Changing Lives through Integrated Employment

Employment First promotes community-based, integrated employment as the first option for employment services for individuals with disabilities. Conversations about Employment First are taking place in Rhode Island and across the nation. Rhode Island is part of the national movement toward a greater emphasis on community employment that echoes a general shift toward services designed to integrate individuals with disabilities into their communities, providing them with the same opportunities and responsibilities as all other citizens.

The Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH) is committed to assuring that people with disabilities can access employment services in the community, helping those with developmental disabilities and behavioral health issues achieve self-sufficiency through employment enhancement, work force development and job creation. In order to achieve these goals, the Department has created an Employment First policy, where employment in the general workforce is the first and preferred outcome for all working age citizens with disabilities, regardless of the level of disability.

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