Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Rogan, P.; & Rinne, S. (2021). Launching a statewide Employment First initiative: Indiana’s work to include coalition. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation,, 54 (3), 255-260.
Title:  Launching a statewide Employment First initiative: Indiana’s work to include coalition
Authors:  Rogan, P.; & Rinne, S.
Year:  2021
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation,
Publisher:  IOS Press
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Yes

Structured abstract:

Background:  After decades of local, state and national efforts to increase employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities, progress has been slow, with a mere 17.9% of persons with a disability employed in 2020 compared to 61.8% for persons without a disability (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, February 2021). Individuals with disabilities have demonstrated their abilities and desire to work, including those with significant disabilities, yet our country remains entrenched in outdated and ineffective models of day services (i.e., sheltered workshops, non-work programs) and precious public dollars continue to be used for these services that congregate and segregate individuals, pay subminimum wages, and deny individuals their human and civil rights.
Purpose:  The purpose of this article is to describe one state’s efforts to advance employment for working age individuals with disabilities through a statewide Employment First initiative called Work to Include. Indiana is now in its third year of this grassroots initiative driven by a coalition of self-advocates. Major activities of the initiative are discussed, including passing Indiana’s Employment First law, holding statewide Town Hall meetings, establishing 11 local Work to Include teams, developing and implementing a state Employment First plan, launching local and statewide Disability Employment Awareness month campaigns, using social media and webinars to disseminate information, hosting Employment First Summits, and collaborating with employers and state agencies to promote employment outcomes.
Conclusions:  Next steps toward systems change are discussed, including the establishment of an Employment First office at the state and securing an Executive Order from the governor to make the state a model employer.

Disabilities served:  Multiple disabilities
Interventions:  Accommodations
On-the-job training and support
Supported employment
Vocational rehabilitation
Accommodations / modifications
Customized employment
Outcomes:  Employment acquisition
Full-time employment