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City of Seattle

October 10, 3:48 PM click here to comment > 12

Supported Employment program wins Governor’s “Employer of the Year” award

Word is spreading about the City of Seattle’s innovative and effective Supportive Employment program, which employs 80 people with developmental disabilities working across 17 different City departments, including the mayor’s office. The program bundles small tasks and entry-level duties in various departments into full and part-time positions for people with developmental disabilities.

Thanks to the hard work and success of each supported employee, along with their supervisors, job coaches and supportive colleagues, the City received an “Outstanding Employer Award” from the Community Employment Alliance and the Association of Washington Business Institute.  The award is designed to honor employers in Washington state “who have made exceptional efforts to employ people with disabilities; and who by their recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion policies are role models in their community.” supported employees 4

To learn more about the important functions being performed by hardworking supported employees along with their job coaches and supervisors, check out this video from Seattle Channel that gives more detail on the program and how to get involved.

Later this month the City will also receive the Governor’s “Employer of the Year” award.  And in November the Emerald City Rotary and the Neurological Vocational Services at Harborview Medical Center will recognize City of Seattle departments with yet another award for their successes with Supported Employment.

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. Any employer can do this – job coaches to help supported employees acclimate to their duties are free of charge to any business who hires a supported employee. For more information about Supported Employment or how to become part of the program, contact Heather Weldon at or call (206) 684-7922.

Click here for a short video that will help you learn more about Supported Employment.

Posted by: Words: April Thomas, Pictures: Jen Nance


Comment from Mario Centorcelli
Time October 10, 2013 at 5:58 pm

I have been luckie to work with the seattle police department last for 14 years from job

Comment from Matt Storey
Time October 11, 2013 at 11:57 am

Congratulations to the City for making this happen. Hiring 80 people with developmental disabilities is a huge achievement!!!

Comment from James Amspacher
Time October 11, 2013 at 3:07 pm

The Supported Employment Program is wonderful and makes a difference in so many peoples’ lives. All City employees benefit from having such a great program. 🙂

Comment from Rob Doherty
Time October 13, 2013 at 2:19 am

I’m not sure if people are aware of this, but not many foreign countries have these initiatives that allow those with developmental handicaps to obtain employment. God bless the USA, as usual.

Comment from Julie Hegira
Time October 13, 2013 at 11:21 am

Hats off to our mayor and our city counsel for strongly supporting hiring people with developmental disabilities at the City of Seattle!

As a job coach of one of the city’s employees, I feel so proud every time I observe these people at work! They love their jobs and coworkers and managers love them right back!

My guy has been with the city for 15 years and makes more money than I do!!! Now THAT is what I call a success!!!!

Thank you so much again and keep up the great work!

Comment from Dana Mossman
Time October 13, 2013 at 11:36 am

The City of Seattle richly deserves these awards! My agency is honored to work with several departments in the city.

Comment from J Christian
Time October 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm

This is such an achievement! Three major awards in less than a month… wow. Not only that but this is the third time the City of Seattle’s Supported Employment program has won the Governor’s award. Let’s all give three cheers (times three!) to Heather Weldon – the person who has been the chief reason all of this has been so successful for so many years. Keep up the amazing work Heather!

Comment from Helmut Goldberg
Time October 13, 2013 at 10:36 pm

The attention that the City of Seattle is getting for it’s supported employment for the developmentally disabled has literally become nationwide. These awards are well deserved and I know that this is just the beginning. The creative director and innovator of this program is Heather Weldon, and may I say that she is getting recognition from city and county governments from all over the country – and they are all trying to model what she has done at the City of Seattle! I also happen to know that Microsoft is using the City of Seattle as the prime model of success in truly integrated supported employment. Congratulations Heather and to all of the wonderful people you work with. Your decades of inspired work are truly a bright shining light for all of us!

Comment from Susan M.
Time October 13, 2013 at 11:36 pm

What great news! Talk about an issue that everyone can get behind regardless of politics. I am so glad to see our Mayor supporting such an important program and also having the insight to let a true leader in her field “do her stuff” – of course I’m talking about Heather Weldon. And she really is a leader in her field. Those of us who have watched her work her “magic” can’t help but feel inspired. Her accomplishment of developing 80 (and growing) supported employment jobs at the city is the stuff of legend in the field of Developmental Disabilities. No, really. A visiting member of the Obama administration was reflecting on the desire to emulate the City of Seattle’s supported employment program – she eventually came to the conclusion that what they really needed was another Heather Weldon… well, sorry, there’s only one and Seattle is going to keep her!

Comment from Trish Borden
Time October 14, 2013 at 2:33 pm

The awards to the City of Seattle are well-deserved. This demonstrates progressive and inclusive government. to cities, counties and states throughout the US.

Comment from scott
Time October 16, 2013 at 2:33 pm

I am happy that the supported employment program has recieved more awards.

Comment from TODD NEWCOMBE
Time October 17, 2013 at 12:33 pm


I just wanted to thank you, for giving me the opportunity to work for Seattle City Light. I’m working on 13 years of working for the city I don’t know where I’d be if I wasn’t where I was today. This job means a lot to me and I’m very pleased and thankful to show other Individuals with disabilities how important it really is to have a job like this. I look forward to coming to work each and everyday. Thank you Heather.