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Governmental activity from 2008-2016 revitalized existing employment policy and saw new initiatives characterized by collaboration across federal and state agencies. These initiatives promoted and prioritized inclusive lives in the community for individuals with disabilities and clearly defined competitive and integrated employment. Legislation, guidance, recommendations, and regulations were due to the leadership of the Obama Administration, the National Governor's Association, the Business Leadership Network, and state governments, with a strong focus on inclusion in work and community for people with disabilities.

Employment First

In 2004, the State of Washington's Division of Developmental Disabilities established a Working Age Adult Policy stating that, "each individual will be supported to pursue his or her own unique path to work, a career, or his or her contribution to/participation in community life. All individuals, regardless of the challenge of their disability, will be afforded an opportunity to pursue competitive employment… Supports to pursue and maintain gainful employment in integrated settings in the community shall be the primary service option for working age adults." (County Services for Working Age Adults, Policy 411).

Using Washington as an example, advocates and policy makers began to champion "Employment First" for their communities, with competitive employment being the first option offered and funded by state agencies. By 2018, APSE identified 49 states having some type of employment first action such as legislation, policy statement, Executive Order, or memoranda of agreements.

Employment First Report (PDF).