About Employment First Maine

Employment First
Where we’ve been and where we are headed….
The Foundation…
Beginning in 2001 the state (DHHS and VR) required certification for job
coaches and employment specialists and the Maine Employment Curriculum
was designed and delivered statewide
2008—No state funded sheltered workshops
Employment for All conference sponsored by Maine APSE in October, 2010
Maine DVR eliminate longstanding waitlist (October 2010)
DHHS agency wide conference in November, 2010 where the DOL and
DHHS Commissioners unveiled a new policy: the “Department of Health and
Human Services shall support career development and meaningful employment for
all working aged individuals receiving services through the Department”.
Foundation Cont’d
S DHHS, and DOL DVR regular meetings to move
employment for all people with disabilities forward,
including people with brain injuries, cognitive disabilities,
physical disabilities, mental illness, etc.
S Employment First Maine begins meeting in August
2011 and makes plans to send team to the Alliance for
Full Participation meeting (Nov 2011)
S From the beginning cross disability effort
EF Maine Founding Members
Individuals with disabilities and
family members, including
representatives from the Consumer
Council System of Maine, SUFU
and Maine Parent Federation
Representatives from the Maine
Departments of HHS (DD and MH),
Labor (VR), and Education
Maine APSE
Disability Rights Center
Developmental Disabilities Council
Center for Community Inclusion and
Disability Studies
Syntiro’s Employment for ME
Workforce Development System
Coming Together!
S Nineteen folks from Maine attend the AFP meeting in
Washington, DC (Nov 2011)
S AFP team presents to Maine APSE annual meeting (Jan
S EF Maine begins meeting at least monthly to draft a plan for
S Maine submits an application to ODEP in their EF
mentoring program (Mar 2012)
S A formal planning process and a goal for legislation in 2013
is established (Spring 2012)
The Action Begins!
S A small subcommittee is formed to address the
legislation and meets in the summer of 2012
S Draft EF legislation is prepared and disseminated
widely for public comment (Sept 2012)
S The draft undergoes a number of revisions
S Additional individuals and organizations become
Where Should EF Maine Live?
S The Disability Rights Center in Maine
S Not affiliated with any one state agency
S Serves all disability groups
S Excellent connections with providers, state agencies
and legislators
S Able to support meeting and accommodation costs
of EF Maine
Additional Partners Added
“Employment First Maine Act”
S The Act (LD 1352) defines:
S Customized Employment
S First and preferred service or support option
S Integrated community-based employment
S Processes for program monitoring and quality assurance
S First and preferred service or support option
S Coordination of efforts and information
S Establishes the Employment First Maine Coalition
The Hearing and Work Session
S More than 42 individuals testified in favor and no one
testified in opposition
S 32 were individuals with disabilities
S Work Session – two amendments – change consensus and
add a business rep to the coalition – Done!
S Voted unanimously out of the Labor Committee!
S On to the Senate and Appropriations – Passed!
Since June…
S The bill became law on 6/22 without the Governor’s signature
and goes into effect 90 days after the session—October 9, 2013
S Solidifying the Coalition – expectations of members, meeting
dates, and other organizational role coordination.
S Determine specific data reporting structure
S Drafting by-laws, establishing work groups (i.e. to recommend
possible waiver language rule changes, address training needs of
all agencies, etc.)
Work Groups
S Communication
S Data
S Transition
S Capacity Building/Systems Development
S Business/Employer
S Legislation
Definitions from the Act
Integrated, community based employment: employment in the competitive
labor market that is performed on a full-time or part-time basis in the general
community or through self-employment at or above the minimum wage but
not less than the prevailing wage and level of benefits paid by the employer for
the same or similar work performed by persons without disabilities.
Customized employment: employment acquired as a result of
implementation of a flexible blend of strategies, services and supports
designed to increase employment options for job seekers with complex needs
through voluntary negotiation of the employment relationship with the
First and preferred service or support option: the first employment service
option offered by a state agency, prior to the offer of other supports or
services, including day services.
EF Maine Charge
S State agencies must provide service and supports to persons
with disabilities and include and offer, as the first and
preferred service or support option, the opportunity for
persons with disabilities to acquire integrated, community
based employment or customized employment as a core
component of its services and supports.
EF Maine Charge (cont)
State agencies shall coordinate efforts with other state
agencies to ensure that the programs, funding and policies
adopted by each state agency support the individuals with
disabilities in acquiring community based employment or
customized employment.
State agencies shall share information regarding the use of
services and other data in order to monitor progress toward
facilitating individuals with disabilities in acquiring
community based employment or customized employment.
The Coalition Shall..
S Promote coordination and collaboration among state agencies;
S Review, on a continuing basis, state policies, plans, programs and
activities in order to determine whether such policies, programs,
plans and activities effectively meet the employment needs of
persons with disabilities to acquire integrated, community based
employment or customized employment;
S Serve as a conduit for information and input to aid in the
implementation of the Act for advocacy groups, commissions and
councils that focus on issues facing persons with disabilities in
The Coalition Shall:
S Make recommendations to the Governor, the Legislature and state
agencies regarding ways to improve the administration of
employment services and employment outcomes for persons with
S Review and comment on proposed legislation affecting the
employment of persons with disabilities; and,
S Propose and promote rules and policies to state agencies that
provide services and supports to persons with disabilities to
improve integrated, community based employment and
customized employment of persons with disabilities.
Employment First Nationally
S www.apse.org
S More than 40 states have some level of activity related to
Employment First (and most of these states are I/DD specific)
S Only Maine and Washington have both legislation and policy
directives or executive orders
S ONLY Maine has both AND addresses ALL individuals with
disabilities (Washington is I/DD specific)
October 11, 2013
S Welcome to our First official of the Employment First
Maine Coalition!
S We look forward to working collaboratively to greatly
improve and enhance the employment outcomes of Maine
citizens with disabilities!

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