Believe it’s Possible
As you begin your search for meaningful employment, you may come up against the lack of belief from those who support you — belief in whether you really can join the workforce, or whether it’s even a good idea. You may have to seek out people who do believe it’s possible for you to find meaningful employment. You may have to be firm and clearly state that work is a priority. Make this clear at meetings you attend, such as Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Individual Support Plan (ISP) meetings. Tell your support coordinators, case managers and school guidance counselors. Work with them to create a path to employment!
A few nationally known agencies with connections to Georgia are on the cutting edge of Employment First. You can also get inspiration and ideas from states where Employment First is the law of the land and effective programs are up and running.
National agencies that lead the way in Employment First thinking:
Marc Gold Associates: http://marcgold.com
Griffin-Hammis & Associates: http://griffinhammis.com
Georgia agencies behind Employment First Georgia:
The Ga. Council on Developmental Disabilities: http://gcdd.org
The Ga. Advocacy Office: http://thegao.org
States with strong Employment First programs:
State Agencies in Georgia
The Ga. Vocational Rehabilitation Agency offers services that help people with disabilities obtain meaningful employment: http://gvra.georgia.org
The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities helps people with developmental disabilities in the area of employment through state funding or Medicaid waivers: http://dbhdd.georgia.gov
The state division of special education services and supports in the Department of Education supports local school districts in improving outcomes for students in special education: http://www.gadoe.org/Pages/Home.aspx
The Job Accomodations Network is a Department of Labor-funded source of free, expert and confidential information about workplace accomodation and disability employment. It is quite extensive.: http://askjan.org
The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is responsible for developing and shaping policies and practices that increase the number and quality of jobs for people with disabilities: http://dol.gov/odep