Supported Employment

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The Supported Employment in State Government (SESG) Program, RCW 41.04 was adopted by the Legislature in 1999 and provides paid competitive employment opportunities for individuals with developmental and other significant disabilities in integrated work settings.

SESG is employment with customary salary and benefits for individuals who need unique tailored supports over time to maintain job performance.  While the statute establishes that the SESG positions do not count against agencies allotted FTEs, an agency must have sufficient funds to pay for salary benefits.

All SESG positions must offer the same wages and benefits as similar non-supported employment positions. All SESG positions are permanent, classified or exempt and must be filled on a competitive basis according to the existing Collective Bargaining Agreements, RCW, WACs and each agency’s own policies on recruitment and hiring.

What is Supported Employment in State Government (SESG)?

Supported employment in state government means employment for individuals with significant disabilities who require on-the-job training and long-term support in order to fulfill their job duties successfully and offers the same benefits and wages as non-supported employment positions (RCW 41.04.750).

Supported employment is not intended to displace other civil service employees or to interfere with reduction-in-force rights (RCW 41.04.780).

How does the SESG Program benefit my agency?

  • Supported employment in state government allows agencies to add positions within your existing budgets that will not count against an agency’s allotted full-time equivalent position for the duration of the individual’s employment
  • Agencies will be able to take advantage of outside resources to assist with recruitment, training and retention of employees with significant disabilities who are hired.
  • Employment of persons with significant disabilities will count toward EEO goals.

Who is eligible to be hired through the SESG Program?

  • Individuals with a “significant disability”, as defined in the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, or a developmental disability as defined in RCW 71A.10.020
  • Individuals who require supported employment in order to perform a job successfully.
  • Individuals who have a source of long term support (either on or off the worksite) that will assist the individual in maintaining satisfactory job performance. 
  • Individuals seeking a permanent, competitive career.

Since these positions don’t require the use of an FTE, how does this affect the status of the individual hired under the program?

It does not affect the status of the individual hired in any way.

What assistance does the DSHS Division of Vocational Rehabilitation provide to state agencies and state higher education institutions?

The DSHS/DVR provides a Supported Employment Program Coordinator who will:

  • Instruct and advise staff on identifying appropriate work for a SESG position.
  • Advise and support staff on identifying appropriate work for a SESG position.
  • Advise and support staff in recruiting for SESG candidates and working with supported employment long-term support providers.
  • Instruct and advise staff on screening and selection of qualified candidates.

Is there a cost to the hiring agency for the new employee’s salary and benefits?

Yes, the salary and benefits for the new employee must be covered within existing budget.

How can an employer participate in the SESG Program?

  1. Obtain internal approval and funding to establish a supported employment position.
  2. Review SESG guidelines published by OFM.
  3. Consult with the DSHS/DVR Supported Employment Program Coordinator on Establishment, recruitment and selection for a supported employment position.

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