DISCOVER Supported Employment & Options
SEO (Supported Employment & Options) in Willimantic and Windham, CT, is about the dignity, responsibility and joy of holding a job and earning a paycheck. We help people find what they like to do, wherever that may take them. We think outside the box and work together with individuals, their families and communities to create opportunities for people to realize their dreams.
Our success stories involve over 100 individuals in community-based jobs throughout Eastern Connecticut.
- Connecticut Children’s Medical Center
- Manchester Memorial Hospital
- Rockville General Hospital
- Little Lights Daycare
- Papa Gino’s
- ArtSpace Windham
- Mystic Aquarium
- Willimantic Food Co-op
- Pride’s Corner Farms
- Stop & Shop
- Big Y
- Ruby Tuesday
- Quality Inn
- Douglas Manor
- St. Joseph’s Living Center
- Willi Lube
- All Pets
- Star Hill Family Athletic Center
- The Naval Submarine Base New London
- Eastern Connecticut State University
- The U.S. Coast Guard Academy
- The University of Connecticut
These and other businesses have found that hiring people with developmental disabilities has many advantages:
- increases staff morale
- diversifies the workplace
- reduces training needs
- creates positive customer response
- results in reliable long-term employees
- helps their bottom line
In addition, SEO helps find employment for students transitioning out of high school and develops creative combinations of community-based routines designed to meet their unique needs and preferences.
SEO began as Supported Employment Services in 1985 to develop work skills and provide employment opportunities for people making the transition from institutions to new homes in nearby towns.
Landscaping and outdoor maintenance jobs provided them with real work and real wages for the first time in their lives.
Since 2011 with the completion of the new Education & Employment Center, SEO has included the Options program, providing opportunities other than employment for the ever-changing needs of adults who are growing older and individuals who have physical or multiple disabilities.
Taking advantage of the Wellness Room and Opportunities Room in its new EEC building along with the many on-campus resources at Horizons, SEO now offers custom-tailored, person-centered transition and teaching supports to an increasing number of individuals with non-vocational needs. Every day at SEO is a chance for them to take part in outdoor group activities and work. For many, Options serves as a launching pad to community employment.
The goals of SEO:
- To help people with disabilities find, maintain, and grow in community-based jobs
- To design or locate jobs based on each person’s strengths, preferences and interests
- To respond to the changing needs of each person in conjunction with changes in the realities of the job market
- To foster a spirit of outreach by forging productive partnerships with employers and establishing positive bonds with the community as a whole
- To provide non-employment-based supports as necessary