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Inclusive Workforce through Supported Employment

What is an Inclusive Workforce?

Inclusive workforce is a working environment that values individuals and harnesses the abilities of each individual, which enable a company to embrace different backgrounds and perspectives. Building an inclusive workplace is a major facet of the modern workforce. Inclusive workforce includes minority groups and under-served populations; providing opportunity for them to be represented in the workforce. Employers strive for diversity because an inclusive workforce drives innovation. Race, ethnicity, and sex are common factors in diversity initiatives, but it is also important to consider sexual orientation, gender identity, age, and disability when striving toward inclusion. As employers strive toward full inclusion in the workplace, they should incorporate a comprehensive definition of diversity that applies to all hiring practices.

Benefits of inclusive workforce include:

  • Increases talent selection
  • Increases customer base
  • Drives innovation
  • Fosters creativity
  • Increases contributions
  • Builds community
  • Provides value
  • Guides business strategies

Each of these have been shown to increase staff morale, unlocks innovation and drives market growth. Companies that embrace diversity have been showing to out-innovate and out-perform other companies that have not embraced an inclusive workforce, according to Harvard Business (December 2013 issue).

When leaders embrace differences, all employees benefit from compelling ideas. Inclusion establishes a culture in which all employees can benefit from the following:

  • Culture where all employees feel free to contribute ideas,
  • Making it safe to propose novel ideas,
  • Value driven feedback from different perspectives.

According to Harvard Business studies, employees in a diverse work culture are 3.5 times more likely to contribute their full innovative potential. Inclusion is the best way to provide value to any organization. Inclusive employer is a business who values a diverse workforce, including people with disabilities.

Inclusion Drives Innovation!

What is Supported Employment?

Supported employment is for persons

  • Who have disabilities,
  • Who need ongoing job support or coaching,
  • Whose work has been interrupted or intermittent due to their disabilities.

Supported employment provides ongoing individualized support services that enable them to work a job and become successful members of the workforce. Supported employment gives individuals with barriers to employment opportunities to work side-by-side with co-workers and experience the same benefits as other employees.

Supported employment refers to helping to tailor tasks to the individuals strengths, facilitates learning, and assists the individual to work toward independently carrying out a chosen job. It applies on-site training in real-life jobs in their communities.

An employment consultant will work with the individual to identify their strengths, find areas of interest and help individuals with disabilities expand skills and experience that will help propel them into their chosen career field. This can often be accomplished with vocational assessments, training, and coaching that can serve as a springboard to independent competitive employment. Employment consultants will provide ongoing support to ensure that employer and employee needs are met.

Job coaching provides the opportunity for individuals to:

  • Learn the job,
  • Help with onboarding/training,
  • Ensure that performance standards are consistently met,
  • Ensure safety.

Supported employment is an evidence-based practice that has displayed positive results for businesses. Trillium began supported employment in 1983 and has had numerous success in job placements throughout King, Pierce, Kitsap and Clark Counties. Researchers across the country have collected far-reaching statistics over the past 15 years that prove the approach has a demonstrated effect in improving outcomes for people with disabilities.

Employer Survey Report 2020


  • 100% of the businesses reported they would recommend our recruiting and training services to another business.
  • 88% agree that hiring a supported employee has benefited their teams and supported diversity in the workplace.
  • 79% value “ongoing support”
  • 66.6% value “training support.”

> Download the 2020 Employer Survey Report [PDF]