People with disabilities can and do make valuable contributions to the workforce. We’ve said it many times on this blog. Work is the great equalizer, and people with disabilities have proven to be loyal, hardworking employees who positively affect businesses’ bottom lines.
Employment First is a movement based on the idea that employment is the first priority and the preferred outcome for people with disabilities. In other words, everyone is capable of contributing to the workforce and should have the opportunity for inclusive employment. We’re talking about real jobs with real wages, not piecemeal work in a sheltered workshop.
An important part of supporting people to find and maintain competitive employment is supporting them within their own communities. Genni Sasnett, an Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program National Subject Matter Expert, recently wrote a blog post about the need to “think globally and work locally.” She discusses the decentralization of supported employment services and the movement toward supporting people to live and work within their own communities.
Read her article Think Globally—Work Locally to learn more about this decentralization movement and the progress of inclusive employment.