Jessica Fisher

City Launches Supported Employment Program

Jessica Fisher, Public Information Assistant, 509.625.6749

Friday, January 18, 2019 at 4:14 p.m.

The City of Spokane is expanding our workforce to better represent everyone that lives in our community. Today, Friday, Jan. 18, Mayor David Condon introduced the City’s new Supportive Employment Program. The program is designed to create job opportunities for eligible individuals with disabilities, and hopefully serve as an inspiration for other companies and organizations to begin their own supported employment programs.

“We want to provide opportunities for meaningful work for citizens throughout our community,” says Mayor Condon. “The Supported Employment Program effectively removes barriers that could otherwise prevent qualified individuals from gaining full-time City employment.”

The Mayor noted that people with disabilities face very significant unemployment at around 75 percent. “We wouldn’t accept that unemployment rate for any other group of people, and we shouldn’t accept it in this situation,” he said.

A major goal of the joint Mayor-Council Strategic Plan to build a 21st Century Workforce at the City that is more responsive and adaptive and reflects our community makeup and values. This program will help us get closer to that goal.

In part, the City’s new program will be successful due to changes at the federal level that allow individuals with disabilities to continue to receive certain benefits while taking on a full-time job. In 2014, the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act was signed into law. The ABLE Act allows individuals with disabilities continue to receive certain benefits while working a full-time job. This act was supported by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who participated in today’s announcement, along with U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.

Here are some more specifics of the City’s program. The Supported Employment Program is for individuals with disabilities seeking full time work, who:

  1. have a physical or intellectual impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, and which would cause participating in a civil service examination impracticable and
  2. have a record of such impairment. The impairments must be material rather than slight; static and permanent in that they are seldom fully corrected by medical replacement, therapy, medication, or surgical means.

If you are eligible for the program you must submit proof of your disability, a certificate of job readiness and a completed application. All eligible candidates will be placed in a candidate pool until an appropriate vacancy opens. Once a vacancy occurs, the candidate will be screened against the minimum qualifications for the position. A list of eligible Supported Employment Program candidates for the position will be sent to Human Resources. HR will then work with the hiring manager to screen, interview, and select the candidate who will best meet the needs of the department.

All Supported Employment Program employees will have a job coach. This coach will provide support for the employee as needed. In addition, Civil Services will provide training to our supervisors and the work group the employee will be entering.

If you have any question regarding this process give us a call at 509.625.6160 or email us at

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