In my work as an employment support professional supporting people with significant disabilities to find and maintain competitive, integrated employment, it was training that made the difference. The success of a transition away from 14C certificates toward community employment and employment first requires innovative and creative professionals supporting this transition.
In order to truly support a successful transition away from sheltered environments to workplace inclusion, we have to dedicate funds to training providers. This can come through supporting organizations like APSE, ACRE, and hiring the use of technical assistance to support states in this transition. Wait times through provider organizations is a problem, and capacity needs to be considered. Direct support professionals also need to be paid a living wage to support this work without interruption.
Additionally, employers have to be on board to make this a smooth transition. Large scale campaigns to businesses about the capability of ALL people and the benefits of hiring people with disabilities can be a focus to help facilitate this transition.
Learn more at apse.org about employment first.