The Women's Journal

Essential: Easterseals Supported Employees

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By Natalie Scott

Easterseals Supported Employment program has been an essential part of our community, Easterseals participants’ lives, and the companies who benefit from the hard working employees in the program. Easterseals Supported Employment gives adults with intellectual disabilities, including autism, the choice to experience the community through individualized employment. The program matches participants with jobs in local businesses so they can earn competitive wages with the assistance of job coaching and training.

Billy has been a stellar employee for 24 years and cont-inued to work hard at Bayhealth Hospital through the pandemic. “I am essential! During the COVID-19 Pandemic, I continued to work fulltime,” Billy says. “I work hard to make sure our hospitals are clean and properly disinfected because I care about our patients and my coworkers. I want to keep them safe.”  

Unfortunately, the unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities is more than double that of workers without disabilities. Many people with disabilities want to work, but have not been able to secure jobs because of accessibility and attitudinal barriers. As a result, labor force participation for individuals with disabilities is less than 1/3 of general labor force participation. 

Easterseals can help individuals determine the best path forward in reaching their employment goals in a job they love. Avante loves baking and now, thanks to Supported Employment Services, he is able to get paid doing what he loves. He likes making chocolate chip cookies as a Bakery Assistant at Giant Food Stores, and relishes seeing his customers enjoy them. 

Once individuals are trained in their position, they work independently with the support of co-workers. Easterseals Employment Specialists provide ongoing individualized training and coaching to ensure long-term success on the job. Cassie and her husband were able to buy a home thanks to the competitive wages she makes through Supported Employment. She enjoys connecting with her customers at Lowes and is known for her strong work ethic and positive attitude. 

Colin may be “a man of few words” as described by his Easterseals Employment Specialist, but showed his character in a big way when he was one of only two baggers who decided to work through the pandemic at the Giant in Millville. He is a very strong Special Olympic athlete that proudly sports his medals at work after he competes. 

Patricia has been working at the same position at Silver Lake Center for 12 years. During the COVID-19 pandemic she continued working her hardest to keep residents safe. In fact, she increased her hours. She says, “My goal is to keep my residents safe while still being able to support them emotionally and physically.”

Currently, Easterseals works with more than 60 businesses statewide supporting more than 80 individuals with disabilities in competitive employment. To learn more about how Easterseals can help you find the perfect employee for your business, call Jane Schuler at 302-324-4444.

Easterseals Kent County center is located at 100 Enterprise Place, Suite 1, Dover, DE 19904

Easterseals in New Castle County is located at 61 Corporate Circle, New Castle, DE 19720

Please visit our website and see all of our services for people of all ages and abilities: