Washington Initiative for Supported Employment Programs
We are developing and launching of a web based training portal for the development of employment consultants across the state of WA. Technical Assistance and Training is a key foci of our mission. There are over 85 providers of service and hundreds of interested businesses across the State of Washington who are in need of both needed and mandatory training. Included are clients rights, best practices in the workplace, job development for people with significant disabilities, etc. We have developed the baseline, scripts, data base and program formats and have launched the training to allow easy and instant access, provide for excellence in technical assistance and training and save money for the both the provider and the funder
In 2011, we have implemented a business to business partnership between Rotary District 5030, King County Division of Developmental Disabilities and WISE that will secure 20 paid jobs within King County businesses for individuals with developmental disabilities - “Partners for Work”. This work has been in cooperation with King County Developmental Disabilities, Rotary District 5030, the King County provider base and WISE.
We have developed and are launching a business to business educational website at www.wiseemployers.com. This website will provide educational information to businesses about hiring individuals with developmental disabilities, create a support network of peer to peer business leaders and offer consultation to businesses ready to begin the hiring process. In our work for the past twenty years, we have found that often the traditional methods of developing livable wage jobs for people with developmental disabilities must evolve. Hence, we have proven a track record to link, train and support employers in order to increase job placement for people.
We have designed, and will promote and deliver the National Employment Conference in Seattle, WA for the Association of Person's in Supported employment (APSE) in June 2011.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
WISE was involved in the development of Project SEARCH, a corporate-driven commitment to hire a number of people with disabilities within a hospital or other institutional setting. For example, Seattle Children's Hospital committed to a Project SEARCH model and currently employs 24 people with developmental disabilities. Using lessons learned in the corporate development model and together with the vendor community and King County, WISE is the recipient of a grant from King County Division of Developmental Disabilities to partner with local Rotary #5030 whose members have committed to hire 20 people with developmental disabilities this year. This approach can be replicated and expanded!
With a grant awarded by the Seattle Foundation, we will begin implementing the employer to employer initiative(s) we believe a current significant need in our community. Historically, it has been the providers of service who market jobs for people with disabilities in the community. WISE was recently awarded a grant from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) (50,000.00) to create an Employment Initiative. Our request to the Seattle Foundation will match the DVR award and be used to establish an employer-led marketing and job match process that will result in improved credibility and education and create a valuable tool for the business/employer community. An employer-led advisory board, expanded employer website, employer training, and proven success demonstrations currently in place in the community (Project SEARCH, Rotary Partners for Work, King County School-to-Work, etc.) will contribute toward improved and expanded availability of jobs.