What Is Employment First?
Employment First is a national movement founded on the belief that all people, including people with disabilities, should be able to work in their communities in competitive integrated employment.
According to the Office of Disability Employment Policy, integrated employment means:
you are paid directly by your employer,
you receive minimum (or greater) or prevailing wages with commensurate benefits,
you work in a typical work setting,
you have the opportunity to interact with employees with and without disabilities,
you have the opportunity for advancement or job mobility.
You can learn more about Arizona Employment First by watching this video.
Why Do We Need Employment First in Arizona?
People who work have a higher quality of life, greater community participation, and are more likely to make their own choices in life. In 2014, for example, only 22% of people in the Arizona DDD system receiving day services were in integrated employment and only 14% of DDD funding spent on day and employment services went to integrated employment.
In the state, individuals who have disabilities are 40-50% less likely to be employed than individuals without disabilities.
You can learn more about employment for Arizonans who have disabilities in the new report The Power of Disability Employment: The Impact to Arizona's Economy.
Arizona is an Employment First State
In November 2017, the Governor of Arizona signed an executive order that requires key state agencies to partner with private sector vendors to expand job opportunities to all Arizonans who have a disability through Employment First principles and practices.
"Opportunity for all means that everyone in our society has the opportunity to get a job and participate in the workforce,” said Governor Ducey. “But too often, meaningful opportunities to work are few and far between for individuals with disabilities. We want to change that. This executive order focuses on empowering all Arizonans, and our hope is that it will mean more and better jobs for individuals with disabilities. I thank all our community partners and stakeholders who will be working with the state to make this initiative a success."
Arizona Employment First is also a chapter of APSE, the Association of People Supporting Employment First. To learn more about the tools, opportunities, and resources APSE provides, visit APSE.org.
AZ Employment First (EF) means that competitive integrated employment is the expectation for all Arizonans who have a disability.
EF IS A…
EF IS NOT A…
Arizona has an Employment First Executive Order (2017) declaring state agencies must work to improve employment outcomes.
How to achieve Employment First
Use appropriate services and supports, such as supported and customized employment practices and assistive technologies.
Instill person-centered practices.
Focus on strengths and interests.
Advocate for informed choice, including supported decision making and benefits counseling.
Implement Arizona Employment First Executive Order.
Partners in the Employment First Mission
- Youth and Young Adults
- Family Members
- Employment Service Provider
To learn more, visit AZEmployment First.org
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