Supported Employment Specialist Overview

Carries out the services of the Supported Employment program by assisting clients to obtain and maintain employment that is consistent with their vocational goals. Responsible for developing and implementing programs that align workforce with key business strategies and initiatives. May be required to work after hours, to include weekends and non-business hours.  Provides Supported Employment services designed to assist individuals in achieving an optimal quality of life. Job responsibilities include development of supported employment plan, development and delivery of supported employment services and documentation of progress.   The Supported Employment Specialist is required to participate in on going staff development and will maintain cooperative working relationships with all agency staff, and community partners.  Supported Employment Specialists are required to work individually with consumers independently job developing and implementing supported employment services, which are based on consumer desires, medical necessity, and the Supported Employment Specialist judgment.   

Examples of Duties / Knowledge & Skills

  • Spends 65% or more of scheduled work hours in the community. For example, meets clients at community locations such as home, workplace, coffee shop, meeting with potential employers, library, One-Stop, VR office, family home, etc. or takes clients to apply for jobs, investigate local GED or colleges, etc.
  • Engages clients and establishes trusting, collaborative relationships directed toward the goal of competitive employment in community job settings with other workers who do not necessarily have disabilities.
  • Assists clients in obtaining information about their benefits (e.g., SSI, Medicaid, etc.) and how they will be affected by employment in order for clients to make good decisions about employment opportunities. Refers clients to benefits counseling, as needed. Helps clients report earnings, as needed.
  • Assesses clients’ vocational functioning on ongoing basis utilizing background information and work experiences. With the client’s permission, provides education and support to family members. Discusses client’s preference for disclosure of psychiatric and substance use status to employers.
  • Conducts job development and job search activities directed toward positions that are individualized to the interests and uniqueness of the people on his/her caseload, following the principles and procedures of supported employment.
  • Conducts a minimum of five (5) employer contacts per week. Employer contacts are designed to learn about the needs of the business, describe supports offered by the program and describe client strengths that are relevant to the position.
  • Provides individualized follow-along supports to assist clients in maintaining employment. Writes job support plans with clients and incorporating input from the mental health team. Adjusts plan according to clients’ needs and preferences.
  • Provides education and support to employers as agreed upon by clients, which may include negotiating job accommodations and follow-along contact by the employment specialist with the employer.
  • Provides outreach services as necessary to clients when they appear to disengage from the service. Uses a variety of methods to provide outreach.
  • Provides timely interventions. Returns phone calls and reacts to situations in a timely manner. For example, returns client phone calls within 24 hours. Goes to see employers about job loss or job problems within 24 hours. Follows up on job leads within 48 hours. Meets with clients within one week prior to job starts and within three days after job starts.
  • Participates in weekly meetings with substance use or mental health treatment team and communicates individually with team members between meetings in order to coordinate and integrate vocational services into substance use or mental health treatment.
  • Participates in face-to-face meetings with supervisor at least once a month to coordinate services for clients.
  • Develops an individual employment (and/or education) plan with clients. Incorporates input from substance use or mental health team and family members, with permission.
  • Provides supported education, using principles similar to supported employment, for clients who express interest in education to advance their employment goals.
  • Responsible for a minimum of 25 numbers or job starts per year or maintaining at least 50 % employment on caseload.

Other Important Duties*
Performs such other related duties as may be assigned.

Minimum Requirements: Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
Knowledge of: Developmental Disabilities, possess skills in basic computer functions of email, document management, and internet; knowledge of community and state resources; knowledge in vocational assistance.

Skill/Ability to: Communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing, have the ability to teach coping/life skills, while maintaining appropriate professional boundaries with consumers; have the ability and willingness to function as a member of a team; access to a vehicle for independent travel preferred; capacity to effectively present information and respond (in written and/or oral format) to questions from team members, consumers, and other community members as appropriate.

Acceptable Experience and Education

Bachelor degree in Social Work, Behavioral Science, or Human Services field. Two-year experience in a community setting with knowledge of Experience working with people with disabilities use, mental illness, experience providing employment services, and knowledge of the work world are preferred. Ability to work as an effective team player is essential.

Certificates and Licenses Required

Must have or obtain by date of hire a Washington driver’s license applicable to job responsibilities.  Must be able to pass a TB, criminal background, and drug screen.

Possess and maintain recognized current certification, or complete specialized training to ensure up-to-date knowledge of job-related skills and technology  

Essential Skills

  • Experience with implementation and adapting teaching methods based on the Person’s learning style.
  • Trained in cultural diversity, facilitation and experienced in public speaking.
  • An understanding of addressing needs that are typically seen as barriers to community participation.
  • Ability to develop partnerships with community resources and providers utilizing networking skills.
  • Ability to assist Persons served in locating and accessing non-medical community supports and resources
  • Effective interpersonal skills that build rapport and consistently respect Persons served and family members and their ability to make choices and take risks.
  • High degree of empathy and compassion and understands principles of self-determination.
  • Self- motivated and self-directed for the majority of the position. Ability to coordinate multiple schedules. 
  • High ethics and values and able to maintain high level of confidentiality.


  • Bachelor’s degree required (within the Human Services disciplines) or adequate experience
  • Experience and ability to implement teaching methods that adapt to various learning styles.
  • Previous experience and working knowledge of community inclusion preferred.
  • Previous experience in the development of behavioral and social strategies preferred.
  • Two years’ experience in the field of supporting Persons with developmental disabilities.
  • Valid Washington driver’s license with 5 or fewer points
  • Qualified in CPR and First Aid and the customized needs of the Person served as described in the Person-Centered Support Plan.

We make employment decisions based upon factors such as performance, abilities, talent, effort, and results. We provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, ancestry, citizenship, non-disqualifying disability, genetic information, military status, veteran status or other legally protected status.