These three case studies are part of a larger study of six organizations that have closed a sheltered workshop or a nonwork, segregated program and replaced it with integrated employment or other integrated, community-based activities for individuals with disabilities.
In 2009, the state of Oregon adopted its Employment First policy. When Oregon's Office of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) decided to promote the implementation of this policy, it began by updating its existing employment website. The redesigned website (http:// www.dhs.state.or.us/dd/supp_emp/) emphasizes the value of integrated employment over other outcomes, and the importance of building community-wide conversations, with the goal of achieving integrated employment for people with developmental disabilities.
After the adoption of the Employment First policy in Oregon in 2010, state administrators identified the critical role of case managers for people on the support services waiver, and acknowledged the need for their buy-in and investment in the Employment First agenda. The case managers’ knowledge of the individuals they serve, the conversations they have with individuals and their families, and their knowledge of the community are critical to each individual’s success in finding employment, as well as to the forward movement of the Employment First initiative.