What does this mean for members of the Division, their families and the community? It means that like every individual of working age, employment should be part of the member’s day. Employment services and supports have been a part of the Division’s array of services for a long time but currently only about 20% of members participating in day programs are actually working in community integrated jobs. We hope to increase that involvement as we work with other state agencies and stakeholders in a statewide initiative called EMPLOYMENT FIRST.
Currently over 25 other states have begun to prioritize employment as the first choice and preferred outcome for day services for individuals with developmental disabilities. That does not mean other day services and supports will go away. It does mean that while students are in high school, Division Support Coordinators should be helping them identify what kind of job or job training they might be interested in when they leave school. Maybe a job after school or during school breaks would help? The Division is also working on a new service called Transition to Employment that will help members develop the general skills needed to work in their community. An EMPLOYMENT FIRST Webinar was conducted on April 30th and community forums are scheduled during July and August (115 KB PDF).
Contact Linda Tasco, Director of Program Services, at [email protected] for more information.