Document Type

Occasional Paper

Publication Date

Fall 10-10-2018


Employment First, integrated employment, disabilities, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, ThinkWork


Disability Law | Psychology | Rehabilitation and Therapy | Sociology


For more than a decade, many states have been developing policies that prioritize integrated employment as the first choice and preferred outcome for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD). Collectively, these actions have been united under the framework of Employment First, a commitment by states and state IDD agencies to the propositions that all individuals with IDD (a) are capable of performing work in typical integrated employment settings, (b) should receive as a matter of state policy employment-related services and supports as a priority over other facility-based and non-work day services, and (c) should be paid at minimum or prevailing wage rates2, 3. Each state has determined the priorities and scope of its Employment First policy. As states undergo implementation, it is important to understand how state agencies have built employment knowledge and capacity, and how state-level actions contribute to the success of both state and federal employment efforts.



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