National Employment First Foundations

The national Employment First movement and on-going momentum are backed by disability federal law,
public policy and court rulings. You can be a part of the advocacy going forward!

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

Law designed to help job seekers, including those with disabilities, to succeed in the labor market.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability.

Olmstead Ruling

Supreme Court decision that unjustified segregation of people with disabilities constitutes an ADA discriminatory violation.

Final Settings Rule

Requirement for Medicaid-funded Home and Community Based Services to be provided in integrated, community settings by 2022.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

IDEA requires transition planning for students receiving special education services to prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living. 

Guiding Legislation – Colorado

Colorado joined the Employment First movement in 2016.
There are 35 states in the nation with Employment First efforts.

Senate Bill 16-077

Colorado’s Employment First legislation creating the Advisory Partnership.

Senate Bill 18-145

Implemented Employment First provider competencies, Discovery funding, and data collection.

2019 Budget Appropriation

The Colorado Legislature approved funding to initiate the state’s Office of Employment First.

Senate Bill 21-095

Sunset review of the EFAP which will continue indefinitely and COEF under JFK Partners names an EFAP partner.

Senate Bill 21-039

Eliminates the use of subminimum wage certificates and addresses  barriers to successful implementation of CIE.

More About SB16-077 in Colorado

SB16-077 established the Employment First Advisory Partnership (EFAP) and required that community stakeholders, along with five state departments, engage with the EFAP: Education, Higher Education, Human Services, Labor and Employment, and Healthcare Policy and Financing. The EFAP was directed to develop a strategic plan to expand competitive integrated employment (CIE) outcomes for people with disabilities through Employment First policies and practices. The plan was submitted in 2018 and the EFAP continues to meet for on-going plan monitoring. Consider attending an EFAP meeting to share your perspectives. Learn more on the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) website.

Employment First (EF) Plan Recommendations

The EFAP submitted its strategic plan to the Colorado General Assembly in November 2017 with specific recommendations to implement Employment First in Colorado.

  • Produce data measuring Colorado compliance with Olmstead
  • Implement: 
    • departmental EF policies and practices
    • evidence-based training for service providers
    • communication plans targeting employers, educators, people with disabilities and families
  • Create an Office of Employment First to implement EF policies and practices
  • Develop appropriate funding structures to increase employment service capacity
  • Design and coordinate best-practice pilot projects
  • Become a “model employer” for Colorado citizens with disabilities
JFK Partner Logo

The Colorado Office of Employment First sits under JFK Partners, the state’s University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, a program of the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Its creation was envisioned by Colorado Employment First Advisory Partnership (EFAP), a multi-state agency and stakeholder-led collaborative, and was made possible, in part, by funding from the Colorado Legislature and generously matched through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) at the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE).

© 2023 Colorado Office of Employment First. All Rights Reserved.

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