Glossary of Terms

There are many terms used in the world of Supported Employment.  Below are some terms and their definition:

Baseline Assessment:

An assessment of a Job Seeker’s skills and abilities usually made by an Employment Professional within the first two or three days of starting a position. It shows what a Job Seeker can do unassisted when starting a position and helps to plan measures to ensure progress and eventually independence.

Customized Employment:

Individualizing the employment relationship between employees and Employers in ways that meet the needs of both. It is based on an individualized determination of the strengths, needs, and interests of the person experiencing disability, and it is also designed to meet the specific needs of the Employer. It may include employment developed through job carving (carving a piece of a job into a new job), Self-Employment, or other job development or strategies that result in job responsibilities being customized and individually negotiated to fit the needs of individuals experiencing disabilities.   Customized employment assumes that reasonable support is provided, by the Employer, as necessary for the individual to perform the functions of a job that is individually negotiated and developed.

Employment Professional/ Job Developer/Employment Facilitator:

These are different titles for those who work for a Supported Employment service provider and work toward establishing and maintaining activities to develop, locate, and secure job openings for Job Seekers.  Markets programs and coordinates job resources for Employers and other interested parties.

Job Coaching:

The training of an employee by an approved Employment Professional (Job Coach), who uses step by step instructions to help the employee learn to perform job tasks to the Employer's specifications and to learn the interpersonal skills necessary to be accepted as a worker at the job site and other social settings.

Job Maintenance:

Extended services that provide ongoing support needed for the individual to maintain employment. Extended services are provided after an employee has learned all skills necessary in the job and the Employment Professional is no longer needed. Extended services are provided both to the employee and the Employer, as frequently as necessary, to assess and maintain employment stability.

Job Seeker:

A person who is actively looking for employment.  Once a Job Seeker secures employment, they become an employee.

Natural Supports:

Supports from supervisors and co-workers, such as mentoring, friendships, socializing at breaks and/or after work, and providing feedback on job performance or when learning a new skill. These natural supports are particularly effective because they enhance the communication and social integration between the employee experiencing a disability and his/her co-workers and supervisor. In addition, natural supports may be more permanent, consistent and readily available, thereby facilitating long-term job-retention. Friends and family members may also provide significant natural supports, such as assistance with transportation and problem solving issues pertaining to work.  This can be broadened to specific items that people use naturally to assist them in their day to day activities such as alarm clocks, cell phones, computers and means of transportation such as public transit.

Supported Employment:

Is the term for when an organization helps a person experiencing disability to prepare for, obtain and maintain employment in the community.  The organization provides a variety of supports to both the Job Seeker and the Employer to ensure a successful working relationship.  (Note:  Employment is defined as an Employer/employee relationship or Self-Employment and is at a rate of minimum wage or better.)

Task Analysis:

Is the process of learning about the steps involved in each task to be performed.  This is done by observing the task in action and developing a step by step analysis for the entire task.  Task analysis helps identify the tasks a Job Seeker can perform independently and the areas where the Job Seeker needs support to become more independent.   Accurate record keeping on the baseline assessment will determine the appropriate support for the Job Coach to provide to the Job Seeker.


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