What Is Employment First?

Employment First is a movement to deliver meaningful employment, fair wages, and career advancement for people with disabilities. How did Employment First come to be? What is the Great Debate around the Shift from Sheltered Workshops to Competitive Integrated Employment?

The Iowa APSE Chapter was formed to improve and expand integrated employment services and outcomes through supported employment for persons with disabilities. Supported Employment (SE) enables people with disabilities who have not been successfully employed to work and contribute to society. SE focuses on a person’s abilities and provides the supports the individual needs to be successful on a long-term basis.

It allows people experiencing disabilities, their families, businesses, and their communities to experience the successes of people with disabilities. The partnership that SE has established between individuals experiencing disabilities and their communities is having a lasting impact on the way the public perceives people with disabilities. SE affords the public the opportunity to see the person for who they are rather than seeing the disability.

APSE is committed to Supported Employment and the impact it has on improving the quality of life of anyone associated with SE programs. In order to improve services and make them available to an increasing number of people who want or need job support, APSE provides technical assistance and education to people involved with SE, encourages service delivery based on sound values and ethics, builds a network for those supporting SE, and is actively involved in legislative and policy change for SE. To accomplish these goals, APSE was formed to provide a strong partnership with others who share this dedication to SE.

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