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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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

New DSPD Employment Service Codes

More about Employment

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

What is it:

Why it Matters:



Individualized job exploration, placement, and career mobility for people in services.

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 collects and reviews many sources of information to improve the employment outlook for people in services.