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Employment Services

Open Sky is dedicated to the belief that meaningful employment – a real job – is an important part of a successful life. And we think that every individual, no matter their challenges, should be given the opportunity to pursue meaningful work or volunteer opportunities. Our employment programs, located across Worcester, the Blackstone Valley and Norfolk County, serve adults with varying developmental or intellectual disabilities.

Employment specialists assist individuals to participate at a range of paid employment, volunteer, and community-based day activity sites each week. They help with career planning and interview prep, assist with creating resumes, and provide on-the-job coaching to help the individuals we serve find satisfaction and success in the job or volunteer situation that best fits their abilities and interests. 

Supported Employment and Education

Our Supported Employment and Education (SEE) Specialists assist individuals served by CBFS programs at The Bridge to help them identify and pursue their goals related to education and work.

Supported Employment is an Evidence-Based Practice. Supported Education is a promising practice.  The Bridge is collaborating with researchers at Boston University to gather further evidence in support of the Supported Education model through a pilot study.


The SEE Specialists primary objective is to assist individuals in finding and maintaining competitive employment.  Job searches are based on the individual's employment interests and strengths.

SEE Specialists assist the individuals with:

  • Resume writing and applications
  • Job searches

  • Improving work and interview skills

  • On-the-job coaching

  • Follow-along support at a frequency determined by the individual

Research has identified seven key principles of supported employment that are predictive of improved employment outcomes. These are:

  1. ZERO EXCLUSION -- All individuals who want to participate in Supported Employment are eligible and no one is excluded.
  2. INTEGRATION WITH MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT -- Employment Specialists coordinate plans with the treatment team (counselors, case managers, family members, psychiatrists, etc.). Frequent communication between team members is key. 
  3. SERVICES FOCUS ON COMPETITIVE EMPLOYMENT -- Supported Employment helps individuals obtain competitive, community-based jobs at competitive wages. These are not jobs set aside for people with disabilities.  Individuals receive the same pay and benefits as everyone else who holds those positions.
  4. BENEFITS PLANNING -- Individuals in Supported Employment receive personalized benefit counseling when they are considering employment and while they are working, on an ongoing basis to ensure they have accurate information regarding how employment may impact Social Security and Health Insurance. 
  5. RAPID JOB SEARCH -- Job search begins soon after an individual expresses an interest in working. Lengthy pre-employment assessment, counseling, training and intermediate work experiences are not required. 
  6. TIME-UNLIMITED FOLLOW-ALONG SUPPORTS-- Individualized assistance is provided to maintain employment for as long as needed or desired.
  7. ATTENTION TO INDIVIDUAL PREFERENCES -- Choices and decisions about work, support, and disclosure are based on the individual's interests and preferences.

Supported Education

SEE Specialists work with individuals and with schools to meet the needs of individuals who are in Bridge programs who want to pursue educational goals.

SEE Specialists assist the individuals with:

  • Exploring and selecting an educational program

  • Completing applications and/or enrollment

  • Finding financial aid (including FAFSA) and scholarships

  • College interview preparation

  • Exploring transportation options to and from school

  • Requesting accommodations for disability

  • Follow-along support (communication with teachers, access to tutors, time management assistance, etc.)