More Than a Job

At JF&CS, we are known for our best-in-class support for adults with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Services (IDDS). One way we do this is through our Supported Employment Program, which matches our clients to employers. The matches are mutually beneficial, leading to greater quality of life and confidence for our clients and providing employers with dependable, dedicated employees.

“Supported Employment is not just about ‘getting a job,’” said Lillian Gibson, M.R.C., Director of the Supported Employment Program. “I want our clients to have quality work that they’re going to grow into and sustain over the years. I want them to thrive and enjoy their career, while being respected and valued in what they can do; it’s so much more than just job placement.”

Imani is a client who works at Jewish HomeLife. She’s thriving in her work setting and enjoys the camaraderie she’s developed with her coworkers. “I love working side-by-side with my amazing team,” she says. “They make my day fun!” Imani is very proud to say her career has allowed her to earn a salary. She feels supported by her job coach and enjoys every moment of her growing independence.

Lillian’s “Why”

Lillian finds great fulfilment in her position, largely because it is so personal to her. “My youngest brother, Clarence, has an intellectual disability,” she said, “and I saw my parents struggle for years in trying to obtain services to support him. Thirty-five years ago, I got my bachelor’s degree in human services, started a job at a nonprofit and learned about the world of Intellectual Developmental Disability (IDD). This connected me with the opportunity to learn and support this population. I have been committed to helping people like my brother ever since.”

Lillian recently took her education a step further, earning her master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling.

“This work is so gratifying for me,” she added. “The clients have a real sense of gratitude too, and I feel so fortunate to have been successful in making a difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities. This work that I do is my “happy place.”

And as for Clarence? “I was able to help him get a job,” she smiles. “He has been there ten years now and keeps moving up and advancing. He might run the place one day!”

Supported Employment Now, and Moving Forward

Since Lillian stepped into the Director role in July 2023, the Supported Employment program has grown to new levels. Internal processes have been streamlined, an excellent support team is now in place, and weekly on-the-job site visits are now standard for all clients. Thanks to these positive changes, clientele has increased over the past year and JF&CS is now receiving applications from across Metro Atlanta.

In January, the team launched monthly Supported Employment Workshops, covering topics like soft skills, Self Managment, self-advocacy and effective communication. Sessions are streamed live and recorded and have been well-received by clients.

The team has also been working in the community, meeting with potential employers and community leaders to educate them about supported employment opportunities. There was a luncheon on February 26 which welcomed business owners into JF&CS headquarters to provide more education and networking.

In September, the pilot program ‘Skills 4 Success’ will launch. The Supported Employment team is writing the curriculum for the program, which is supported by a grant from the Jewish Abilities Alliance. Skills 4 Success will be an intensive course that will train clients and prepare them for the workforce, to be offered twice a year.

“There is always a way to enhance your career,” stresses Lillian. “If you don’t have a resume, build one. If you don’t have work experience for the resume, volunteer and then add that experience. Create and identify a list of your skills sets that will contribute to employers' business. My commitment is to help individuals identify their gifts and talent and integrate them into the community by working in a career of their choice.

Coming up, the team has some big goals for the program. Servicing more clients is a top goal, as well as implementing a variety of workshops that will educate clients to develop new skills. In the community, there are plans to partner with a wider variety of employers to increase the job sites available to clients, including the educational system, teaching roles, technology, hospitality, retail and working in the health field.

“Even today, people with disabilities don’t always know what options are available to them,” concludes Lillian. “My aim is to educate and share this information with clients and their families so they can be aware of the opportunities. This approach will impact and transform lives in our community.”

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more updates on Skills 4 Success, and to learn more about our Supported Employment Program, reach out to Lillian Gibson at or 770.677.9359