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Stakeholder Engagement Sought to Refocus Efforts on Employment First: Making the Promise of Employment First an Everyday Reality in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. -- At this time, instead of focusing on monitoring, the Employment First Oversight Commission is refocusing its efforts to hear input and ideas from stakeholders, it was announced Wednesday in an e-mail blast.

These stakeholders include people with disabilities, disability advocacy organizations, providers, associations, state agencies, and other Kansans. The EFOC needs help to identify what’s working and what’s not working with Employment First.

The Commission is in place to listen, learn and reach out to stakeholders -- focusing on both what is happening and what still needs to happen.

The Commission seeks input on the following topics:

  • How would programs, services and supports look and operate differently in the future when Employment First is both consistently implemented and the everyday reality in Kansas?
  • How would you define successful implementation of the Employment First law?
  • What barriers do you see to ensuring that competitive and integrated employment is consistently and meaningfully presented as the first option to Kansans with disabilities?
  • Based on your experiences, what specific solutions or ideas do you want to see implemented at the state agency, program or provider level to ensure that competitive and integrated employment is consistently and meaningfully the first option for Kansans with disabilities?
  • How do you want to see state agencies, divisions, programs and the Commission obtain stakeholder engagement regarding Employment First?
  • How can we ensure it is meaningful?
  • Based on your experiences, what effective programs, services or initiatives have been implemented that carry out Employment First?
  • Are there specific policies, programs, barriers or regulations you think need to be changed?
  • Are there innovations or opportunities to help to better deliver on the promise of Employment First?
  • What is your perspective on the state of implementation of the Employment First law?
  • What do you think needs to be done for more Kansans with disabilities to become employed?
  • What do you need to be able to promote Employment First?
  • For persons with a disability: when you interacted with a program or provider, were you asked about competitive and integrated employment?
  • Was it the first option?
  • Were you told of the law?
  • Where can you help?

Input can be offered either in writing, in person, or both. The next Employment First Oversight Commission meeting is March 22 from 9 a.m. to Noon at the Landon State Office Building, 900 SW Jackson, Room 102 Conference Room, Topeka. Conference Call-in Number: (866) 620-7326; Participant code: 570 873 1829#

E-mail comments may be submitted to either This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To accommodate people with disabilities auxiliary aides and services will be provided on request. Please notify us at (800) 295-5232 at least 5 business days prior to the meeting date.

Background – What is Employment First?
Employment First is a law that went into effect on July 1, 2011, that requires, among other things, all state agencies and their programs and services offer as the FIRST option competitive and integrated employment when helping people with disabilities of working age.

Also, state agencies must “ensure that state programs, policies, procedures and funding support competitive and integrated employment of individuals with disabilities.”

What types of Programs and Services Must Ensure that Competitive and Integrated Employment is Truly the FIRST Option?
The Employment First mandate applies broadly to all state agencies and any program or service that assists people with disabilities with skills and opportunities to become employed, including but not limited to Medicaid Waiver Services, mental health services, supported employment, person-centered planning, developing plans of care, case management, care coordination, day services, job coaching, job placement, workforce development, transition services in special education, vocational rehabilitation and many more.

Please contact Rocky Nichols (785-273-9661), Chair of the Commission or Kerrie Bacon (785) 296-6527, Staff for the Commission, with any questions, or visit the website --