The Association of People Supporting Employmentfirst (APSE) says it best: ”Employment First, means that employment in the general workforce should be the first and preferred option for individuals with disabilities receiving assistance from publicly funded systems. Simply put, Employment First means real jobs, real wages.”

A traditional mental model assumes that persons with disabilities need to be prepared for employment. Employment First turns that assumption around by promoting—and demonstrating—that almost everyone is ready for competitive employment, with the help of job accommodations that are often surprisingly simple and inexpensive to implement. According to APSE, Delaware is one of 32 states with a formal policy action on Employment First in the form of a Policy Directive, Executive Order or Legislation. Well over half the states that have enacted an Employment First policy have done since 2011.