Advancing Employment First Through Building Legislative

Advancing Employment First
Through Building Legislative
By: Ryley Newport, National APSE Public Policy
Associate and
Tibisay Guzman, NYS APSE Public Policy
What is APSE?
APSE is a 3,000+ growing national non-profit membership
organization, founded in 1988. Our members include
individuals with disabilities, families, disability professionals,
and businesses. APSE has chapters in 37 states and the District
of Columbia. Also, we are in the process of developing
chapters in Texas, Utah, South Carolina and Rhode Island.
APSE State Chapters
• APSE State Chapters are Employment First champions in states
focusing on the principle that employment and careers are the
expected and preferred outcomes of all publicly funded
services for those with disabilities.
• State Chapters raise awareness within the business
community as to the benefits of hiring individuals with
• State Chapters perform various trainings and Conferences on
best practices in Employment First, job development, and
CESP exams to improve and build professional excellence.
• Many APSE Chapters sponsor Take Your Legislator to Work day
and Days on the Hill to advocate for Employment First
APSE Public Policy Liaisons
• Roles and Responsibilities:
• Serves as a point person to share ideas, experiences and updates
from within states (focused primarily on Employment First policy
and practice developments);
• Attends monthly calls and shares updates from his or her state;
• Works collaboratively to develop a “standard” state employment
policy agenda that states can customize and start/continue
working on within states; and
• Ensures that there are timely responses to APSE Advocacy Alerts
and that state chapters have a presence in regards to policy
Defining “Employment First”
• APSE’s Policy Statement:
• “Employment First”: employment in the general workforce as the
first and preferred outcome in the provision of publicly funded
services for all working age citizens with disabilities, regardless of
level of disability.
Employment First
• As of January, 45 States have some type of “Employment
First” movement led by many of our chapter members
• About 3/4 of efforts are directed by state policy units or are
legislatively based
• About 1/4 of efforts are grassroots based –i.e., outsiders working
to influence state policy and practice
Employment First Map
Employment First in New York
• Tax Incentives for Businesses – The InspireNY bill was passed
to incentivize businesses to hire people with developmental
disabilities. Businesses will receive up to $5,000 for hiring each
full-time employee and up to $2,500 for hiring each part-time
• Integrated Employment Plan - The Legislator response to the
OPWDD Draft plan to increase Competitive Employment
Opportunities for People with Developmental Disabilities was
passed effective April 1, 2014. The response included the
directive to OPWDD to present a final plan to the legislators
within 180 days of CMS approval of the plan. The enacted Bill
(Chapter 60, Part E, S.6914/A. 9205) include strategies to
increase competitive employment, job retention, assisting
people to transition from a work center environment to
competitive employment.
How can you be involved?
Ideas to get more involved:
• Take Your Legislator to Work Day Campaign
• Join a NYS APSE Committee or National APSE Committee
• Social Media
• Organize a NYS Twitter Chat
• Day on the Hill
• Meetings with Legislators
• Meet with Governor Cuomo
Take Your Legislator to Work
• This is a campaign to raise awareness that every adult with a
disability can participate in gainful employment and have a
meaningful job in the community.
• Held every October as part of National Disability Employment
Awareness Month
• APSE will be holding informational webinars starting in August
to prepare people
Why participate in the
• Educate legislators
• Show employability of people with disabilities
• Raise awareness about the importance of communityintegrated jobs
• Strengthen disability advocacy
What does an “average” visit
look like?
The Take Your Legislator to Work Day is simple! Although visits
may be different, we encourage all participants to do the
• Provide a 30-45 minute tour of their workplace highlighting
where the employee works and the job duties they preform,
• Introduce the legislator to the employee’s co-workers and
employer, and
• Discuss their experience working in a job in the community.
The NGA Initiative
• The National Governor Association’s (NGA) Initiative “A Better
Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities”
• Key NGA Recommendations:
• Find and support businesses in their efforts to employ people
with disabilities.
• Be a model employer by increasing the number of people with
disabilities working in state government.
• Prepare youth with disabilities for careers that use their full
potential, providing employers with a pipeline of skilled workers.
• Make the best use of limited resources to advance employment
opportunities for people with disabilities.
• Make disability employment part of the state workforce
development strategy.
How can APSE utilize this new
awareness into action?
• APSE Chapter Meetings with Governors.
• Share the blueprint with Governor Cuomo stating that we are
looking forward to implementation.
• Ask Governor Cuomo to attend a NYS APSE Chapter event or
to make a recorded message in support of Employment First
in the state.
• Ask the Governor to make a specific commitment to improve
the numbers of people with disabilities working in integrated,
community based jobs.
• Create an Employment First task force
• Request a meeting with the relevant cabinet members.
APSE’s Work with Governors
• APSE Chapter Meetings with Governors including the
governors from : New Mexico, New York, Washington, Illinois,
Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Alabama, Iowa, New Jersey, Delaware
and New Hampshire
Strategies for Governor
• Don’t just ask for general support of employment of people
with disabilities
• Be clear and specific about what action you are asking for
• Specific policy
• New piece of legislation/changes to legislation
• Opposition to a bill
• Policy advocacy is not a one-time thing – it’s about building
relationships over time
New York State APSE
Join New York State APSE’s Public Policy efforts by joining one of National
APSE’s Committees including Students for APSE, the Research Committee or
the Conference and Training Committee.
Social Media
• Use for:
Sharing information
Publicizing your campaign
Expanding your constituency
Taking action
• Examples:
• Twitter
• Facebook
Questions, Comments,
For more information…
Go to or contact Ryley Newport ([email protected])
or Tibi Guzman ([email protected])

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