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Employment First in Michigan

Employment First in Michigan
November 2019

This report builds on the  2014 Michigan Developmental Disabilities Network report, “Employment First in Michigan,” which examined the employment status of Michigan adults with developmental disabilities (DD) and/or dual diagnosis (co-occurring DD and mental illness) and state policies that align with  employment First goals.The 2019 report on Employment First highlights where employment conditions have improved, what challenges remain, and what policy and practice changes are required to continue Michigan’s improvement in providing access to competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities. If you have any questions please contact Yasmina Bouraoui at or 517-335-3158. 

2019 Report on Employment First in Michigan

Appendices to the 2019 Employment First in Michigan Report

Appendix 1-Michigan DD Council Position Statement

Appendix 2-Michigan Autism Employment First Statement 2014

Appendix 3-Michigan Employment First Executive Order 2015-15

Appendix 4-Employment First Stakeholders Mission, Vision and Values

Appendix 5-Transition to Employment Super MOU 2016

Appendix 6-BHDDA and MRS MOU 2017

Appendix 7-MRS and MDE Interagency Agreement 

Appendix 8-Michigan Employment First Strateic Plan September 2019

Appendix 9-Lessons Learned from 2015-2019 Employment First Initiatives


 Family Engagment around Employment Train-the-Trainer Initiative


The Michigan Employment First Initiative sponsored the creation of two training resources to build the capacity of educators, employment professionals and advocates on how to better engage families around employment. During the train-the-trainer session, Mr. Roy spoke about the crucial role families’ play in the lives of youth and adults with significant disabilities. Engaging families and self-advocates has proven to improve employment outcomes for individuals with I/DD.

A Future that Includes Employment: A Workshop for Families

Target Audience: Family members and caregivers of youth with significant disabilities. Though the presentation is appropriate for families of youth of all ages, the content is designed to inform families with youth ages 12-26 about employment possibilities. This training may also be useful as a professional training resource, helping those working with families to better understand how to envision high expectations for employment success.

Materials that support this presentation include: 



Lighting the Way: Helping Families See Possibilities in Competitive Employment

Target Audience:  Employment professionals who work with youth and individuals with significant disabilities. It aims to help attendees better understand the experience and motivations of families so working relationships can be built and community-based employment outcomes can improve. This session is appropriate for staff of employment programs, VR counselors, educators (including transition and work experience coordinators), and other professionals that participate in the employment process.


Materials that support this presentation include:


Employment First in Michigan: How Many Tools Do you Have in Your Toolbox?


Report to Michigan on Recommendations for Systems Transformation Related to Employment First

This document is intended as guidance for public agencies, educators, and policymakers. It lays out a vision for the ideal system of transition in Michigan.  It was developed as a result of Michigan’s participation in the Employment First State Mentoring Program, funded by the US Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).  


Michigan's Employment First Report

On September 22nd, 2014 DD Network( MPAS, DDI and DD Council) released a report on Employment First in Michigan. This report outlines the dismal employment circumstances in Michigan for individuals with disabilities, particularly those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

EFLMP Quarterly Bulletin- Michigan signs ‘Super’ MOU to Support Transition to Employment  


Transition to Employment- Michigan's Super MOU


ODEP Year- End Report

Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program (EFSLMP) initiative aims to advance systems transformation related to Employment First in Michigan.  It is working for the establishment of statewide policies that promote increased opportunities for competitive integrated employment among people with disabilities. This year-end report highlights what the grant has accomplished. 


Memorandum of Understanding 

In 2017, Michigan strengthened its focus on effective cross-agency collaboration at the state level that could ensure similar collaboration at the local level and around individuals with disabilities served by both the Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Administration (BHDDA) and Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS). As a critical part of these efforts, and in light of the passage of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the agencies worked intensively to craft a Memorandum of Understanding addressing “common customers” requiring both MRS services and BHDDA services (administered locally through PIHPs/CMHSPs) to obtain and maintain competitive integrated employment, including supported employment services for individuals with the most significant disabilities. 


2018 Employment First Conference

Employment First is a state and national movement to help individuals with disabilities in Michigan realize their fullest employment potential through the achievement of individual, competitive integrated employment outcomes.

2018 ODDS Expenditure Guidelines

Action Plan

Benefits to Employment

Braided and Blended Resources to Support Competitive Integrated Employment Outcomes

Building Employee Buy-in for Provider Transformation

Employment Discussion Guide for PA SC

Employment First Update

Employment First - Building a Culture That Expects Job Success

Us and Them: Understanding the Family Experience and Making them Your Most Valuable Partner

Michigan Path to Employment: Part 1

Michigan Path to Employment: Part 2

Potential Partnership Service Delivery and Funding Model Strategies

Path to Employment: Expenditure-Guidelines

Path to Employment: Updated IM

Path to Employment: Action Plan

Path to Employment: Discussion Guide

Path to Employment: Individual Support Plan (ISP)

Path to Employment: The Role of the Career Development Plan – Part One

Path to Employment: The Role of the Career Development Plan – Part Two

Path to Employment: Person Centered Information

Path to Employment: Selecting Employment Providers Guide

Path to Employment: Tennessee Workforce Partnerships

Rate Restructuring: Part 1

Rate Restructuring: Part 2

Recruiting, Training, and Supporting the Right Staff

Tools of the Trade: Part 2

Tools of the Trade: Part 2 - First Impressions