Employment First Public Policy

Employment First is integrated wages as the first and preferred outcome for ALL people with disabilities.
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New Employment First Tool: VR Rates and Services

A new section has been added to the Employment First Web Portal: VR Rates and Services. This  resource breaks down the services offered by each state's Vocational Rehabilitation Agency and also details the standard rates paid for the performance of those services. The VR Rates and Services tool can be a valuable resource as many state Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies are modifying their rates to comply with the changes set forth in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

Employment first legislation is finally here


For the last few years IN-APSE had been working with Indiana legislators, state entities, providers, and individuals with disabilities to create Employment first legislation. This law would make it the policy of the state is to promote competitive and integrated employment, including self-employment, as the first and preferred option when providing services to individuals with disabilities who are of working age.

In March 2016, The Indiana Senate voted approval to Senate Resolution 39 to establish a study group on Employment First. Exciting News!! The Study Group was approved in May thanks to all of your help in reaching out  to the Indiana House and Senate Leadership to let them know you support a study group to make sure Indiana has a plan for community employment for Hoosiers with Disabilities.

Indiana made history when Governor Holcumb signed the bill into law!

The State of Employment First in Indiana

  • Indiana is one of only 16 states without a focus on Employment First. There are 34 other states with Employment First policies or legislation.

  • There are almost a million people with disabilities in Indiana and they have the lowest workforce participation of any minority.

  • Studies have shown that people who are working are healthier and need less public assistance.

  • Indiana ranks 34th in employment for people with intellectual and developmental disability.

  • Only 19% of people served by community mental health are employed.

  • Employment First works.  South Dakota is the example of a state that passed Employment First legislation and within 2 years had increased employment levels of people with disabilities from 34% to 50%.

  • Since services and funding vary state to state, a study group will enable Indiana to develop the best strategy for our state to increase employment.


 Jason Harrison’s Take on Employment First

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