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Employment First

What is it?

Employment First is a concept to facilitate the full inclusion of individuals with varying degrees of abilities in the workplace and in the community. Under the Employment First approach, community-based integrated employment is the first and preferred employment service option for youth and adults with significant disabilities.

Support from ODEP through SME TA: 
To advance Employment First, The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) created the Employment First State Leadership Mentor Program (EFSLMP). This program assists states to align policies, regulations and funding priorities to encourage integrated employment as the primary outcome for individuals with significant disabilities. Through the initiative, ODEP is providing support and informational resources for selected states (Tennessee, Iowa and Oregon) that desire systems change reflecting the Employment First approach but have struggled to fully implement it as the primary service delivery system for people with disabilities.

What is integrated employment? 
Integrated employment refers to jobs held by people with disabilities in typical workplace settings where the majority of persons employed are not persons with disabilities, they earn at least minimum wage and they are paid directly by the employer.