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Employment First with words

The Division of Developmental Disabilities is committed to enhancing community employment options for persons with developmental disabilities. The guiding principle of Employment First is that all individuals who want to work can work and contribute to their community when given opportunity, training, and supports that build upon their unique talents, skills and abilities.

Everyone of working age, and those supporting them, should consider employment as the first option prior to any other service options. As fully participating members of their community, individuals with developmental disabilities will be afforded the opportunity to earn a living wage and engage in work that makes sense to them. Career exploration and planning will be supported when assisting individuals in making informed choices in designing their unique pathway to increased independence, integration, inclusion, productivity, self-determination.

The Empowering Through Employment initiative is designed to increase the number of individuals receiving employment supports and services.This initiative has an established goal of 35% of all individuals receiving waiver services to have employment supports authorized and available for their use.Empowering Through Employment has been deemed a priority based upon the gap between the percentage of Missourians with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) accessing employment services as compared to other day services. Missouri is focused on becoming one of the high performing states and ensuring that Missourians with I/DD have the same opportunities as other individuals.