what is employment first
Employment First means that employment in the general workforce should be the first and preferred option for individuals with disabilities receiving assistance from publicly funded systems.
Simply put, Employment First means real jobs for real wages.
WHY IS EMPLOYMENT FIRST IMPORTANT
Per the US Department of Labor, the workforce participation rate for individuals with disabilities are about 1/3 that of people without disabilities. The low employment rate for people have been increasingly recognized as a serious societal issue, with over 13 million adults of working age in the United States receiving disability benefits from Social Security.
Yet it has been continuously shown that with assistance, accommodations, and encouragement, many more people with disabilities can work successfully in the community.
A ROAD OUT OF POVERTY
Statistics clearly show that if you have a disability, you are much more likely to be poor. Working age adults with disabilities living below the poverty line at twice the rate of the general population (US Census). Almost two-thirds (65%) of the individuals in poverty long-term are people with disabilities (Mathematica Policy Research). Focusing our public resources on Employment First, providing the assistance necessary to find and succeed in employment, is a road out of poverty, dependence, and isolation, for individuals with disabilities.
What is AR APSE Doing to make Employment First a law?
The Employment 1st Committee is currently working on a white paper and drafting a Employment First Bill to present to the levitative committee for approval. Central Arkansas Disability Services Inc (CADS) and APSE in a joint effort to create an Arkansas Community initiative for Employment First office. CADS was awarded a grant to assist in developing this office.