Employment First

Welcome to Employment First!

This website is provided as a public service of Griffin-Hammis Associates to collect and disseminate information being produced across the country (and internationally) in the effort to establish Employment First as the preeminent vocational disability practice.

Employment First is a declaration of both philosophy and policy stating that:

Employment is the first priority and preferred outcome of people with disabilities.

About Employment First

Employment includes these essential elements:

  • Being the first and preferred outcome for working-age youth and adults with disabilities, including those with complex and significant disabilities, for whom working in the past has been limited, or has not traditionally occurred,
  • Using typical or customized employment techniques to secure membership in the workforce, where employees with disabilities are included on the payroll of a competitive business or industry or are self-employed business owners,
  • Where the assigned work tasks offer at least minimum or prevailing wages and benefits,
  • And where typical opportunities exist for integration and interactions with co-workers without disabilities, with customers, and/or the general public.

Currently a number of States, many led by their Developmental Disability Councils (http://www.nacdd.org/) and/or their APSE Chapters (http://www.apse.org/), are exploring Employment First polices and practices including California, Washington, Minnesota, Indiana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Iowa, Rhode Island, Nevada, et al. Please feel free to explore this website to read the latest news from the various states, review articles from those involved, explore sample policies, consider related training events, and also send along your information for posting.

Employment First is everyone’s business and as such, we are linking to the Employment First blog established and maintained by Don Lavin in Minnesota. As many of you know, Don is a leader in community employment development and the Employment First movement. He has graciously opened his blog as an Open-Source site for all of us to share our ideas, questions, and successes as we move the agenda forward.