The current low participation
rate of citizens with disabilities in the
workforce is unacceptable.
Access to “real jobs with
real wages” is essential if citizens with
disabilities are to avoid lives of poverty,
dependence, and isolation.
It is presumed that all
working age adults and youths with
disabilities can work in jobs fully
integrated within the general workforce,
working side-by-side with co-workers without
disabilities, earning minimum wage or
As with all other
individuals, employees with disabilities
require assistance and support to ensure job
success and should have access to those
supports necessary to succeed in the
All citizens, regardless of
disability, have the right to pursue the
full range of available employment
opportunities, and to earn a living wage in
a job of their choosing, based on their
talents, skills, and interests.
Implementation of Employment
First principles must be based on clear
public policies and practices that ensure
employment of citizens with disabilities
within the general workforce is the priority
for public funding and service delivery.
Inclusion or exclusion of the
specific term “Employment First” does not
determine whether a public system or agency
has adopted Employment First principles.
Such a determination can only be made in
examining whether the underlying policies,
procedures and infrastructure are designed
for and ultimately result in increased
integrated employment in the general
workforce for citizens with disabilities.
There are measurable
increases in employment of citizens with
disabilities within the general workforce,
earning minimum wage or higher with
Greater opportunities exist
for citizens with disabilities to pursue
self-employment and the development of
Employment is the first and
preferred option when exploring goals and a
life path for citizens with disabilities.
Citizens with disabilities
are employed within the general workforce,
regardless of the severity of disability and
Young people with
disabilities have work experiences that are
typical of other teenagers and young adults.
Employers universally value
individuals with disabilities as an integral
part of their workforce, and include people
with disabilities within general recruitment
and hiring efforts as standard practice.
Individuals with disabilities
have increased incomes, financial assets,
and economic wealth.
Citizens with disabilities
have greater opportunities to advance in
their careers, by taking full advantage of
their individual strengths and talents.
Funding is sufficient so that
quality services and supports are available
as needed for long-term employment success.
A decision not to consider
employment in the community for an
individual is re-evaluated on a regular
basis; the reasons and rationale for this
decision are fully documented and addressed
in service provision.