Community Conversations to Increase Employment Opportunities for Young Adults With Developmental Disabilities in California
In 2013, California enacted an Employment First policy that prioritized competitive integrated employment as the first option and preferred outcome for adults with developmental disabilities. State agencies are working toward anchoring their policies and practices for successful local implementation of the Employment First policy. This study conducted community conversations to generate recommended strategies by local communities to increase the employment of people with disabilities. Drawing upon the World Café process, an assets-based approach, we engaged 431 employers, educators, disability agency staff, local and state government officials, individuals with disabilities, and other community members in seven geographically diverse areas across California to answer the question “What can we do to increase the number of people with disabilities working in our community?” In addition, responses to participant feedback and follow-up surveys offered additional insight into the perceived ability and readiness of communities to take action toward this goal. Analysis of the conversation notes and responses to the surveys underscored the importance of building partnerships with employers. This study highlights a useful approach for mobilizing communities’ local assets, resources, and ideas that can be used to advance state policy for employment.
Raynor, O., Hayward, K., Semenza, G., & Stoffmacher, B. (2017). Community conversations to increase employment opportunities for young adults with developmental disabilities in California. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 1044207317739405.
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