist, and practitioners.