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.
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!
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SELN Factsheet [PDF]
SELN's Elements for a Higher-Performing Employment System [PDF]
2014-2015 SELN Accomplishments Report [PDF] Low-ink version [PDF]
Employment: How We Measure Success [PDF]
Social Security Brief Socual Security Benefits and Employment: What's New for 2016? [PDF]
SELN Funding Statement: An Essential Strategy to Support Integrated Employment [PDF]
Earnings, Benefits, and Supporting Decisions About Work [PDF]
2013-2014 SELN Accomplishment Report [PDF] low ink version
2012-2013 SELN Accomplishments Report [PDF] low ink version
More SELN resources