North Sound Mental Health Administration

Improving the mental health and well being of individuals and families in our communities
A Regional Support Network for Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish & Whatcom Counties.
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Are there supports available to employers who hire people who have disabilities?

The Washington State Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) offers consultation to employers on hiring and retaining workers who have disabilities. They are knowledgeable about ways to accommodate people's disabilities and Federal and state laws regarding employment for people who have disabilities. You can see a list of DVR offices following the heading "Looking for an employee?"

Washington Initiative for Supported Employment (WISe) offers consultation to employers. For contact information go to their website http://www.wiseemployers.com/

The website of the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) (http://askjan.org/media/psyc.htm) discusses various psychiatric conditions and specific ways to accommodate people who experience the symptoms associated with those conditions. The JAN also offers free consultation.

Increasingly more and more vocational services are following a model called "supported employment". Supported employment supports both the employee and the employer in a variety of ways. For a good description of it look at the article "Promising Practices for Employment Success" which describes how that model benefits employers and employees both. The article can be found at the website http://www.americasheroesatwork.gov/forEmployers/factsheets/

A detailed definition of supported employment and a look at the beneficial effects of supported employment can be found at: http://www.nami.org/template.cfm?template=/contentManagement/contentDisplay.cfm&contentID=8364

A brief video introduction to supported employment produced by CBS News can be viewed at: www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/01/04/evening news/main4697774.shtml

Supported Employment programs support employers in 2 ways. First, job developers look for jobs that would closely match the interests, skills and abilities of each individual who is seeking employment thus reducing the possibility that a new employee will fail at a job. Secondly, each job-seeker has a job coach who will help the job-seeker before and after starting a job. The job coach can help the person solve problems related to the job, deal with mental health issues and help a person resolve challenges outside of work that might impact her/his job.

An example of what a job developer does can be seen on the video at:

An example of what a job coach does can be seen on the video at:

In addition to these specialized supports and services, WorkSource of Washington State offers information and consultation to employers around a variety of topics at:

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~ips/page4/page1/page1.html This is an all-around good website for information about supported employment sponsored by Dartmouth University. It contains a number of videos including ones on the advantages of hiring someone who has a psychiatric disability, the experiences of other employers and services provided by Supported Empoloyment programs.

At http://usodep.blogs.govdelivery.com/2013/12/16/mayberry-meets-the-ada one can find information for employers on how to handle employees' questions about a colleague who has a disability.

http://cappublic.uat2.keymind.com/NewsEvents/Training.aspx has 3- to 4-minute training modules on reasonable accommodation for people who have various disabilities.

A website that offers a number of articles for employers who hire people who have disabilities can be found at http://dbtacnorthwest.org/tools/pwdtools/Employ

http://dbtacnorthwest.org/_public/site/files/fact_sheets/Facts-RAI.pdf Here employers can read about how to conduct a reasonable accommodation interview.

The rules surrounding pre-employment medical exams and rlated inquiries are discussed at: http://dtbacnorthwest.org/_public/site/files/fact_sheets/Facts-DisabilityInquiries.pdf


Send mail to Michael White with questions or comments about this web site.
North Sound Mental Health Administration