Employment First

Employment First is a state-level approach to disability services. It means that employment is considered the option of choice for citizens with disabilities, rather than placement in a sheltered workshop, a day habilitation program, or another segregated or non-inclusive setting.

States with an Employment First policy offer employment services to people with disabilities, and only look at other options in the event that the person or their guardian does not wish integrated employment to happen.

Employment First efforts have been identified in all SELN member states.


E-news Update

New Think College data on post-secondary education programs
In July 2015, the Think College National Coordinating Center at the Institute for Community Inclusion released the 2014 Transition Postsecondary Education Programs for Students with Intellectual Disability (TPSID) annual report.  Learn more. 

Past SELN Updates


Map of SELN member states

Why Does Community Employment Matter?

“I feel more independent now that I’m making my own money." -Jared


Our core belief about employment is that everyone has the right to, and can, work in the community, regardless of disability type and severity.

We all want jobs where our skills and strengths are recognized and valued. We work to earn money, connect with others, and build a life we desire. Why should people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) be any different?

When we talk about employment, we mean a person with IDD working at an individual job in a local business, earning the prevailing wage for that position or industry, alongside peers without disabilities.

Research shows that many individuals with disabilities want to work in their community. And many do!

Jared is a full-time benefited employee at a cable assembly plant.