Job Seekers


A job and paycheck provide a sense of purpose, fulfillment and responsibility.

Abilities at Work believes strongly in the purpose, fulfillment, and personal responsibility that comes with having a job and earning a paycheck. It is our mission to help adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities achieve their vocational goals, and we provide person-centered services every step of the way.


Discovery is a process that occurs prior to Job Development and aims to “discover” who a person is and determine the elements that are crucial to their employment success. The Discovery process is carried out by an Abilities at Work Employment Specialist who will:

(a) Interview the individual and key members of their community;

(b) Observe the individual in their community settings and activities; and

(c) Accompany the individual on planned community-based outings, such as informational interviews, job-shadow sessions, and strengths-based assessments.

The Employment Specialist thoroughly documents the process in the individual’s Discovery Profile, which is later utilized as the foundation for employment planning and Job Development. For further information, please view this informational video which is provided by State of Oregon Supported Employment

Job Development

Abilities at Work contracts with Oregon DHS Vocational Rehabilitation to provide person-centered Job Development based on the interests, skills, availability, and location of each motivated job seeker. We start by reviewing the job seeker’s Discovery Profile (if available) and interviewing the job seeker and/or their family to gather and evaluate job goals, skills, interests, strengths, work experience, transportation needs, medical issues, and other key factors.

An Employment Specialist will then work with the job seeker toward obtaining suitable employment through forming a partnership with a local employer. If the individual and the employer agree there is a match, then Job Development concludes and Job Coaching begins.

Job Coaching

Abilities at Work Employment Specialists work closely with individuals and their employers toward understanding workplace policies and procedures, wages and benefits, pay schedule, dress code, break/lunch routines, transportation routes, and work hours.

We are quick to adapt training methods and assistive technologies to help ensure individuals are successful in learning tasks, gaining independence, and using appropriate social skills. Job

Coaching looks different for everyone we serve, but our objective is always to empower individuals toward independent job stability and fade into Long-Term Job Support services.

Long-Term Support

We maintain a close working relationship with the supervisors and coworkers at our individuals’ work sites. Abilities at Work believes this is imperative to promote honest feedback and to anticipate obstacles to success. Employment Specialists provide ongoing person-centered support and monitor work sites on an individualized frequency, intervening to assist with performance issues or advancement opportunities as needed.

Volunteer Opportunities

Abilities at Work partners with several Portland metro area organizations to provide adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities the opportunity to learn new skills and give back to their community through volunteering. Please visit our Community Partners webpage for further information.