MA DDS Employment First Policy


State Policies & Initiatives: 
Policies and Programs

“This policy, known as the ‘Employment First’ policy, establishes that for working age adults served by the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services, integrated, individual employment is the preferred service option and optimal outcome. In the development of service plans and service delivery, assistance and supports for individual, integrated employment will be prioritized."

"It is recognized that full implementation of this policy will be a long-term process, requiring a general raising of expectations over time, by individuals served by the Department of Developmental Services, their families, as well as DDS and service provider staff concerning the ability of individuals to succeed in individual, integrated employment. This will require a consistent message across the DDS system regarding integrated employment as a priority; consistent actions that reinforce this message; and an infrastructure, including prioritizing and directing of resources, that supports this effort. This will also require a fundamental shift in thinking from a mind-set of integrated employment as an option for some individuals, to employment as a goal for all.”

  • Department of Rehabilitation Services
  • Department of Mental Health
  • Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • Other
  • School-to-Work Transition
  • Cross-Agency Collaboration / Partnerships
  • Resource Leveraging
Date Enacted: