Skip to main content

Not-to-Be-Missed New Resources on Implementing Employment First

December 15, 2015

The Office of Disability Employment Policy and the LEAD Center are pleased to have released three Employment First Technical Briefs that are “must-reads” for anyone working to implement Employment First in their state, region or agency.

Technical Brief #1: Connecting the Dots: Using Federal Policy to Promote Employment First Systems-Change Efforts, provides a robust summary and overview of public policy, regulations, rules and other federal administrative guidance that support state efforts to prioritize competitive, integrated employment as the preferred outcome of publicly-financed services for youth and adults with disabilities. The information is organized into four categories: Effective School-to-Work Transition, Utilizing Workforce Development Programs, Engaging Employers and Federal Contractors, and Ensuring Successful Long-Term Supports that Incentivize Work. 

Technical Brief #2: Federal Legal Framework that Supports Competitive, Integrated Employment Outcomes of Youth and Adults with Significant Disabilities, highlights various legal actions taken by Federal enforcement agencies that have significant implications for how states prioritize and deliver services for individuals with disabilities. These actions relate to the organization, financing, and provision of employment and long-term services and supports consistent with an Employment First framework, and reinforce the principle that competitive, integrated employment is a critical component for citizens with disabilities in developing a full and meaningful life in the community.

Technical Brief #3: Criteria for Performance Excellence in Employment First State Systems Change & Provider Transformation provides guidance to states and community rehabilitation providers that are involved in systems change efforts aimed at improving competitive, integrated employment outcomes of youth and adults with disabilities. Based off of the NIST Baldrige Model’s Criteria for Performance Excellence in Systems Change, this brief provides an overview of effective practices that have been developed, tested, and validated over the years that lead to competitive, integrated employment for individuals with the most significant disabilities, including competitive demand positions, customized employment relationships and strategies, individualized supported employment services, and self-employment or entrepreneurism. The framework identifies five facilitators to state systems change: demand for change among target populations; development of evidence-based practices and evolution of models in service delivery; advances in the legal and policy landscape; maximizing efficiencies through goal alignment and resource coordination across systems; and demonstrated improvements in desired outcomes via rigorous performance measurement. Furthermore, the framework provides specific action-oriented criteria and recommendations for both state agencies and provider organizations central to Employment First systems change in the following areas:  Leadership; Strategic Planning; Customer Focus; Workforce Focus; Operations Focus; Results; and Measurement, Analysis & Knowledge Management. 

Stakeholders interested in acquiring additional virtual technical assistance on these core components may register for ODEP’s National Employment 1st Community of Practice.