Supported Employment Specialist - Gaithersburg, MD



Full Time (benefits eligible)

Days and evenings, also rotating weekend shifts

The Supported Employment Specialist's primary role is to provide assistance to a caseload of less than 20 people with severe psychiatric disabilities to obtain and maintain competitive
employment in normal community settings. Competitive employment includes jobs that
pay at least minimum wage and includes people who are not disabled. Supported
Employment is intended for people with the most severe disabilities. Employment
Specialists provide only vocational services and conduct all phases of vocational services
including engagement, assessment, job search, job development, and job support.
The Employment Specialist spends 65-70% of time in the community.


Assertive Engagement and Outreach

  • Meets with consumers within one week of referral.
  • Makes outreach attempts (telephone, mail, community visit) as part of initial engagement and at least monthly on a time unlimited basis when clients stop attending services.
  • Demonstrates tolerance of different levels of readiness to work by using gentle
    encouragement when a client appears unsure of working.


  • Conducts a written employment assessment (vocational profile) that includes the individual's work goal, work background, interests, talents preferences, work skills, other related work factors, coping strategies networking contacts for job search.
  • Uses a variety of sources to put together the vocational profile including discussions with the consumer, written information, case manager, family, and past employers.
  • Uses the assessment in an ongoing way including use of environmental assessments in the work place (work environment and conditions and how the consumer is affected, need for accommodations, and experiences). The vocational profile is updated to reflect these factors.
  • Explores job possibilities with the consumer by walking around the community, visiting possible workplaces, and doing informational interviews.

Job Search, Job Development & Placement

  • The client and the employment specialist make contact with employers within the first month of referral to the program. The nature of the contact may be to secure a specific job or gather more information about different jobs.
  • Teaches employment related skills as the person obtains and maintains a competitive
    job, and not before they begin looking for competitive work.
  • Assists consumers to find jobs that are interesting and meaningful to them and at the skill level they desire by making employer contacts that are based on consumers' job
    preferences (Dreams, desires, aspirations; experience, abilities, strengths, interests;
    accommodations, job setting preferences) rather than the job market.
  • Develops an employment plan that includes the consumer's vocational goals in the
    consumers' own words and behavioral objectives of how the consumer will meet his/her goal. These objectives are individualized and do not look the same for every person. The employment plan is made within the first month of referral and is updated at least quarterly.
  • Conducts individualized job development by talking to employers about specific clients' abilities and desire to do a job in their place of business and using extensive networking to identify potential job leads (talking with family members, friends, staff members, previous employers, community members).
  • When a consumer leaves a job, the employment specialist helps the consumer end the
    job and helps to find another job.

Job Supports

  • When a consumer has obtained a job, the employment specialist provides individualized, time-unlimited follow-along supports to the consumer including crisis intervention, job coaching, job counseling and problem solving, and job support groups to help to maintain the job.
  • Provides individualized, time-unlimited follow-along supports to employers such as education, guidance and problem solving.

Integration With Mental Health Treatment

  • Attends case management and clinical team meetings regularly, serves clients on that
    team, and becomes familiar with all of the team's clients.
  • Talks regularly with case managers and mental health providers.
  • Promotes employment options in case management team meetings, even when other
    staff members may not identify them as candidates for work.
  • Participates as an equal team member with shared decision-making.
  • Asks for assistance from the case manager and/or team if having difficulty engaging, are unsure about how to proceed with the consumer, or the consumer is having difficulty.
  • Shares success regularly with the team.
  • Provides education and consultation to team members by sharing knowledge of the
    consumer in relationship to work, promoting work as an option.
  • Shares with case manager goal plan or meet with consumer and case manager for goal

Participation In Employment Team

  • Attends weekly team meetings/group supervisions.
  • Actively participates in team meetings/group supervisions by presenting client situations or difficulties to get guidance or ideas, sharing success, and sharing job leads.
  • Provides back-up for other employment specialists' consumers when needed.
  • Will provide coverage on holidays when the program is otherwise closed as part of the Rehab team. This may include medication monitoring or participating in a group
    activity. This is outside the standard 40 hours of employment services.
  • Will be part of on call rotation for 24/7 access for clients.


  • Organizational and time management ability to establish rapport and to assist client to identify employment goals, to obtain and maintain competitive employment, and to provide internal and/or community referrals when necessary.
  • High School Diploma required. BA/BS in Human Service and/or related work experience preferred. Additional certifications/trainings required (or provided during orientation, or shortly thereafter).
  • Good oral and written communication.
  • Technical Skills: CPR/First Aid, Infection Control, basic computer skills, and Crisis
    Intervention/Suicidal Protocol. A current, valid driver's license, proof of auto insurance
    (which meets minimum MD state requirements), and a current driving record with 3
    points or less are required for transporting consumers, either in agency vans or a personal
Apply to www.careers@fs-inc.org