The Early Start to Supported Employment Program
T. Bush 444 days ago


Employment is a goal for nearly every student we service at Howard T. Ennis.  Our program has a focus on developing work skills and job behaviors by having students participate in structured in-school and community based work experiences.  The students receive support from on-staff job coaches. 


In addition to our structured work experiences, the Early Start to Supported Employment (ESSE) is another program students can benefit from.


The ESSE program provides initial and on-going support as dictated by student need in an integrated community work environment.  This employment is paid employment and ESSE students receive a paycheck just as their co-workers do.  This program is provided through the cooperation, support and assistance of the Delaware Department of Education, the Division of Developmental Disability Services (DDDS), the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), families and many adult service providers.  The goal is to provide students, prior to their inevitable exit from school, with a seamless transition to meaningful, real world work experience.  This will help to ensure their continuing employment success.


The selection of an adult service provider is important.  This adult service provider will be conduit through which ESSE services will be provided.  Those adult service providers who offer a full array of supported employment services provide the most success to student transitioning from school into employment.  These supported employment services include;


  • Individual Supported Employment


  • Integrated Community Work (business) Setting


  • Job Coaching


  • Job Development


  • Natural Supports


  • Follow-Along Services


  • Fading


Possible service providers who participate in the ESSE program are discussed with students and their families, and they are assisted in selecting an appropriate provider.


To participate in the program students have to meet some eligibility requirements.  These are:


  1. the student is eligible for DVR and DDDS
  2. the student is within 2 years from their final year of school, and he/she is interested in working and capable of working with supports
  3. the student and family is motivated to include work as a main post-school goal
  4. the student understands that the focus will be on work activities - any extracurricular activities, vacations, etc., may need to be adjusted
  5. the student displays good work habits, which may include previous successful school related jobs and community based work experiences


For more information concerning ESSE contact your school's Transition Specialist or your Family Support Specialist.


New Castle County

(302) 836-2100


Kent County

(302) 744-1110


Sussex County

(302) 933-3100


Day/Transition Team DDDS

New Castle County

2540 Wrangle Hill Road

Bear, DE  19701

Katie Howe

(302) 836-2185

Mary Carol Beard

(302) 836-2194


Day/Transition Team DDDS

Kent/Sussex County

26351 Patriots Way

Georgetown, DE  19947

Sharon Ralph

(302) 933-3152

Shelley Neall

(302) 741-9353