Supported and Self Employment

Supported Employment:

Supported Employment consists of both Job Finding and Job Coaching. Job finding supports individuals in finding competitive employment opportunities within in the community. This includes: searching for employment opportunities, applying for employment, completing employment applications, practicing interviewing skills, attending employment interviews, and forming and maintaining a personal resume.

Once employment is found, Job Coaching supports the individual in learning and maintaining the job duties affiliated with his/her employment as expected by the employer. The ultimate goal (if possible) is for the individual to maintain their employment independently. If this is not a foreseeable outcome, then job coaching may possibly continue long-term.

Brandon is a diligent and hard-working employee as part of the WLS Supported Employment Program.

Brandon is a diligent and hard-working employee as part of the WLS Supported Employment Program.

Self Employment:

Competitive Employment in the community is supported by the state of Pennsylvania’s Office of Developmental Programs. Working a real job for minimum wage or better is the ideal outcome for the individuals supported by Whole Life Services Inc. Our staff have experienced that supporting individuals in attaining this outcome can be difficult. Some of the barriers we encounter when working to find employment for the people we serve include:

  • Individuals and family are concerned with how the income the person will receive will affect their Social Security amount.
  • Individuals may experience difficulty with transportation after job coaching fades.
  • Employers are reluctant to hire the people we serve.
  • The economy, and unemployment has resulted in citizens being willing to take jobs that may have previously been available to the people we serve.

These issues seem to be more prevalent in small counties and rural areas than in
larger, urban areas where there is more public transportation and employers seem to
be more willing to hire. Whole Life Services Inc. works to overcome these barriers by
developing Self Employment Opportunities for the people we serve. When a person is
self employed they can control their income. You are your own boss, so you have more
freedom to develop a schedule conducive to your needs. You can channel your energy
into doing things of which you are passionate, and for which you have the necessary
skills. Some examples of small business ventures that are being implemented include: Studio-C, Whole Lott’a Tees, Sweets, “Pretzel Pals”, “Menzies’ Munchies”, and the WLS  (Please see our: “Creative Opportunities” page for more information on these endeavors). 

Individuals interested in food service employment will have the opportunity to learn menu and meal planning, food safety, food preperation, and serving. Purchasing, budgeting, operating a cash register and clean -up are also skills that may be worked on. Gaining these abilities may lead to a greater outcome such as competitive employment in some aspect of food service, or living independently in the community.

“Good design is good business.” – Thomas Watson, IBM

The specialty chocolate and t-shirt business designs satisfy a small serving of our community’s cravings for Competitive Employment and is feeding our hunger to achieve the minimum wage or better ideal outcome for the individuals supported by Whole Life Services Inc.

Self employment  is available in the food service area at Whole Life. We support individuals in their own micro enterprise. Items are purchased, stocked, and inventoried with the intent of selling at the snack counter. These items may include: pop, water, chips, crackers, and baked goods. These small business ventures also result in developing practical skills that lend themselves to greater outcomes.


Self employment is something you create for yourself, with the support of the agency’s
Direct Support Professionals. They, and your Program Manager will work with you to
achieve your desired dreams and outcomes. They may be small and easily achieved,
or they may require hard work. We can give you information that you, and your family,
may use to assist you in taking your dreams further if you choose.