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Supported Employment

Looking for Work? We Can Help!

The Tillamook Family Counseling Center Supported Employment Program!

Person working in lumber yard

Supported Employment Services

Supported employment is a service that helps individuals currently receiving mental health services to find and maintain meaningful jobs in the community. The jobs are competitive (paying at least minimum wage) and are based on a person’s preferences and abilities.


What types of jobs can the Employment Specialist help me find?

The Employment Specialist will work with you to determine the type of job YOU want!

  • Data Entry
  • Clerical
  • Janitorial
  • Stock
  • Cashier
  • Retail and many more…


How does the program work?

  • For most of us, work is part of our identity. When we feel good about having a job, we often see ourselves in a more positive way. Work provides structure and routine. Job income gives us more choices about what to buy, where to live, and gives us a chance to build savings.
  • Supported Employment starts with you. You let your treatment team know whether or not you want to work, and you will be given the supports and services to help you make your career goals a possibility.


Is supported employment an ongoing services?

Yes, the service is ongoing. When you are hired, an employment specialist will continue to provide support and services. Employment specialists are available to:

  • Help you plan your career.
  • Identify factors that could stand in your way and develop solutions.
  • Help you succeed after you have obtained a job.
  1. Eligibility is based on consumer choice. No one is excluded who wants to participate.

  2. Supported employment is integrated with treatment. Employment specialists coordinate plans with your treatment team: your case manager, therapist, psychiatrist, etc.

  3. Competitive employment is the goal. The focus is on finding community jobs anyone can apply for that pay at least minimum wage, including part-time and full-time jobs.

  4. Job search starts soon after a consumer expresses interest in working. There are no requirements for completing extensive pre-employment assessment and training, or intermediate work experiences.

  5. Follow-along supports are continuous. Individualized supports to maintain employment continue as long as consumers want the assistance.

  6. Consumer preferences are important. Choice and decisions about work and support are individualized, based on the person’s preferences, strengths, and experiences.

  7. Employment specialists help clients obtain personalized, understandable, and accurate information about their Social Security, Medicaid, and other benefits.

Supported Employment Program Supervisor

Karolin Lopera
503.842.8201 – Agency Number

Success Stories

I want people to know my story because I hope it can help someone else. Before working with supported employment program, I wasn’t making it to the end of the month financially. I was also bored staying at home while my daughter was at school. I spent time alone and I think that made me feel even worse about myself. I had been without a job for a few years but I came to a point where I knew something had to change.

I met with my counselor and we discussed supported employment program and met with the supported employment specialist. When meeting her at first I thought she was going to tell me it was going to be hard for her to help me find work. I had recently been charged with a crime. To my surprise she didn’t flinch at my criminal past but rather worked with me to explain the circumstances. In doing this process, I became more confident in the things I could offer to an employer.

I remember meeting with my supported employment specialist who talked to me about going to meet with an employer. I told her I was super nervous and didn’t think I could do it. My supported employment specialist called the person who was going to interview me to ask if she could be in the room with me. I was shocked that they said yes! I was so happy that I could have my supported employment specialist in the room to explain my limitations to the interviewer. I got the job!

I started the job as a part time dishwasher but now I am working as the cook. In this town if you having experience in cooking you will always have a job. I also love the place I would for I couldn’t ask for a better supervisor that works with me around my appointments and daughter’s needs.

The best part is how proud my daughter is of me for going to work and having a job. What I would say to anyone thinking about the program is

go for it!
Before I started supported employment I was homeless and had little hope for the future. I was very concerned about my recent criminal charges. I didn’t know how to start to get a job. I felt bad that I didn’t have a job because I wanted to be part of the working people. However, I didn’t know how and I didn’t have the resources. Then I heard about Supported Employment through my mental health therapist. I then discussed being interested in learning more about the program. Supported employment helped me be able to explain my criminal background and helped me recognize my strength. I feel that Supported Employment helped me look at things from a positive perspective because we focused on my strengths. We worked on a resume and interview skills. It took a while to find a job. I went on a lot of interviews and filled out a lot of applications. There were some days that I felt like I was never going to find a job but my supported employment specialist was my biggest cheerleader. The goal of getting a job kept me going. My job is dishwashing in Tillamook has really helped me feel better about myself. Since going to work I have noticed I am happier because I feel that I am part of society and contributing to the community. It’s what keeps me going knowing that I am being productive. What I like most about my job is the people I work with and regular customers. It makes me feel like I’m more a part of a team and have created a social network with my coworkers. The second best part of my job is pay day because it allowed me to move into stable housing. I wouldn’t have been able to that without being employed. When thinking about what is next for me, I plan to stay with the job I have and I am planning on getting my license to serve alcohol. My supported employment specialist is going to help me study for the liquor license. My boss recently asked if I would be interested in learning waitressing skills once a week to start out. I am looking forward to learning new skills. My supported employment specialist is going to help me study for the liquor license. I would want people to know about the supported employment program because I think others could benefit from the program.
Julia was one of the first clients to work with the supported employment program. She came in very discouraged and desperate for a job. She had student loans to pay back, was struggling with relationship issues, and had language barriers because she was from another country. Julia had many skills, but her lack of self-esteem interfered with her ability to find work. After completing her assessment to help decide what kind of work she would like to do and determine what her strengths were, Julia was able to identify several employers that matched her employment goals. When she was able to begin to see that she did indeed have something to offer an employer, Julia began to feel better about herself. Once she was able to see how she could be an asset to an employer, Julia was able to find a job working at a local motel as a housekeeper. After a short while there, she had proven herself to the employer and she was given a raise. Even though housekeeper jobs tend to be seasonal, Julia’s employers valued her so much that they kept her on part time throughout the winter months. She also met another employer while working at her first job that offered her part time work at HER motel. When Julia came in to be interviewed for this article, she didn’t look like the same person. She carried her head high, spoke from her heart, and stated that she felt good about herself and what she was able to contribute to her family. Even though she had many barriers to overcome, Julia didn’t give up. She ultimately found the exact job she was searching for. Great job, Julia!
I have always struggled with employment. I have even been homeless and done with very little food. Prior to being a part of supported employmet program I never left a job ok good terms. I had the habit of just walking off or stop showing up to work. I never had anyone show or teach me how to leave a job on good circumstances and this led to not having any work references. Since being part of the program I have kept a job for over a year and just left the job for a better one! My supported employment specialist taught me how to talk to my employer and leave the job with a good work reference. Since, being in the program I have been taking my medications regularly and it’s been working better then taking them for a while and then quitting. My supported employment specialists always ask if I am taking my medications so I find it easier to just take them then her coming to find me with the nurse. I feel much more independent now and confident in myself after keeping a job for over a year. I feel that the program taught me skills that will continue to help me an ex. I learned how to nail an interview.
I wasn’t really sure about supported employment when my therapist was talking to me about it. I knew that I wanted to work but wasn’t sure if the program was going to work for me. I thought I would go on ahead and give it a try and then quit if I didn’t like it. To my surprise it was a food program it allowed me to grow and build skills I needed for finding work. I was able to learn to interview really well and feel that prior to the program, my confidence going to an interview was low. I have come a long way because I look forward to interviews I feel that it’s my strength. I was able to interview and get the job that I wanted with the hours that I needed to fit with my life style. I am thankful for support while working too because Covid-19 was a challenging time and I needed the extra support while working. If I could give advice to someone thinking about joining the program, I would say do it. You’re going to get so much more than just a job out of the program you’re going to get independence and confidence.