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Employment First

Employment First is shifting expectations for a cultural transformation...Employment First logo


Every person has abilities, skills and talents to enrich the community and people around us. We envision a time when every working-age adult with developmental disabilities has opportunity to explore their career options and seek jobs that fit their skills and interests.

We start by shifting expectations. Young people with developmental disabilities will learn about employment options and planning during their school years. Adults with developmental disabilities should have support teams that assist in learning more about how abilities and interests can match opportunities with workplaces.  Every person should expect that community employment is the preferred outcome for working-age adults with developmental disabilities.

Every agency, school, organization and individual within Ohio’s developmental disabilities system plays a role by focusing on what everyone can do and providing the best supports and services to enable people to choose and succeed in community employment.  We’re transforming to a system culture that creates opportunities and pathways for integration, independence and full community participation.

Community employment brings so many benefits - from greater independence and wealth building potential to improved self-esteem and personal satisfaction. And that’s just the beginning:  Employers and co-workers benefit through more diversity and a broader range of capable employees available; while society at large benefits when all citizens are able to participate in and contribute to their communities in all the ways they can.