Disability Employment Awareness Month
Increasing Employment Provider Capacity
The Council is committed to working with its partners like the LSU Health Sciences Center Human Development Center (HDC), the Advocacy Center, Louisiana APSE (the Association of People Support Employment First), the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council (LRC), and the Work Pay$ Coalition to increase the capacity of the employment provider system in Louisiana through increasing state match dollars and promoting the use of consistent definitions, evidence-based practice and training and technical assistance for employment providers.
Unfortunately the current system does not adequately support real, inclusive, community-based employment for individuals with developmental disabilities. The rate structure for supported employment tends to dis-incentivize supporting individuals in non-segregated, competitive employment opportunities. According to a Council-funded Employment Study published by the HDC, in 2006 only 24% of people with developmental disabilities were employed. The State Data: The National Report on Employment Services and Outcomes, published by the Institute for Community Inclusion demonstrates that only about one third of people with DD receiving services actually have integrated employment; another third participated in facility-based work and a third in facility-based non-work. The percentage of people with DD in integrated employment may be inflated due to the definition of “integrated employment” used. For example, the data from Louisiana included people working in so-called “mobile crews.”
Making Employment First a reality in Louisiana is a major focus of the Council as a member of the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities (OCDD)’s Employment First Workgroup. Joining with several other parent, advocate and agency members, the group developed the policy that for all persons receiving OCDD services, employment will be the first option considered. The DD Council also advocates that community home residents be included in the Employment First initiative.