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Employment First: Information for Individuals and Families

Make an informed choice about employment

People with disabilities should have an opportunity to make an informed choice about employment:

  • Explore community jobs
  • Connect with peers who are employed 
  • Plan for a career that meets their interests and skills
  • Understand the impact of income on benefits
  • Know first-hand the many benefits of working in the community

Everyone has something to contribute, and people are healthier, safer and happiest when they are engaged in meaningful work.

 Family testimonials

Family involvement is important throughout the life of a family member with a disability. Families and guardians play a critical role in the success of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities finding and maintaining community integrated jobs.

Here are testimonials from Oregon parents and family members discussing the impact that community work has had on their family.


Self-advocacy means understanding your strengths and needs, identifying personal goals, and speaking up about your needs, desires and wishes.

Work is at the core of how most Americans spend their time. It helps a person access the full benefits of citizenship, including economic self-sufficiency, independence, personal growth and self-esteem. With the right support, employment is possible for all individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who want to work.

Benefits of employment

Employment benefits include:

  • A paycheck which provides more choices, control and independence
  • Opportunities to maintain skills and learn new ones
  • Opportunity to teach and learn from others
  • Integration, relationships and social connections in the community

 How to access services

If you are interested in community integrated employment, tell your Service Coordinator (SC) or Personal Agent (PA) you want a job. They will help you start planning for a successful career. 


  • Oregon Self-Advocacy Coalition (OSAC) - OSAC is the voice of disability self-advocacy in Oregon. OSAC advocates for the equal rights of people with disabilities. OSAC develops programs to help further the advancement of people with disabilities.
  • Transition Community Network (TCN) - The Oregon Department of Education website for Transition aged youth with disabilities transitioning to adulthood provides a variety of employment resource information for transition youth and their families.
  • Family and Community Together (FACT) - FACT is dedicated to empowering Oregon families experiencing disability by offering peer-delivered family support.

Concerns and obstacles

Individuals with I/DD and their families often have a lot of questions about how employment might work in their particular situation. Please view this video showing how employment supports can work for people with significant disabilities.

Complaints and grievances

Each agency has a well-developed complaints and grievances process to follow.