Employment First Position – Adopted by the MARO Board of Directors, July 23, 2015

The mission of Employment First in Michigan is to establish the expectation for all working-age citizens with disabilities in Michigan to gain competitive, integrated employment.

Competitive integrated employment shall be the optimal outcome for working age adults with disabilities receiving services in Michigan’s Mental Health system.

For the purpose of this policy,

Competitive integrated employment shall mean

(i) Is performed on a full-time or part-time basis (including self-employment) and for which an individual is compensated at a rate that –

(A) Is not less than the applicable State or local minimum wage law;

(B) Is not less than the customary rate paid by the employer for the same or similar work performed by other employees who are not individuals with disabilities;

(C) Is a job in which the employee is included on the payroll of the business, a staffing agency, or a community rehabilitation organization;

(ii) Is at a location—
(A) Typically found in the community; and

(B) Where the employee with a disability interacts with other persons who are not individuals with disabilities (not including supervisory personnel or individuals who are providing services to such employee) to the same extent that employees who are not individuals with disabilities and who are in comparable positions interact with these persons; and

(iii) Presents, as appropriate, opportunities for advancement that are similar to those for other employees who are not individuals with disabilities and who have similar positions. 

Employment services shall be delivered using processes that align with the principles of person- centered planning, self-determination, and informed choice based on the individual’s talents, skills and interests.

Employment supports shall be provided in the amount, duration, and intensity that allow persons with disabilities to work the maximum number of hours consistent with their abilities in the most integrated employment setting appropriate to their needs.

Employment preparation may include career exploration, job discovery and development, job coaching, job training, benefits counseling, personal care services, and job customization.

It is further recognized that a comprehensive array of employment services shall be a part of a menu of options, and people with disabilities in Michigan shall be able to access these options based on each individual’s desires, needs, goals, and informed choice.  Services shall be provided in the least restrictive environment, in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of the individual.  It is also recognized that though the optimal goal shall be competitive, integrated employment, intermediate steps and services may be needed to assist people along their path to that desired outcome – including employment in a facility-based environment.  A full spectrum of service options, including both facility-based and community-based employment, shall be maintained, within a person-centered, self-determined service delivery system.