Employment First is a national initiative that encompasses policies, legislation, and system change efforts leading to increased community-based employment for people with disabilities. Employment First is a belief that community-based, integrated employment should be the primary day activity for working age youth and adults with disabilities. It supports an overarching goal that eligible persons with disabilities should have access to integrated work settings most appropriate for them, including the supports necessary to help them succeed in the workplace. Employment First does not mean employment only and does not deny individual choice, but is intended to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

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Employment First Fact Sheet
New Employment Service Codes

Success Stories

Terry's Employment Story Trey was so excited to get hired as an “official McDonald’s employee”. He is always inviting people to come and eat at McDonald’s when he is working his shift so people can see him work. He works very hard at his duties and goes above and beyond by holding the door open for customers and helping them find a seat after ordering. Trey’s manager says that he has been a great asset to their team, and does a fantastic job keeping the dining area clean. Trey’s job coach was able to help him through some difficulty at the beginning of his employment, but now he needs only very minimal coaching. Having this job has helped Trey feel like he is contributing and is more “grown-up” and provides opportunities for him to socialize, which he loves!


Our economy and society become more resilient when all people have the opportunity to gain employment in our community, including people of all abilities.

Employment is key to the Division’s Mission Statement of supporting people to lead self-determined lives and be full participants in their communities. Employment can provide greater opportunities for self-determination and integration into the community.

The Division is a named agency in Utah’s Employment First Priority legislation, 2011 House Bill 240. This law supports and gives priority to services that assist the person in obtaining and retaining meaningful employment. The Division has designed and is implementing a strategic plan for supporting the Employment First Initiative. The plan includes four strategic areas, (1) Stakeholder Education and Outreach, (2) Financing and Contract Methods, (3) Services and Service Innovation, and (4) Performance Measurement. The Division is collaborating with the national Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program (EFSLMP) to develop each of these core areas. Additionally, stakeholders are collaborating in an Employment First Task Force.
House Bill 240 – Employment First Priority