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Employment First State Leadership Mentor Program

Washington state has been selected to participate in the EFSLMP as the mentor state for protégé states Iowa, Oregon and Tennessee.

Each state will receive funding to assist them to develop and implement their strategic plan and will have access to on-site, customized technical assistance from national subject-matter experts to help them achieve their goals. In addition the states will be able to discuss their progress with other states who are working in this area through regularly scheduled Community-of-Practice teleconference calls. .

Iowa (Protégé State)

Iowa intends to build on its current Employment First Initiative in order to move state policies and funding structures with the explicit intent to increase integrated employment outcomes for people with significant disabilities. Participation in the EFSLMP will enable Iowa to study, and consider adopting, policies and funding mechanisms that emphasize interagency collaboration that result in service delivery that prioritizes integrated employment. Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services will lead its EFSLMP.

Oregon (Protégé State)

Oregon plans to build on its 2008 Employment First Policy to increase the number of high school age youth who transition to integrated employment and decrease the number of adults currently served in facility based employment services. It will focus on improving its strategic plan to align state policies and funding mechanisms that support these goals. It will also increase service provider and general community capacity to develop, provide, and support integrated supported employment. The Department of Human Services, Office of Developmental Disabilities (ODDS) will be the lead agency for this grant.

Tennessee (Protégé State)

Through the EFSLMP Tennessee seeks to increase the number of adults and youth with significant disabilities in the state who are working in competitive, integrated employment. Leaders in the state are specifically looking to align departmental policies for coordination of integrated employment services. They are also intending to increase the use of customized employment strategies by service providers as well as to cultivate a better understanding of and use of work incentives available to individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Income. Their proposal also includes strong involvement of the One-Stop Career Centers. The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) will be the lead agency for this grant.

Washington (Mentor State)

Washington implemented its Working Age Adult Policy in 2006, the first “Employment First” policy in the country. This policy was the culmination of over three decades of concerted activity to insure that persons with disabilities have quality of life through employment. Because of Washington’s experience and leadership in this area, it will provide mentoring to other states who are striving to enact policy and to support practices that will lead to increased opportunities for integrated for individuals with significant disabilities.

The Community of Practice

States participating in EFSLP, along with other interested states, will participate in a Community of Practice through which they will share ideas, and strategies for adopting state policies and practices that lead to increased integrated employment outcomes for individuals with significant disabilities. This will give all states the opportunity to hear directly from leaders across the nation.