Technical Assistance

The Washington Initiative for Supported Employment offers a wide range of Technical Assistance to a variety of audiences.


Employment First Training and Technical Assistance

Our Vision is: “Employment for people with developmental disabilities is typical by 2020”.

We believe that employment is the primary avenue for assuring a full life in the community for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It takes concerted effort to assure that employment becomes typical for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities: From developing policies and legislation to make employment a priority; to educating and informing individuals on the benefits and expectations surrounding employment; to engaging large public and private sector employers in hiring individuals; to creating important resources to learn and grow in our understanding of the best practices in employment.

Click the video above for a powerful message about why employment is of value.

Our approach to developing strong employment first initiatives and practices is to address five key phases:  The Employment culture; Organizing for action; Leadership; Education; and Implementation.

Click here for more information about the five key phases

Click here for more information and resources on innovative policies and practices in supported employment

For more information, contact Cesilee Coulson at WISE.

Assistive and Information Technology

WISE offers training and consultation on using Apple handheld devices to be independent, communicative, productive, and included in the workplace.  This includes information on the basics of the iPad and other iOS devices, built in accessibility features, and generic and specialized apps.  Our staff presents via webinars, conferences, small groups, and individual consultations.  Visit our ATIT Resources page for copies of papers, presentations and resources.

For more information, contact Susan Harrell at WISE.


Individualized Technical Assistance (ITA)

With a focus on supporting individuals and their teams to achieve specific employment goals, Individualized Technical Assistance can provide assessment and consultation to individuals and their employment providers.  The following are some examples of service: 

  • Individualized tools to increase independence and employability
  • Enhanced employer connections
  • Assistance to utilize social networks
  • Personal coaching
  • Learning preference development
  • Assistive and information technology
  • Accommodation and Universal Design
  • Development of personal resources/assets
  • Troubleshooting with existing networks to produce desired employment outcomes
  • Person Centered Planning to assess abilities, interests and strategies for success leading to desired goals
  • Research and connections to professional community resources

Please visit the Staff Bio page to learn about WISE staff areas of experience and expertise.  In addition WISE works with outside consultants to provide ITA services. Visit our Individualized Technical Assistance page to learn more about these outside consultants. To learn more about Individualized Technical Assistance services at WISE, please contact Brandi Monts.


Consultation to Employers

WISE provides information, training, technical assistance  and consulting services to Businesses. We have over 30 years of experience dedicated to promoting equal employment opportunities for people with  disabilities. Our staff can connect with Businesses via webinars, company trainings, work with Human Resource departments  and individual consultations.

Our most recent focus has lead to the design and launch of a stand-alone Employer Website. This website is design for Businesses, and is intended to be a resource, a link and a tool for Business Leaders to share with each other.  The overarching message to employers “The business value of hiring a workforce that includes employees with disabilities!”

The Employer Website  serves as portal for employers who want to:

  • Learn about supported employment
  • Get facts and dispel myths
  • Request technical assistance
  • Post openings for positions in their business
  • Connect with direct access to qualified employee candidates
  • Evolve their workforce by hiring people with disabilities
  • Access resources and tools directly from their community
  • Build business to business connections
  • Diversify their customer base 

WISE is endorsed by many state, county and business sponsors. We invite you to be one of the many employers who have discovered the benefits of hiring an individuals with a disability!

For more information, contact Cathy Sacco at WISE.


Social Security, Medical and Other Public Benefits

WISE provides information, training and technical assistance to a network of benefits planners throughout Washington State.  Benefits planners provide assistance to individuals with disabilities as they are considering the impact that employment may have on their benefits, and to provide information about accessing work incentives.  Work incentives can help individuals to work and retain medical, cash, and other public benefits.  WISE also provides general benefits information to employment agency staff, individuals with disabilities, and other community members.

The best way to get accurate information about the impact that earnings and other income may have on benefits is to obtain an individualized benefits analysis.  Contact a benefits planner to obtain an individualized benefits analysis. For contact information, visit our benefits network contact list.

For more information about training and technical assistance that WISE provides on Social Security, medical and other benefits, please contact Susan Harrell.


Self-Employment Training and Technical Assistance

WISE provides training and technical assistance on self-employment for people with even the most significant challenges to employment.  We provide assistance to individuals who are or wish to become self-employed, their families, employment agencies, VR staff, residential staff, counties, state staff, and other team members.  We provide training in a variety of formats, from two hour webinars to two day in-depth classes.  We also provide direct technical assistance which stresses the importance of developing strong support teams, identifying the right idea(s) for the person to succeed, and seeking out/finding new resources and expertise to assist.  Over the years we’ve developed strong relationships and partnerships with like-minded individuals and agencies and established a strong network to support this work.  Some of the specific topics we cover include:

  • Differentiation between business versus hobby
  • Feasibility studies of a business
  • Basic business, financial, and support planning around proposed business ventures
  • Resource development
  • Product and service development/refinement
  • Licensing and local/state/federal regulations
  • Record keeping, accounting, taxes, marketing, sales, industry research, start-up funding, Social Security benefits analysis
  • Working with Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and other public/private partners
  • Additional client/family topics concerning small business startup and operation
  • Additional related developmental and intellectual disability specific topics

For more information, please contact Jim Corey at WISE.