What is 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.
Facts and ResourcesEmployment First State Resource List (February 2022)
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.
Who is Working
There are many people with disabilities working in the community. Through the use of innovative, front-line employment support practices, these individuals are earning money, forming networks, and contributing to their communities. Learn about individual success stories from the Real People, Real Jobs project managed by our partners at ThinkWork.
Employment First Activity in Member States
This list is not exhaustive. Please download the resource list for details and additional links.
- Arizona Department of Economic Security Division of Developmental Disabilities: Summary of Arizona efforts on Employment First
- DE Employment First Legislation
- Statement from Delaware Division of Developmental Disabilities Services on Employment First
- OR Legislation: Senate Bill 22, Employment First legislation, effective April 2013
- Employment First Initiative Website
- July 2013 statement from Governor of South Dakota, declaring goal of making South Dakota an Employment First state
- January 2014 South Dakota Employment Works Taskforce Report
- 2011 Legislation (passed): HB 240, enacted in March 2011
- 2012 Legislation (passed): HB 240, enacted in March 2012, as a companion to 2011 legislation
- Utah Employment First website
- December 2012 Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services policy on Employment First