top of page



Supported employment refers to service provisions wherein people with disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, and mental health, among others, are assisted with obtaining and maintaining employment originally through the primary models of job crews, enclaves, or the often preferred job coach or person-centered approaches. Supported employment is considered to be one form of employment in which wages are earned.


Supported employment evolved as a way to assist individuals with the most significant disabilities with employment in their communities...a real job for real pay, and involves personal assistance services including for people who lived in institutions in the US.  For over 30 years supported employment has demonstrated that individuals with severe disabilities can work,  yet today many individuals remain segregated in sheltered workshops and day programs. Efforts to convert sheltered workshops to provide supported employment (now, one person at a time) are underway, and a generation of Master's level students in Rehabilitation Counseling and Special Education have been educated in changing services and organizations from older, outdated segregation models to integrated vocational approaches in the community verdicts in recent lawsuits upholding the right to work in inclusive settings seem to indicate that integrated employment will soon be the first choice.

Several supported employment models are being used to provide the benefits of work for people with developmental disabilities. 

Individual Placement  - A person with a disability is placed in a job in a community business which best suits his/her abilities and preferences. Training is provided on the job site in job skills and work related behaviors, including social skills, by an employment specialist. As the employee gains skills and confidence, the employment specialist gradually spends less time at the worksite. Support is based on the persons needs. The private or public vocational rehabilitation agency furnishing the employment specialist/work supports is always available to the employer for retraining for new assignments, assisting in dealing with challenging behaviors, supplying periodic consultations with co-workers and employer, giving orientation and training for co-workers. 


Self Employment - A person with a disability operates their own business. Support can be used to assist a person with identified support needs to maintain their business.


Mobile Work Crew - A small crew of persons with disabilities (no more than 6) works as a distinct unit and operates as a self-contained business that generates employment for their crew members by selling a service. The crew works at several locations within the community, under the supervision of an employment specialist or work supports staff.  The type of work usually includes janitorial or grounds keeping. 


  • Parking lot maintenance for Strack's in Munster

  • Parking lot maintenance for the Village of Lansiing

  • Litter pickup and garbage cleanup in downtown Lansing

  • Office cleaning for South Suburban Heating & Air Conditioning

  • Maintenance of Lynwood Roller rink inside and out

bottom of page