Employment First is a national movement based on the belief that all people with disabilities can successfully work and participate in community life. The movement involves aligning state policies, funding, and practice to provide appropriate supports that help people get and keep competitive integrated employment.
Consistent with the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of July 2014 (WIOA), competitive integrated employment refers to jobs where the worker:
- Has a full- or part-time job in the general workforce;
- Is employed or self-employed and earns minimum wage or better according to prevailing wages for that job and an individual’s experience and skills;
- Works alongside co-workers without disabilities;
- Has access to the same activities and benefits as employees without disabilities;
- Has equal opportunity for career advancement and mobility;
- Can be self-employed.
Oregon is one of many states involved in the Employment First movement due to advocacy from stakeholders and the state’s interest in supporting people with IDD and their families to live as valued members of their communities. For more information about Oregon’s Employment First efforts, visit the DHS Employment First website: http://www.oregon.gov/dhs/employment/employment-first/pages/index.aspx.