Supported Employment is defined as “paid employment in community settings for persons with disabilities who need ongoing support to perform their work. Support can include on-the-job training, transportation, or supervision.”

RVI’s Community Employment Program has received accreditation through CARF International, the leading organization for accreditation of habilitation services.

In accordance with the Employment First initiative, we’re shifting expectations for a cultural transformation. Here is an explanation of the initiative from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities:

“Every person has abilities, skills and talents to enrich the community and people around us. We envision a time when every working-age adult with developmental disabilities has opportunity to explore their career options and seek jobs that fit their skills and interests.

“We start by shifting expectations. Young people with developmental disabilities will learn about employment options and planning during their school years. Adults with developmental disabilities should have support teams that assist in learning more about how abilities and interests can match opportunities in the workplace. Every person should expect that community employment is the preferred outcome for working-age adults with developmental disabilities.

“Every agency, school, organization and individual within Ohio’s developmental disability system plays a role by focusing on what everyone can do, providing the best supports and services to enable people to choose and succeed in community employment. We’re transforming to a system culture that creates opportunities and pathways for integration, independence and full community participation.

“Community employment brings so many benefits – from greater independence and wealth building potential to improved self-esteem and personal satisfaction. And that’s just the beginning: Employers and co-workers benefit through more diversity and a broader range of capable employees available; while society at large benefits when all citizens are able to participate in and contribute to their communities in all the ways they can.”

Our staff members receive training required by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities. RVI provides some of that training, and the state agencies and other entities also provide training.

The individuals who are served by this department are guided throughout the employment process, including intake, vocational testing, benefits coordination and analysis, career exploration, community-based job assessments, training in job-seeking skills, job development and job coaching.

The goal of the job coach is to provide and extra training and support the person might require, while gradually “fading” so that the person will eventually be able to work without assistance. At that point, RVI provides a “follow-along” service. The employer pays the individual’s wage, but does not pay anything for the services provided by RVI. This makes this program more attractive to business owners and managers who are interested in trying this option.

Some of the adults with developmental disabilities who receive services from RVI’s Community Employment Program have found lasting work at the Kroger store in Fremont, Zink Calls in Port Clinton, and other businesses.

The program has recently started the New Employment Work Services course for individuals who want to work in the community. The NEWS classes cover proper attire, personal hygiene, workplace safety, computer skills, resume-building, and visiting local businesses. Throughout the course, five individuals who are served by RVI participate in two-hour sessions each Wednesday morning. At the end of the course, each individual will receive a binder containing all the information and documents necessary to apply for a job – diploma, resume, certificates, banking information, and any other pertinent information.

Email Community Employment Program Manager Chelsea Wagner or call 419-898-5250, ext. 3067, for information.