“Supported Employment” – A Competitive Employment Program for People with Disabilities – Evaluation Study

“Supported Employment” is a program developed by the Employment Rehabilitation Service of the Division of Rehabilitation at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services. The goal of the program is to assist people with disabilities to integrate into competitive employment. Social workers from local Social Service Departments (SSDs) identify suitable candidates and refer them to service providers who offer participants varied support services. These include preparation for work, help in finding a job and adjusting to it, and ongoing individual support at work.

The goal of the evaluation study was to examine the implementation and outcomes of the program in order to assist with its development. The study examined the suitability of the service to the needs and abilities of the participants, the inputs of the program, its organizational structure and supervision, the outcomes, particularly in the area of employment, and the satisfaction of participants. The study was based on interviews with 104 participants at the time of entering the program, 72 of them were interviewed again some 18 months later. In addition, interviews were held with the program directors and supervisors, with SSD social workers and service providers.


  •  At the beginning of the program many of the participants had substantial financial difficulties, including difficulty in meeting basic needs such as food and housing.
  • Before joining the program participants were loosely connected to the employment market. For example, 54% of those interviewed had not worked for more than six months at the same job.
  • Fifty-three percent of those interviewed reported that a personal support worker had helped them find a job and adjust to it; 69% of them reported satisfaction with the assistance of the support worker.
  • Eighteen percent of the participants reported that they had not been referred to a service provider, and 29% were referred to a service provider but had not been assigned an individual support worker.
  • Outcomes: A year and a half after joining the program, 49% of those who were referred to a service provider were then working at competitive jobs, and another 15% had worked part of the time since joining; 36%  had not worked in competitive employment since joining the program.
  • Forty-five percent of the participants who had been employed since joining the program worked full-time and 55% part-time. The average length of employment was 10 months.
  • Fifty-eight percent of those interviewed reported that the tools they had acquired in the program had contributed to their finding work and being hired, and 67% reported that the program had promoted their successful integration at the workplace.
  • The findings yielded many issues for consideration about the continued development of the program and how it should be disseminated. For example, the study highlighted the need to increase supervision of the service providers, and to consider more active steps to enlist participants who are currently working in sheltered employment but have the potential for competitive employment.

The findings were discussed by the steering committee and other forums. On the basis of the findings, steps were taken to improve the program. Currently, a new tender for service providers is about to be issued, which reflects the insights brought to light by this study.

Citing suggestion: Keren-Abraham, Y., & Rivkin, D. (2016). “Supported Employment” – A Competitive Employment Program for People with Disabilities – Evaluation Study. RR-729-16. Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute. (Hebrew)