University of Washington Employment Program

The University of Washington Employment Program (UWEP) provides a wide variety of community based services for individuals who have a developmental, or other, disability, and are looking for work. Some of these services include: functional assessments on actual work sites, job development and matching, on the job training, and long-term follow up.

The specific services and the degree of support provided are tailored to the unique needs of each client. Clients are encouraged to directly participate in all aspects of decision making, from planning to implementation.

What's New?

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  • Happy National Assistive Technology Awareness Day!

    Earlier this month, the United States Senate unanimously adopted a resolution declaring today National Assistive Technology Awareness Day. The resolution noted that "assistive technology devices and services are not luxury items but necessities for millions of people with disabilities and older adults, without which they would be unable to live in their communities, access education, and obtain, retain, and advance gainful, competitive integrated employment,"

    ACL is proud to fund Assistive Technology Act programs in every state and territory that help older adults and people with disabilities discover, try, reutilize, and finance assistive technology. In FY18:

    • Over 72,000 individuals participated in assistive technology device demonstrations to find the right device for their community living needs.
    • Nearly 50,000 AT devices were provided on short-term loan to individuals with disabilities, service providers, and agencies.
    • More than 70,000 AT devices were reutilized, allowing consumers to save more than $28 million by obtaining a lightly used or refurbished AT device.
    • 96% percent of consumers who received financing loans from an AT program said they would not be able to purchase or obtain the AT without this financing.

  • Report it to Stop it

    Sexual misconduct is OFF-LIMITS on Metro Buses, Access Paratransit, and Rideshare Services. King County Metro is working with advocates and law enforcement on a campaign to increase awareness, encourage reporting, support victims and reduce misconduct. Report bad behavior such as indecent exposure, lewd behavior, unwanted touching, harassment or unwanted comments. To learn more about reporting bad behavior on METRO, please click Report it to Stop it.

    Metro Buses:

    • Tell your Drive
    • Call Metro Transit Police: 206-296-3311
    • Call 9-1-1

    ACCESS Paratransit:

    • Call Access: 206-205-5000
    • Call 9-1-1

    Rideshare Services:

    • Call Rideshare Customer Service: 206-625-4500
    • Call 9-1-1
  • UWEP is pleased to announce that it has again been awarded the highest level of accreditation offered by the Center on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

    A Three Year CARF accreditation is a point of pride for the UW Employment Program. It recognizes this organization’s dedication and commitment to improving the quality of lives of persons served with dignity and respect. CARF notes that UWEP provides comprehensive, participant centered community employment services, that are highly valued by program participants, other stakeholders, and the community at large. UWEP continues its ongoing commitment to quality improvement in providing the very best in fully integrated supported employment services.

    Congratulations to the program’s clients, to the employers who believe in and benefit from their abilities, and to the UWEP team. Thank you all for making this such an ongoing success.

    To learn more about CARF International, the services it offers and the criteria for accreditation, please go to

    CARF Seal of Accreditation

  • UW Employment Program is pleased to count Community Fitness as one of the businesses that recognize and value individuals like Morgan and her contribution to our community. We are very proud of Morgan and would like to share her story with you. Please click here.

  • Understanding Respite Care

    Respite is a break for parents and primary caregivers so they may get relief from the responsibilities of providing care to their loved one with a disability. To learn more about Respite Care and the ARC of King County, please click here.

  • Seattle is excited to host the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games (June 30 – July 6) and the University of Washington is proud to serve as a primary venue. The UW campus will be the site for the opening ceremony, athletic competitions, presentations, entertainment and more.

    2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Special Olympics Games, which were held at Soldier’s Field in Chicago in July 1968. Athletes from all 50 states will showcase their abilities and boldly demonstrate the power, joy and fellowship of the Special Olympics movement.

  • Ting joined the UW Employment Program in 1999 and within two months, he was hired by the King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention. 17 years later, Ting continues to provide his employer his very best, including a strong work ethic and positive attitude. Ting is very much appreciated by his coworkers and supervisors as you will see in this short video from the KC Employee News Letter.

  • The city of Seattle takes a lot of pride in the great lengths it goes to be "inclusive." that means to make sure that every voice and walk of life in the community is somehow, some way reflected in city government itself. There's one program most of us have never heard of -- and yet every year, it wins awards for how well it works. And "work" is the key word here. To learn more about the City of Seattle Supported Employment program, and learn how UW Employment Program client Todd contributes as a City of Seattle employee, please view this CityStreams Segment.

  • The Campaign for Disability Employment

    What can you do? The Campaign for Disability Employment

    The Campaign for Disability Employment offers employers tools and discussion guides to facilitate staff training and education efforts around the issues of disability employment and workforce diversity. The campaign also has lots of information for families, youth, and individuals with disabilities. These materials include videos and posters in English and Spanish.

  • Todd at Work: Seattle City Light

    The city of Seattle takes a lot of pride in the great lengths it goes to be "inclusive." that means to make sure that every voice and walk of life in the community is somehow, some way reflected in city government itself. There's one program most of us have never heard of -- and yet every year, it wins awards for how well it works. And "work" is the key word here. Producer Jeff Gentes has more on the Supported Employment program.

    See more details here.

  • A New Resource for Employers

    Recruiting, Hiring, Retaining, and Promoting People with Disabilities, just released by The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the White House, compiles key federal and federally-funded resources related to the employment of people with disabilities, providing employers with plain language technical assistance tools in an easy-to-use question-and-answer format.

  • CARF Seal of Accreditation

    On January 15, 2015, The UW Employment Program was once again awarded the highest level of accreditation provided by CARF International CARF noted that persons served and employers expressed a high degree of satisfaction with the way that the program meets their individual needs. Congratulations to our Clients, Employers and the UWEP team.

  • On December 16, 2014, the U.S. Senate passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014. The ABLE Act would ease the financial burden for individuals with disabilities and their families by creating tax-free accounts that can be used to save for disability-related expenses. These accounts can be created by individuals to support themselves or by families to support their dependents. The bill would create tax-exempt, state-based private savings accounts to fund disability-related expenses to supplement benefits currently provided by Social Security, Medicaid, employers, and private insurance. President Obama has already promised to sign the Act into law.

    ABLE accounts should become available before the end of 2015. An overview about ABLE Accounts: 10 Things You Must Know, as presented by the National Down Syndrome Society, is available at:

  • A Borrowing Library of Technology

    “We wouldn’t have known about the correct device without the variety that WATAP had available,” Howe said during an interview. Kurt Johnson, Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine and Director of the CTDS explained, “We give people the opportunity to make informed choices about technology.” Through hands-on guidance by experienced assistive technology specialists, consumers receive demonstrations of product features that will help accomplish tasks at school, work, home, and in the community. This free service is offered by appointment by calling 1-800-214-8731. The WATAP website provides a category list of available devices for individuals to explore.

  • Do you have questions about guardianship? Visit the Arc of Washington State’s website at for answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Guardianship.

  • TN at City Light

    The City of Seattle has won the 2014 National Employer of the Year from the Association of People Supporting EmploymentFirst (APSE). The award went to the city’s Supported Employment program, which assists employees with disabilities to find and keep good jobs with the city.

    The award recognizes a large employer who is considered to be the “best of the best in the nation” in best practices for inclusion and hiring of people with developmental disabilities. We also took home the “Best Picture” award this year for the image above, featuring City Light supported employees Todd Newcombe, TJ Maciel and Scott Richter.

    The city’s program has seen a bumper crop of awards in the past 12 months, including:

    - The first-of-its-kind “Jobs Change Lives” award from Seattle Central Community College in partnership with Mainstay.

    - The Governor’s Employer of the Year award from the Governor’s Committee on Disability and Employment Issues.

    - Outstanding Employer of the Year award from the Community Employment Alliance.

  • Informing Families, Building Trust Logo

    Informing Families, Building Trust is a web based resource rich in information for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Visit this website for information about:

    • Applying for DD services
    • Getting mental health services
    • Learning advocacy skills
    • Conference and event news
  • The University of Washington Employment Program (UWEP) congratulates Paul H. as he begins to enjoy a well-earned retirement.

    In 1999, Paul, with assistance from his Employment Specialists at UWEP, started working for two employers simultaneously. At the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), Paul assisted case workers by assembling informational packets, handling mailroom duties, refilling printers & copiers with paper and so much more. Sorting mail, maintaining the cleanliness of the break room & kitchen, making copies and collating promotional materials were just a few of the many different tasks Paul performed during his employment at the Washington Initiative for Supported Employment (WISE). Paul is well respected and liked by both employers for his excellent work, cheery demeanor and welcoming smile. Once again, congratulations Paul! We are honored to have had the opportunity to work with you during your 24+ years of employment.
  • How Does Washington State Help Workers With Developmental Disabilities?

    Washington State’s Developmental Disabilities Administration helps people with disabilities like autism, cerebral palsy and down syndrome find work. The DDA serves nearly 9,000 adults over the age of 21. Ross Reynolds interviews Dr. Pat Brown, director of the University of Washington’s employment program. Ross also talks with Doug Wilson, a sales manager at Copiers Northwest, who employs people with developmental disabilities and Shawn Christensen, a man with cerebral palsy who works at Regal Cinemas in Renton.
  • Social Security Announces New Online Services Available with a my Social Security Account

    "Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, today announced the agency is expanding the services available with a my Social Security account, a personalized online account that people can use beginning in their working years and continuing throughout the time they receive Social Security benefits. More than 60 million Social Security beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients can now access their benefit verification letter, payment history, and earnings record instantly using their online account."

    Social Security beneficiaries can also change their address and start or change direct deposit information online. People age 18 and older can sign up for an account at Once there, they must be able to provide information about themselves and answers to questions that only they are likely to know. After completing the secure verification process, people can create a my Social Security account with a unique user name and password to access their information.

    The full press release is available online at:
  • Self-Advocacy Online Helps People with I/DD Take Charge

    The Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC) at the University of Minnesota and the Arc have partnered to support an innovative website specifically for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) to help them advocate for themselves and take charge of their lives. Self-Advocacy Online is a content rich, accessible online educational and networking tool, including a story wall of videos of self-advocates sharing their stories and multi-media lessons on a variety of topics.

    To learn more, visit
  • Social Security’s 2014 Red Book is now available online in English and Spanish

    2014 Red Book

    The Red Book serves as a general reference source about the employment-related provisions of Social Security Disability Insurance and the Supplemental Security Income Programs. Changes in 2014 include:

    • Increase in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) amount for individuals with disabilities, other than blindness, from $1,040 to $1,070
    • The monthly earnings amount used to determine if a month counts for the Trial Work Period month is now $770 per month
    • Increase in Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Federal Benefit Rates (FBR) from $710 to $721 per month
  • Featured Employer: The City of Seattle

    Watch this short video about the City of Seattle’s supported employment program, featuring Todd Newcombe. Way to go, Todd!
  • Leading Practices On Disability Inclusion

    Leading Practices On Disability Inclusion

    The US Chamber of Commerce and the US Business Leadership Network invited business leaders to share their successful disability inclusion strategies and from that initiative developed "Leading Practices on Disability Inclusion". This publication highlights real-life successful strategies that can be used by businesses of all sizes to create a more inclusive workplace, marketplace, and supply chain.

    Download your free copy from
  • Family Care Navigator - State-By-State Help For Family Caregivers

    Family Care Navigator

    If you are providing care to an aging family member or friend who may have a disability, the Family Care Navigator website can help you find government, nonprofit and private programs in Washington state and nationally that can assist you. Simply select Washington state on the map or scroll through the list of states located at the bottom of the page. This website also includes information on government health and disability programs, legal resources, disability-specific organizations and more.

    For more information go to: