Supported Employment Experiences Growth

In 2013, Springbrook introduced several new programs to provide even more options for independence, choice, and personal growth. One of those programs was the Supported Employment Program, or SEMP. SEMP offers a variety of employment training and readiness supports that assist individuals with disabilities in joining the workforce. Since its inception, SEMP has steadily grown in popularity and experienced significant growth. In less than two years, the program has already helped ten people begin work, doing everything from dishes at local restaurants to stocking shelves in grocery stores.

There are a few different ways that an individual can get experience and training they need. The first of these is Pathway, which is designed to be an intensive, one-year-long program that focuses on individuals who have the potential to be competitively hired in the community with minimal supervision. The training is done in a volunteer setting and the individual is given one-on-one attention during the workweek. SEMP began enrolling Pathway volunteers in November 2014 and currently has four people taking advantage of this program. Most of the volunteers are working in multiple locations and all are expected to move onto the next phase, which will eventually result in paid employment.

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Additionally, potential employees can learn valuable, transferrable job skills through the Community Pre-Vocational Service (CPV), which will be starting in June of this year. This is another volunteer program within SEMP, with the main differences being a more group-oriented focus and a slightly less demanding schedule. A total of ten CPV volunteers will be growing organic vegetables in one of two different locations—Cooperstown or Norwich—once the program is underway. The Cooperstown location is in partnership with Origins Café and the Norwich location is in partnership with the Cornell Cooperative Extension. Volunteers will be guided by staff to work together through the entire gardening process, from planting the seeds, to watering and harvesting, and finally, they will donate their bounty to local food pantries.

SEMP is good for special needs individuals, but it also benefits participating businesses as well. Local companies have the opportunity to tap into a growing workforce of people who want to work, and since our employment specialists do the training, the employer has no hiring or training costs. Several local businesses have shown support and an eagerness to work with Springbrook. Organizations such as McDonald’s, Denny’s, Great American Grocery, Fiesta Mexican Grill and Cantina, and dozens more have shown great interest in giving people with disabilities the chance to demonstrate their skills in the workplace.

Springbrook is looking to expanding the list of potential worksites for people with disabilities throughout the coming year and beyond.

Partnership with Springbrook is a smart choice. As one of Central New York’s leading employers, with nearly 1,200 employees, our employees and SEMP participants are your neighbors, family, friends, and patrons. Join us as we build community, one job at a time.

If you're interested in becoming a SEMP Employer Partner, contact us today.

Springbrook Supported Employment Program

Bridget Lamp, Program Coordinator

Phone: 607-353-7272 Ext. 2604

Email: semp@springbrookny.org

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