Connecting the Dots: Using Federal Policy to Promote Employment First Systems-Change Efforts

Federal public policy has consistently promoted the vision that all individuals with disabilities have access to the supports they need to secure and sustain a job in the community, earn a livable wage, build assets, and advance socioeconomically. This focus reflects a growing national movement called Employment First, a systems change framework for improving service delivery systems that is centered on the premise that all youth and adults with disabilities, including those with the most significant disabilities, are capable of full participation in competitive, integrated employment and community life. Under this approach, publicly-financed systems are urged to align policies, funding structures, and service delivery practices toward a commitment to competitive, integrated employment as the priority outcome of education and long-term supports and services for youth and adults with disabilities. Many states have formally committed to establishing an Employment First framework through official executive order or formal legislative action.

The following technical brief is the first in a four-part series, and provides an overview of Federal policy guidance and administrative regulations that support systems change efforts to enhance competitive, integrated employment outcomes for youth and adults with disabilities.

  • Customized Employment
  • Self-Employment
  • School-to-Work Transition
  • Asset Development / Financial Capability
  • Home and Community Based Services (HCBS)
  • Employer Engagement
  • Segregated Day & Employment Services
  • Provider Transformation
  • Cross-Agency Collaboration / Partnerships
  • Resource Leveraging