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City of Seattle

August 16, 12:17 PM click here to comment > 39

50 new positions for Supported Employees

We’ve talked on our blog in the past about the City’s award-winning supported employment program. Today we’re excited to announce that our legislation to add 50 more supported employment positions to the City was passed by the City Council.

Mayor McGinn signing the bill as supported employees cheer him on

The City of Seattle has 60 employees with developmental disabilities (supported employees). We bundle small tasks and entry-level duties in various departments into full and part-time positions (real jobs!) for people with developmental disabilities.

Any employer can do this – job coaches are free of charge to any business who hires a supported employee. Supported employment is not only a way to include people who have traditionally been excluded from our workplaces; the program also benefits City-department budgets. We save taxpayer dollars by paying an affordable wage.

The program provides meaningful work for a population who is dedicated and eager to contribute their talents to the workplace. Our supported employment program is just one of the ways we’re working to create shared prosperity that is available to everyone in our community.

Photo by: April Thomas

Posted by: April Thomas


Comment from Julie Hegira
Time August 16, 2012 at 2:04 pm

THANK YOU MAYOR McGINN!!! One of my clients is Jason Niva, standing next to Heather. He’s been with IT for 12 plus years and loves working for the city. Working for the city has done wonders for his life. He is supports himself and lives with 2 other guys. He is able to get not only the necessities but a lot of extras like vacations and social events. He will be a loyal City employee for the rest of his life!

These jobs do amazing things for the supported employee. And that employee does amazing things for the City of Seattle. This is really life changing for everyone involved.

Thanks again Mayor McGinn!!! You are the best!


Comment from TODD NEWCOMBE
Time August 16, 2012 at 2:08 pm


Comment from Josefina Lopez
Time August 16, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Excellent decision Mayor McGinn.
This is a great program and I am happy to see that it has your full support.
Josefina/Seattle City Light

Comment from Monica McDaniel
Time August 16, 2012 at 2:11 pm

It is awesome to see city government see the value in hiring individuals with developmental disabilities and being a leader for other public entities.

Comment from Aimee Nelson
Time August 16, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Mayor McGinn,
Thank you for making Supported Employment a priority within the City of Seattle.


Aimee Nelson

Comment from Trish Borden
Time August 16, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Thank you and congratulations to Mayor McGinn and the Seattle City Council. Thanks to you, Seattle will be hiring some productive and enthusiastic employees.

Comment from Gerald Neumann
Time August 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I have worked for the city of seattle for almost 14 years this is a great program, and it gives people like me a oppertunity to get a job and have a chance in life.With out this program I would be at a dead end job.Thanks for giving me a chance in the work force.

Comment from Karen Williams
Time August 16, 2012 at 2:56 pm

I am proud to live in a city that makes a priority to include people with developmental disabilities in its workforce. Thanks Councilmembers and Mayor McGinn for this progressive initiative.

Comment from mario centorcelli
Time August 16, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Thank you very much for signing that bill i have been working for spd in records for last 13 years

Comment from Rebecca Jansson
Time August 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm

We at Mainstay @ Seattle Central Community College could not be more proud of the work Mayor McGinn, Heather Weldon, department supervisors and the many dedicated supported employment workers do every day! Thank you for your amazing contributions.

Comment from Carole Holleman
Time August 16, 2012 at 3:54 pm

This speaks well of Seattle and the officials who work for the city! Promoting employment opportunities for persons with disabilities is the ethical and right thing to do. Thank you for your commitment!

Comment from Joyce Black
Time August 16, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Way to go Mayor McGinn, thank you so much for supporting jobs for people with developmental disabilities.

Comment from matt warf
Time August 16, 2012 at 6:06 pm

i glad they gt 50 more spot for suppert Employee i am one my self and i have been with the city for going on 13 years and i love it it makes me happy to now that people with disablets are going to work becase of the city and i say wtg to the city and heather weilden for make this all happen i love it

Comment from John Christian
Time August 16, 2012 at 6:44 pm

This is wonderful. In this rather divisive political climate, there seem to be few things that both sides of the aisle can agree on… but this program is one of those rare examples. This is really something to be celebrated and supported! The related video on the Seattle Channel is just great also by the way!

Comment from Shannon Shepherd
Time August 16, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Thank you Mr. Mayor for your suport of this important program. Good for our community, our city and our citizens. Makes me feel proud to be in a community where we value and support all segments of our community.

Comment from shawna markham
Time August 17, 2012 at 12:41 am

what an awesome program!! :>) the self confidence that earning a living brings, can’t be duplicated. it’s a healthier society if everyone who is able to contribute, can and do. lets branch out to welfare and change our country. :>)

Comment from Rick
Time August 17, 2012 at 6:33 am

I have to say, oftentimes we are somewhat defined by what we do and some are defined by their sadly ‘label’. Supported employment is a great vehicle to maximize the strengths of those who have historically been overlooked, underemployed, excluded from the workplace. Thank you Mayor McGinn!

Comment from Maringi
Time August 17, 2012 at 6:36 am

Kudos to the City of Seattle and Mayor McGinn. I’m a Pierce County resident and wish this mindset would flow south a little more.

Comment from Dan Rutten
Time August 17, 2012 at 7:56 am

Mayor McGinn,

Thank you for supporting Supported Employment! Your continued efforts not only shows your commitment to people with disabilities, but also the community as a whole. This is JOB CREATION, something that nearly every person has been asking for from every elected official. We applaud your effort and hope to have your support for many years to come.

Best Regards,
Dan Rutten
Washington Vocational Services

Comment from Alison McCormick
Time August 17, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Thank you for the bottom of our collective hearts Mayor McGinn. This is a legacy that will live on for years to come.

Comment from Hace Williams
Time August 18, 2012 at 3:43 am

This is huge for the special needs community — not only in Seattle, but for surrounding municipalities that could contribute by following this example. Thank you Mayor McGinn and bravo City of Seattle!

Comment from Sharon Rowland
Time August 18, 2012 at 11:07 am

Congratulations to you and your City for understanding the need for these jobs and the return that both the City and person receive. I am sure most of these people look forward to going to work every day. It really is a win, win situation.

Comment from Janelle Neil
Time August 18, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Thank you, Mayor McGinn for your forward thinking endorsement of supported employment. I am the Head of a small school in Tukwila and we have a Mainstay supported employee here at work. Jennifer’s bright smile and ‘can-do’ attitude is a sunny spot in all of our days. However the most point to focus on is what she does is significant, is of value, and benefits everyone involved.

It is through this program that my own son, Jerry, became an employee of the City. His personal growth, maturity and growing job skills have resulted in him being completely independent financially. He does not collect one tax dollar nor recieve any government support. It is the dream come true of every parent. We all wonder, ‘who will love our children when we pass away….who will take care of their basic needs and make sure they are safe?’ This program provides a cornerstone to independence and a ladder with possibly ‘shorter steps’ going up but steps toward success none the less.

This makes such a difference in everyone’s life as we can all see that people who have handicapping conditions CAN and DO want to work and be a supportive part of their communities.

Bless you for your forward thinking!
Janelle Neil,
Head of School
Academy Schools
Tukwila, WA

Comment from Patty
Time August 20, 2012 at 8:50 am

This bill enables individuals on the edge of of society to have an opportunity to fulfill their dream of being employed. Thank you
Mayor McGinn.

Comment from Katie Peterson
Time August 20, 2012 at 10:36 am

What a wonderful milestone in promoting diversity in the workplace! Puget Sound Personnel is honored to continue the Supported Employment Partership we enjoy with the City of Seattle. Thank you!

Comment from barbara barrett
Time August 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Leadership demonstrated by Mike McGinn anf those who supported this effort.

Comment from Phil McConnell
Time August 20, 2012 at 1:55 pm

What a tremendous and wonderful commitment you have made, Mayor McGinn! Thank you for your consideration of people with developmetal disabilities, who have traditionally been underrepresented in the workplace. Through this legislation, you are making our community a better place for all citizens! Thank you!

Comment from Kristin
Time August 20, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Thank you Mayor McGinn for your support of employment opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities. Everything is better when we work together!

Comment from Amie Hardt
Time August 22, 2012 at 9:28 am

Thank you Mayor McGinn for promoting both job creation and diversity in the work force. This is an incredible program that provides life changing opportunities for some of the most positive and hard-working people you could ever meet. Great job!!

Comment from Valarie Trumble
Time August 23, 2012 at 9:08 am

This is great to see! I am from the Everett area and worked for Catholic Community Services as a Long Term Care Supervisor. I now live in Southern Indiana and work as an Employment Consultant for Southern Indiana Resource Solutions.

Comment from Lisa Weiner
Time August 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Thank you, Mayor McGinn, for recognizing the value that supported employees add to the City of Seattle, as well as the impact having a job has on lives of those employed. The precedence set by the City of Seattle is to be commended and hopefully will be replicated in the surrounding communities.

Highline Community College

Comment from Kenita Teague
Time August 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Thank you Mayor McGinn for your support of employment for all!

Comment from Karin
Time August 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm

THANK YOU Mayor McGinn for your support of employment for people with disabilities! It is so refreshing to see action and not just words; so many employers are quick to say that they strive to hire “people with disabilities” although find reasons to not follow through with hiring. I’m pleased and very excited to see action happening and hopeful that other employers will see the benefits that this population has to offer. Much appreciation and thanks for such a milestone!!

Comment from Cheryl L.
Time August 24, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Such a vote for diversity! I am impressed.

Comment from Vicky
Time August 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Thank you Mayor McGinn for your support of people with disabilities not only getting jobs, but establishing careers!

Comment from Marti
Time August 30, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Thank you for being a champion of this important program! My daughter, who has a developmental disability, is now 8. I’m hopeful that by the time my daughter is of working age, there will be many more employers, such as the City of Seattle, that see the value in supported employment. Keep up the fantastic work!!

Comment from Ed & Peggy Novak
Time August 31, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Thank you Mayor McGinn for your support of this often overlooked segment of the population. This legislation gives people with disabilities the opportunity to show that they can be valuable employees and contributors to society. We hope that other employers will follow your lead. Kudos to you!

Comment from jo
Time September 5, 2012 at 5:13 pm

I’d like to give kudos to the workers that “support” the Supported Employees. I’ve seen how they go the extra mile to see that these employees get to their dentist and doctor appointments and even help with their taxes!

Comment from Sharon Boehm, parent
Time September 14, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Thank you Mayor McGinn for expanding this needed program for our adult sons and daughters. My son, Matthew age 33, waited for 10 years for a chance at a supported employment position with the city. His father worked for the city for 38 years and we wanted the “best” in terms of working conditions and benefits for our son. Matthew applied for city jobs when they were available, but was unsuccessful because there were 100 supported employments applicants for one position; at other times, people with more experience got their well-deserved opportunity.

I’ve met Heather Weldon and you INDEED have a person dedicated heart and soul to improving employment opportunities for our “kids.”

My son knows that he has a disability and is proud to be a city employee — he’s well aware that he now has “vacation days” and hoards them. He’s never used a sick day and ALWAYS is on time to work (for which he is very proud). Don’t you wish ALL employees had that work ethic?

Matthew is SO proud to be working full time and would volunteer for weekend work if allowed. He’d like me to mention that he wants to join/belong to the union like the other people — is that possible? (My profession was that of a psychiatric social worker, so it’s in my blood to be a strong advocate.) Thanks again to you and members of the council who made this dream come true — it’s a win-win proposition for tax payers and clients/parents!!

PS: Thanks to the dedicated employees at Mainstay — without their strong support, Matthew would still not have a job — their tenaciousness and perseverance is to be commended.