King County Supported Employment Program highlighted at national conference 

Pictured: Christina Davidson, Supported Employment Program Manager, and Jeff Casem, Disability Services Supervisor.

Christina Davidson and Jeff Casem from the Disability Services Section of the Department of Human Resources recently presented on King County’s Supported Employment Program at the National Associate of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) Directors Forum and Mid-Year Conference.

The conference featured a national audience of approximately 200-250 state directors of services, senior management, policy makers, self-advocates, researchers and providers from all over the country in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Their interest was in learning how to take on policies for the employment of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and embedding in into an organization and to also learn how state policies help or hinder efforts to developing and implementing employment programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“It was certainly an honor to be presenting our King County Supported Employment Program to an audience of this magnitude and be seen as a leader in this field along with companies such as Microsoft and Universal Cells,” said Jeff.

Christina and Jeff were featured on the plenary panel that focused on “What It Means To Be Engaged In Employment:  Perspectives from Large Companies” along with Microsoft and biotech firm Universal Cells, an Astellas Company.  Microsoft, Universal Cells and King County are three large and successful organizations that have hired people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as the everyday way of conducting business and shared how human resource policies, hiring practices and other business practices create an inclusive and organizational culture that works for everyone.

“We take great pride in our program and how far we’ve come over the last five years, and are committed to our ongoing work to continue growing our Supported Employment workforce and building an inclusive workplace for all, including people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Jeff added.

Christina and Jeff shared the history and current state of King County’s Supported Employment Program, the different types of work performed by our supported employees, key elements to building a strong program, the challenges faced, and closed with a video highlighting King County’s Supported Employment Program.

Jeanine Zlockie, the Director of Communications and Education Programs for NASDDDS, also shared her praise for the program.

“The information you provided and the personal stories that were shared, gave our state members important insight and valuable information as they each strive to develop policies and practices that support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to have great lives.”

To learn more about the Supported Employment Program, watch this video below.