Last year, The Center began laying the groundwork for a new program to help with our focus on employment for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Now, with 2018 underway, our new Supported Employment Program is in full swing. The Center’s new Director of Employment Services, Frank Higginbotham, sat down with us to share what makes this program so special and so vital to our clients’ career success.
What is The Center’s Supported Employment Program?
The Supported Employment Program provides customized employment planning and assistance for individuals with I/DD. This includes things like detailed employment assessments, workplace skills training, job coaching, and long-term support and follow-up.
What does the Supported Employment Program hope to achieve?
Our primary goal is to help our clients find success in competitive, community-based employment in areas of their interest. In the bigger picture, we work to change the culture that often presents barriers to employment for individuals with I/DD.
What specific changes do you hope to see in the job market for people with disabilities?
Many of our clients struggle against the stigma of low expectations. For too long, employers have assumed that hiring someone with I/DD would compromise the quality of their work; more than six decades of experience with the population we serve has shown us otherwise, time and time again. People with I/DD have varied personalities, abilities, and learning styles, just like all of us. We work with our clients to help them improve their unique professional skill set, but also with employers to help them understand the potential in adults with I/DD to become exemplary employees.
How is Supported Employment different from The Center’s existing employment services?
The Supported Employment Program progresses toward the concrete end goal of placing clients in well-suited community-based jobs. Clients in existing programs at The Center such as the Adult Training and Employment Services Program (ATES), which is preparatory in nature, can integrate seamlessly into Supported Employment. ATES clients who feel ready to seek employment in the community often still require coaching and assistance in that process, as well as ongoing support after they obtain a job. Others may enter directly into Supported Employment without that first step. We work with each client to find the right path for him or her.
What kinds of jobs can someone expect to get through this program?
Our employment assessments are comprehensive and highly personalized, which helps to ensure a great fit for everyone. The Center currently partners with companies and organizations in fields like medical, technology, and hospitality in addition to connecting individually with other companies based on client interest. We are just getting started and are always working to find more community partners who are seeking great employees. The sky’s the limit!
How do I find out if the Supported Employment program is right for me or my loved one?
For more details on our Supported Employment program, visit our employment services page.
How can I help?
The Supported Employment Program is a program with high expectations that requires motivation, dedication, and hard work—all ideal traits for any employee! If you or your employer are seeking a capable new staff member, get in touch! Contact our Director of Employment Services, Frank Higginbotham, at 713.525.8303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frank V. Higginbotham, Jr. is the Director of Employment Services at The Center. He has more than 17 years’ experience in the vocational training field. Before coming to The Center, Frank served as Director at Arise Transitional Living Center, where he developed a drug support and transitional living program for homeless men. He is also the co-founder of Higginbotham Staffing Solutions, an employment agency geared toward helping individuals with disabilities gain employment. He has credentials from UNTWISE as a CRP Director, Supported Employment Specialist, Job Coach and Job Placement Specialist and is currently training for certification as a Social Security Administration Benefits Coordinator. In his free time, he is passionate about coaching youth basketball.