The Center for Community Partnerships’ Supported Employment Program began in 1985 as a result of a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education to guide adults with developmental disabilities in their dreams of working in the community as opposed to spending their days in segregated settings. By federal definition, supported employment is paid employment, in an integrated setting, with on-going support provided over the long-term. Many of the individuals who were referred to CCP when the supported employment program first began are still working at the jobs they took in the late eighties. In fact, supported employment has become so successful in Colorado and across the nation, it is commonplace to see individuals with significant disabilities successfully working in the community and enjoying their careers.
Supported employment implemented through CCP is a partnership between the individual with a disability, the employer, co-workers in the work setting, family members, the referring agency, and the community at large. Individuals referred to CCP’s supported employment program receive assistance in assessing their employment related skills, abilities, interests and challenges; developing an employment plan and a resume; trying out numerous jobs to identify a job match that is mutually beneficial for them and for the employer; practicing and participating in job interviews; participating in internships and/or apprenticeships to gain experience; and, once hired, job transition and maintenance to ensure full inclusion in the work environment and employer satisfaction with the new employee’s work performance.