Michigan's Department of Community Health, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Administration (MDCH) has expressed a strong desire to improve the state's employment outcomes among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Set against this desire is a major obstacle: Michigan is among the states hardest hit by the continuing economic recession, with the highest unemployment rate in the nation.
Enacting changes to state policies is a slow and complex process. But this kind of systems change can be transformative when it creates opportunities for people with disabilities to engage with and contribute to their communities. Learn more about state policy and systems change in these resources.
The University of Maine’s Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (CCIDS), along with the Maine Department of Behavioral and Developmental Services (BDS) and the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, developed the Maine Employment Curriculum (MEC). The comprehensive curriculum fosters best practices in employment supports for people with disabilities statewide by using a cadre of trainers who are supported by the Maine Employment Curriculum project staff.
At the national level, integrated employment has become an important policy priority. Greater expectations are being placed on those charged with delivering employment supports, and disability systems are responding. However, the promise of integrated employment has yet to be realized for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
Originally published: 1/2009
The state of Florida has implemented a five-year employment initiative for people with ID/DD. The goal is to enable at least 50% of adults (ages 18 to 55) receiving APD-funded day services as of July 1, 2004, to achieve community employment by July 1, 2009. APD- funded services include adult day training, supported employment, and non-residential supports and services. Florida is specifically targeting a total of 25% of individuals who were in Adult Day Training (ADT) on July 1, 2004, to be employed by July 1, 2009.
King County's program to employ people with disabilities in county jobs is an example of Washington's commitment to the use of innovative approaches to increase integrated employment. In 1989, a training resource funded by Washington State and the county Division of Developmental Disabilities, O'Neill and Associates, submitted a grant application to the Rehabilitation Services Administration to develop public sector jobs for people with developmental disabilities within the state.
The Tennessee Division of Mental Retardation Services (DMRS) implemented the Employment First! initiative in 2002. The goal of Employment First was to make employment the first day service option for adults receiving supports funded by DMRS, Medicaid, or the state. Employment First set the standard that employment was the preferred service option for adults with mental retardation and developmental disabilities (MR/DD).
Washington's Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) has recently issued a new policy which went into full effect on July 1, 2006.
What our new center is about:
As state developmental disability service systems strive to balance myriad challenges, the inevitable question of funding must be addressed. Through State Employment Leadership Network (SELN) events, member states have regularly expressed the need for additional analysis and insights related to rates, reimbursement, and funding issues. This series of Funding Summaries is intended to shed light on the complexities as well as successes experienced by state systems across the country.