Employment First Massachusetts

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About Us

Employment First is a framework for systems change that promotes the idea that all people, with and without disabilities, are able to fully participate in competitive, integrated employment and community life.

Employment First MA is hosted by the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Massachusetts Boston and is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS). This site was developed to support the implementation of DDS’s Employment First policy and the Blueprint for Success: Employing Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities in Massachusetts.

To assist providers with the transformation from center-based work to work in the community, the ICI, with funding from DDS, provides training, technical assistance, and access to a wide range of tools and resources that support the Blueprint.

More people with disabilities are working at a competitive wage in their communities than ever before. At Employment First MA, you will find resources about community work, including practical guidelines, an overview of employment history, and stories of people with disabilities who are thriving in community-based careers. We have a variety of trainings, tools, videos, webinars, briefs, and other resources for employment specialists, job coaches, advocates, self-advocates, and others who work to promote inclusive employment for individuals with developmental disabilities.

For more information about training and technical assistance opportunities, or to submit a success story contact:

Cindy Thomas Associate Director
Institute for Community Inclusion/UCEDD
UMass Boston 100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, Massachusetts 02125
Voice:(617) 287-4312
Fax: (617) 287-4352
TTY: (617) 287-4350
Email: cindy.thomas@umb.edu

For more information about the Department of Developmental Service’s Employment First Policy and the Blueprint for Success, contact:

Margaret Van Gelder
Department of Developmental Services
500 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA Voice: (617) 624-7764
Email: Margaret.van.gelder@state.ma.us

For more information about the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston, visit our website at https://www.communityinclusion.org