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Employment First supports integrated employment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).
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Oregon's Employment First initiative is a catalyst for state agencies to work together to improve community job outcomes for people with I/DD. Cooperating agencies include:
Employment First is both a philosophy and an Oregon state policy. As a philosophy, Employment First is based on the presumption that working age adults and youth with I/DD can work in jobs fully integrated in the community. Integrated employment includes typical workplace settings where there are regular opportunities for meaningful interaction with co-workers without disabilities and/or customers or the general public. This can also include self-employment. The employment of individuals with I/DD adds to the diversity of the workforce and general enrichment of communities.
The Employment First policy states that work in integrated jobs is the first and priority option in planning employment services for working-age adults and youth. Services should be planned to use person-centered practices that identify an individual's talents, skills, and interests. This information can then help inform employment options and career opportunities.
Oregon has partnered with a variety of community partners and self-advocates to develop a plan for successful implementation of the Employment First initiative and the Governor's Executive Order 15-01. These partners include:
Oregon was one of the first states to formally adopt an
Employment First Policy. Adoption of the Employment First policy in 2008 was one result of Oregon advocates’ efforts to bring more employment opportunities for Oregon’s citizens experiencing intellectual and developmental disabilities. Since that time, approximately half the states have adopted Employment First policies or legislation and another 14 have actions related to an Employment First initiative.
From 2010 to 2012, ODHS focused on outreach to promote the Employment First policy. This included a statewide Employment First summit in September 2010, where self-advocates created this statement.
In April 2013, Governor Kitzhaber issued an
Executive Order as the next step in Oregon’s ongoing commitment to integrated employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He also issued this letter to ODHS staff affirming Oregon’s commitment to offering integrated employment services for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.
In May 2013, the
Office of Developmental Disabilities Services,Vocational Rehabilitation, the
Department of Education, and the
Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Transition of Students with Disabilities to the Workforce. This agreement was made to help support and increase the number of students with disabilities transitioning from secondary schools to integrated, community-based employment or post-secondary education.
The Integrated Employment Plan* is mandated by the
Governor’s Executive Order 13-04. While the Integrated Employment Plan is required in the Order, it is also the result of partner/self-advocate discussions and feedback leading to the strategic thinking, development, and implementation of the
Employment First policy. These discussions have involved a wide range of self-advocates, families, provider agencies, advocacy organizations, colleagues, consultants, and state leaders – both executive and legislative. The result has been a rich and comprehensive dialog resulting in a broad array of information, perspectives and ideas. This Integrated Employment Plan summarizes goals, strategies, and key activities necessary to provide high-quality, effective and cost-conscious services to Oregonians with I/DD.
*Due to the recent website migration, links within the Integrated Employment Plan are broken. Below is additional information regarding this plan.
The following information may be helpful to understanding the Employment First initiative and how Oregon fits in with a national Employment First agenda.
Federal policy statements
State policy statements
California Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Idaho Illinois Iowa Kansas Louisiana Maine Massachusetts Minnesota Missouri New Jersey North Carolina Ohio Rhode Island South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Virginia Washington Wisconsin
Advocate statements and recommendations
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