In 2011, the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) and the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) partnered to help the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC) understand national Employment First efforts and to develop an Employment First initiative in the state. The project is called the EmployME1st Project.
(Photo: project team members: Allison Cohen Hall, Stirling Peebles, Ashley Wolfe, John Kramer)
What’s happened so far
The EmployME1st Project began in 2011 and has continued through the present.
Activities from Year 1:
- Collected information to guide the FDDC in developing an Employment First initiative in Florida. This was done by using public forums, focus groups, surveys, and other research methods.
- Wrote a summary of the history of Employment First and analysis of Employment First initiatives and policies in other states.
- Gave a report on the results of the research.
- Developed a plan for how the FDDC can build an Employment First initiative in Florida. This included ideas about marketing. It also listed goals, objectives, timelines, and benchmarks for the new initiative.
Activities from Year 2
- Provided technical assistance (expert advice) to help improve Florida’s employment system. Expert advice was provided on topics such as staffing, policy, training, and data systems.
- Helped the Employment First Collaborative Team implement the Employment First Executive Order.
- Wrote materials about Employment First and shared them with people across the state.
- Held a meeting for self-advocates (people with disabilities who are interested in working and helping others work).
- Held regular grassroots meetings online to inform the public and get their support.
- Held regular phone meetings for the FL self-advocates mentoring group.
Activities from Year 3
- Supporting the Employment First Collaborative Team to implement the Employment First interagency cooperative agreement. The intergency coopoerative agreement is a plan that state agencies in Florida have developed to help more people with disabilities work in the community.
- Develop local-level collaborative teams to help communities implement the Employment First interagency agreement.
- Share information about Employment First Florida through the Employment First Grassroots Group, website, and newsletter.
- Support self-advocates with intellectual and developmental disabilities become involved in the EmployME1st project.
Learn more about all the activities by reading these documents:
- Employment First National Report
Provides information on Employment First policies in 10 US states and a national overview
- Employment First Florida Introduction and Overview
Explains the project from the very beginning
- What is Employment First?
Explains what an Employment First policy is and what it means for people with disabilities
- Employment First Executive Summary
Summarizes the first year of the report and research conducted
- Employment First Florida Findings Report
Summarizes the research conducted on employment in Florida
- Self-Advocate Workgroup Provides information about the Self-Advocate Workgroup
We had an in-person self-advocate event in June 2014 in Orlando. You can read the notes from the Orlando meeting.