Employment First Technical Briefs

LEAD Center
December 2015

The Office of Disability Employment Policy and the LEAD Center are pleased to have released four Employment First Technical Briefs 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 informational bulletins that support employment outcomes and employment first 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 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 that are involved in systems change efforts aimed at improving competitive, integrated employment outcomes of youth and adults with disabilities. 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 that has been found to facilitate state systems change includes five components: 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.

Technical Brief #4: Federal Resources Available to Support State Employment First Effortsprovides state governments and external stakeholders with information about available Federal funding resources and technical assistance available to further state Employment First systems change efforts. The Federal government utilizes funding vehicles such as competitive grants, direct programmatic funding, demonstration projects, pilot initiatives, and increased Federal matching funds to help state and local governments prioritize strategies that lead to competitive, integrated employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Funding can also be used to discourage certain practices or policies, as in the case of reduced reimbursement rates or decreased funding invested in services that lead to segregated outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

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