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Office of Disability Employment Policy
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ODEP - Office of Disability Employment Policy

Disability Employment Policy Resources by Topic

Employment First

Employment First is a concept to facilitate the full inclusion of people with the most significant disabilities in the workplace and community. Under the Employment First approach, community-based, integrated employment is the first option for employment services for youth and adults with significant disabilities.

To advance Employment First, ODEP created the Employment First State Leadership Mentor Program. This program helps states align policies, regulations and funding priorities to encourage integrated employment as the primary outcome for individuals with significant disabilities. Through the initiative, ODEP is providing support and informational resources for selected states that desire systems change reflecting the Employment First approach but have struggled to fully implement it as the primary service delivery system for people with disabilities.

Integrated employment refers to jobs held by people with disabilities in typical workplace settings where the majority of persons employed are not persons with disabilities, they earn at least minimum wage and they are paid directly by the employer.