In pursuing our mission of supporting people with physical and intellectual disabilities with integrity, transparency, and respect, Hands of Heartland strives to give each individual every opportunity to live a fulfilling and rewarding life. Our Supported Employment services are just one way we accomplish this goal. The program is designed to provide individuals with an avenue to competitive employment in a variety of community opportunities located throughout Nebraska.
Recognized as a Vocational Rehabilitation Provider in the state of Nebraska, our supported employment program is designed to seamlessly connect people with developmental disabilities to employers willing to provide them with the chance to work in a competitive work environment with the support of our certified vocational coaches.
The supported employment model provides a number of benefits for not only the individual participating in the program, but also to their new employer and to the person’s family.
Impact on the Person
Throughout the supported employment experiences, our vocational coaches will help people identify potential employment opportunities. While working through this process and exploring various employment options, individuals are developing new skills, learning that they have a degree of control over what jobs they might pursue, and discovering what opportunities appeal to them the most.
This independence then carries into the new workplace, giving them the confidence to embrace a new skill set and realize that their abilities have value to others. In working in supported employment situations, they are also provided the support and guidance necessary for improving their social and daily living skills and gradually gaining crucial knowledge of how to properly engage with others. Finally, they are learning transferable vocational skills, which will stay with them throughout their lives. Over time, they become less dependent upon the vocational coach and become more independent and valuable members of their employers’ workforce.
Impact on the Employer
Employers who welcome participants of supported employment programs benefit from the presence of people with developmental disabilities in a number of ways. The cultural impact on the employee base is an increase in morale, which drives innovation and market growth. Employers who are seen to embrace diversity in their workforce out-perform competitors who do not. Much of this is attributed to the willingness of leadership and employees in diverse settings to embrace open communication and explore compelling alternative approaches to standard business challenges.
Impact on the Family
Supported employment programs provide a dual benefit for family members who are often acting as caregivers for people with developmental disabilities. By providing an avenue of socialization and productivity at times when they might otherwise require personal engagement, this frees up family members and allows everyone in the family to achieve a degree of freedom and independence. This is especially true when considering the impact the individual’s new revenue stream will have on the family unit. Assisting people with developmental disabilities access competitive wages teaches them to gain fiscal independence and helps to mitigate any financial impact of living expenses.
Supported Employment Produces Results
With Hands of Heartland’s attentive focus on job skill assessment and development in our other programs, we work to provide the people we support with the skills and assistance they need to be successful in the workplace. By finding placement within community jobs, the people we support will receive on-the-job training alongside people without disabilities, giving them practical experience in social, vocational, and heightened daily living skills. This kind of real-world experience is invaluable in the growth and quality of life for people with developmental disabilities.