Employment Initiatives

Empowering Through Employment

The Empowering Through Employment initiative is designed to increase the number of individuals receiving employment supports and services. This initiative has established a 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) who express a desire to work in the community and those who have coordinated supports to assist with this outcome. 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.

Monthly Dashboard

Employment First Missouri

Employment First Missouri is a collaboration between the Division of Developmental Disabilities and the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. Employment First Missouri provides no-cost training and technical assistance to employment service providers contracted through the Division of Developmental Disabilities.

Missouri Employment First Collaborative

Many Missourians with disabilities and co-occurring disorders want to work, but find typical job search processes ineffective and frustrating. Traditional labor market approaches are competitive and often put individuals, especially those with significant disabilities and co-occurring disorders, in direct competition with job seekers with fewer barriers.

Missouri Employment First Collaborative is a partnership of the Divisions of Developmental Disabilities, Behavioral Health, Missouri HealthNet, Rehabilitation Services for the Blind, Vocational Rehabilitation and Workforce Development. Expanded partnerships are leveraged to support system design and enhancement which result in a greater number of individuals with achieving their employment goals. The collaborative is supported through Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program - technical assistance and a community of practice supported through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. Past activities have included efforts with:

  • Scaling practice of Customized Employment - a flexible strategy for matching a job seeker with a business with mutual benefit.
  • Developing professional skills with benefits planning - effective balancing earned income with social security and health insurance benefits.
  • State Agency Collaboration - Development of a cross state agency Memorandum of Understanding on Employment First and coordination of public program.
  • Missouri as a Model Employer - an emerging trend developed by the National Governors Association to help more people with disabilities obtain competitive integrated employment whereby State government commits to hiring more people with disabilities.
State Employment Leadership Network

Division of Developmental Disabilities is a member of a national collaborative, the State Employment Leadership Network (SELN), comprised of more than 30 participating states. The SELN is a project jointly sponsored by the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) and the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts—Boston. The SELN was started to reinvigorate employment outcomes for people with developmental disabilities.