Elections partners with King County’s Supported Employment Program
There are 1.4 million registered voters in King County. Voter registration in the Department of Elections is an intense, customer service focused team tasked with ensuring county residents get to exercise their right to vote. Handling phone calls, emails, in-person visitors, and thousands of online registration updates keeps this team in constant motion.
When Kim Streeter, a Program Supervisor for the Department of Elections, was approached by King County’s Supported Employment Program to hire staff for a pilot program, it seemed like a great fit for all parties.
King County’s Supported Employment Program matches job seekers with developmental disabilities to available jobs by identifying efficiencies and unmet needs throughout King County departments. The program allows each department to review its standard work practices utilizing Lean principles. A job coach is also available to help supported employees thrive in the workplace.
“We described the role we needed to fill to the Supported Employment Program Manager, and they provided us with several candidates to go through the interview process,” Kim said. “We hired Chris and over the last few years he’s become an integral part the team.”
From temporary part-time to permanent full time
Chris Noel was hired to work at the Elections headquarters in Renton, and then went remote when the COVID-19 protocols were implemented. “I like both, working in the office and remote,” Chris said.
Chris receives job coaching support through a community employment service provider called ENSO, a regional organization that supports persons with disabilities.
With support from his job coach at ENSO, Dora Sales, Chris went through the interview process to land the position. Dora then worked with Chris, Kim, and the team to ensure his success by helping with his training and integration into the work.
As a job coach, Dora supported Chris with various tasks, from taking notes during meetings to assisting in his training on the tools for the job. “Chris brought some solid work experience with him,” said Dora, “After only about a month, he was ready to work independently and has been working successfully in this role.” Chris has regular check-ins with his job coach to ensure he continues his success.
As a lifelong King County resident, Chris understands the importance of his role in the voter registration process. “I’m really proud to work with this team and as a representative of the disabled community,” he said. “ These opportunities encourage people who might not feel like they have a place in the working world.”
Chris was originally hired for a temporary limited term (TLT) part-time position. Within a year, Chris’s position was made permanent, and most recently it was changed from part-time to full-time. He explained that he primarily works with the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL), which has a significant voter registration process. Chris is responsible for data entry, processing mail, and DOL records, and is receiving training to take on more tasks.
Working with the Supported Employment Program illustrates how inclusive hiring can help make great hires and create powerful success stories for King County departments and our community. For more information on how departments can participate in the Supported Employment Program, please reach out to Christina.Davidson@KingCounty.gov.