Employment First Works

What is Employment First?

Employment First is a movement to deliver meaningful employment, fair wages, and career advancement for people with disabilities.

APSE is the only national organization devoted to Employment First. We’ve worked for decades on policy, advocacy, and sharing the best practices, tools and connections to move the needle forward toward inclusive, fair employment for all. Read APSE’s Statement on Employment First

Who benefits from Employment First?

  • Employers receive talented employees and specialized support for job acquisition and retention.
  • People with disabilities gain employment, fair wages, benefits, and the dignity that arises from gainful employment.
  • Families see a family member in a fully competent role in the workplace.
  • Communities feel the economic force of fair wages spent in the local economy and the valuable lesson of witnessing the many abilities of people with disabilities.

Does Employment First make a difference?

Yes. For example, in the area of employment services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Washington State has a long-standing commitment to policies and practices focused on employment in the community as the first priority. The end result is that 89% of individuals served by the Washington State system are in integrated employment services, compared to a national average of 20%. Many states are even well below this average with some at less than 10%.

Find out what the current rates of employment for people with disabilities are in your state by clicking here: https://apse.org/competitive-integrated-employment-data-sheets/



Learn more about Employment First through APSE’s tools and resources:

APSE’s Employment First Statement

Employment First Map: See what’s happening with Employment First activities across the country

Employment First Best Practices

Employment First Advocacy Toolkit

Employment First Resources