Supported Employment Program

For someone with developmental disabilities, a job can mean the world!

At a time when the unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities is nearly 11%, Irene Wortham Center’s successful Supported Employment Program is helping make this statistic a thing of the past. Thanks to highly-skilled coaches, dedicated employers, gracious donors, and North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Services, more than 120 individuals are enjoying meaningful and competitive employment in the community.

Participants work side-by-side with highly skilled and dedicated job coaches who offer comprehensive assistance through four phases of support. Business partners also receive ongoing support to assure the client’s success, at no additional cost to the employer. North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Services reimburses Irene Wortham Center for services provided. We also provide one-on-one services for individuals who require additional assistance through the NC Innovations Waiver.

4 Phases of Support:

  • Supplemental Evaluation/Community-Based Assessment. Job coaches work with participants to identify work interests and skills. Job coaches work with participants to identify work interests and skills through job sampling.
  • Job Development. Irene Wortham Center staff works with potential employers to identify jobs that match our clients’ skills and assist them throughout the hiring process.
  • Intensive Training. Job coaches train clients to do the job and stay with them on the jobsite to ensure their performance meets the needs of the employer.
  • Long-Term Follow-Up. Job coaches check in periodically with the employee and employer to ensure success.

A short list of the many businesses that partner with the Supported Employment Program include:

BUNCOMBE COUNTY SCHOOLS, TJ MAXX, BARNES & NOBLE, THE ACADEMY OF ASHEVILLE, STEAK ‘N SHAKE, AB TECH, AC REYNOLDS HIGH SCHOOL, BI-LO, BELLA VISTA RETIREMENT LIVING, BOJANGLE’S, BOOKWORKS, CHERRY SPRINGS VILLAGE, CHILI’S, COCA-COLA, CROWNE PLAZA, DICKIE’S BBQ, EARTH FARE, FRESH MARKET, FUN DEPOT, GOODWILL, HARDEE’S, HARRIS TEETER, INGLES MARKETS, INSOURCE, IRENE WORTHAM CENTER, J & S CAFETERIA, IRA B. JONES ELEMENTARY, KING BIO, KITCHEN COLLECTIONS, KOHL’S, LONG JOHN SILVER’S, LOWE’S, MCDONALDS, MISSION HOSPITAL, MOUNTAIN HOME, OLD NAVY, OLIVE GARDEN, PANERA BREAD, PIZZA HUT, ROSS, SAM’S CLUB, STAPLES, SUNNY POINT CAFÉ, TARGET, TC ROBERSON HIGH SCHOOL, WEST END BAKERY, WAL-MART, WENDY’S, and ZAXBY’S.

Want to become a Supported Employment Partner? Call 828.274.7518, ext 142 or email Devin Gentry dgentry@iwcnc.org, Community Services Coordinator, for more information.

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Meet Calvin, one of our Adult Day Actvity center clients and participants in our Supported Employment program.  Calvin never fails to greet you with a big smile and handshake when you walk through the door and he's always up for a good conversation.  When asked what he likes most about the Irene Wortham Center, he says it's all of the friends he has made.  Calvin has been coming here for over 30 years and has been working at Ingles through the Supported Employment program for 5 years every Tuesday and Wednesday.  Calvin says his hobbies are "getting along with people" and, fittingly, his favorite memories from his time here are when he has "helped somebody out."  You rock, Calvin!