The Case of Inclusion, published in 2011, shed light on the unfortunate fact that 88 percent of adults with developmental disabilities are unemployed.
Individuals working in competitive employment usually have more friends and are happier. Competitive employment is also good for the economy, yielding more return on investment.
In 2006, Washington State was the first state to put in place a policy called the Employment First Policy. This program gives employment support for working-age adults. One of the goals of the program is for adults with disabilities to focus the first nine months after schooling on finding a job, just as the majority of adults without disabilities do. The impact of this program was vast, with the number of competitively employed individuals rising from 4,440 to 5,562 in seven years.
The Employment First Policy positively changed the lives of many people with developmental disabilities while giving Washington good politics at the same time. By taking leadership, training, organizing, informing families and improving the quality of employment agencies, Washington was able to make a very positive change in the lives of many. The big goals and creation of a plan of how to get there, Washington was able to achieve a great accomplishment, showing other states could easily do the same. According to “The Case for Inclusion,” “if every state matched Washington State’s successes, there would be 228,000 more individuals with ID/DD working today.”
For more information, click here.