Employment First: A Path to Competitive Integrated Employment


Act 36 - Employment First
Pennsylvania aims to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. In 2018, The Employment First Act of 2018, also known as Act 36, establishes the policy that competitive integrated employment (CIE) is the first consideration and preferred outcome of publicly funded education, training, employment and related services, and long-term services and support for individuals with a disability. Act 36 created the Governor's Cabinet for People with Disabilities and the Employment First Oversight Commission to ensure implementation of this policy.  The Governor’s Cabinet for People with Disabilities released a three-year plan outlining the commonwealth’s policy recommendations for implementing the Employment First initiative set forth by Act 36.  Additional information on Employment First, including the Act and annual reports from both the Cabinet and the Commission can be found on the Employment First website.   
Purpose of the Employment First Data Dashboard
The commonwealth is committed to making data-informed decisions with the utmost transparency in collaboration with communities impacted by the policies implemented. By putting forth this public-facing data, the commonwealth seeks to increase awareness of the statewide successes and challenges related to the competitive integrated employment of individuals with disabilities. The data will also be utilized by commonwealth agencies and community stakeholders to track the progress of workforce development programs and policies seeking to support those with disabilities. 
Organization of the Employment First Data Dashboard
Multiple agencies and offices in the Commonwealth provide employment services and support to advance Employment First policy goals. The annual Cabinet and Commission reports capture an extensive amount of information pertaining to these efforts. As a complement to these reports, this dashboard reflects a set of core data elements regarding employment services and employment outcomes for Pennsylvanians with a disability. The dashboard starts with the overall picture of employment rates of Pennsylvanians with disabilities. This is followed by data sets that show specific participation and outcomes of Pennsylvanians with disabilities served by various programs, starting with transition support in the K-12 system to several employment services for working age adults. 
Note: Additional data details can be found through the View Source Data link at the bottom right of each chart. 

A Student's Transition from School to Work
"I want him to have a job that he loves, to make good money, and to be happy as a contributing member of society. My thought was that maybe he starts in a program and learns some skills and then builds to the next level of more competitive employment."

Labor Force Participation

Labor Force Participation includes people who are currently working and those who are actively looking for work. This data set shows the labor force participation rate for individuals with disabilities (orange line), those without disabilities (dark blue line), and the total rate for all individuals (light blue line). This data is Pennsylvania specific and is sourced from the U.S. Census' Current Population Survey (CPS).
The data given for each month is a "rolling" average, which represents the average for the 12 month period ending with the reference month. For example: The July 2019 “People with Disabilities Participation Rate” is the average participation rate of August 2018 – July 2019. The August 2019 rate is the average of September 2018 – August 2019, and so on.

Transition from High School to the Workforce - IEP Transition Measures by County

High school students with disabilities have shown significant progress in achieving competitive integrated employment post-graduation. Individualized Education Programs (IEP) are utilized to establish goals and specific steps to assist students with transitioning into the workforce with competitive pay and opportunities for growth. Additional information, including quarterly data can be found on the Act 26 report page.

IEP Transition Measures - Top 10 Counties

High School Students with Disabilities Who Enter Competitive Integrated Employment within Three Months of Their Graduation

In the chart below, the orange line shows high school students with disabilities who enter CIE within three months of their graduation. The blue line shows people with disabilities who enter CIE and had been students while OVR customers. Information is provided by State Fiscal Year (SFY) quarters. The SFY runs from July 1st - June 30th each year.

Individuals Enrolled with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) - Employment and Average Wages

OVR’s goal is to support customers in achieving competitive integrated employment.  The chart below shows the number of individuals placed into CIE in each state fiscal year and the average salary of those placements.

Individuals Aged 18-64 with an Intellectual Disability or Autism enrolled with the Office of Developmental Programs

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) serves individuals with an intellectual disability or autism. In support of the Employment First Act and Everyday Lives philosophy, ODP provides services that support an individual to obtain and maintain competitive integrated employment. Each individual enrolled with ODP has an Individual Support Plan (ISP) developed using Person Centered Planning. The ISP is updated at least annually, or more if needed.
Employment Goals: The ISP includes if an individual has an employment goal. Some examples of an employment goal are: exploring competitive integrated employment; increasing or decreasing hours of current employment; changing jobs; or career advancement.
Individuals in CIE: The number of individuals in competitive integrated employment is captured by the Supports Coordinator when conducting Individual Monitoring.  The frequency of Individual Monitoring varies depending on the program in which the individual is enrolled.

Individuals Aged 21-64 with Disabilities enrolled with the Office of Long Term Living's Community HealthChoices Waiver Program

The Office of Long Term Living (OLTL) Community HealthChoices Waiver Program (CHC) serves older Pennsylvanians and individuals with a physical disability and limited other disability types. In support of the Employment First Act and a person centered planning model, CHC provides services that support an individual to obtain and maintain competitive integrated employment. Each individual enrolled with CHC’s home and community based waiver program has a Person Centered Service Plan (PCSP) directed by the CHC participant. The PCSP is updated at least annually, or more if needed.
To advance the goal of Employment First the CHC waiver offers participants access to five specific employment services: Benefits Counseling, Career Assessments, Job Finding, Job Coaching, Employment Skills Development Services. Due to the person centered planning process, the provision of these services are at the participant's direction. As Medicaid funded services, these are provided by the CHC plan only after other non-Medicaid funded services are determined to be unavailable.
Confirmed CIE: The number of individuals in employment and who are confirmed to be in competitive integrated employment is captured by the CHC Managed Care Organization through their network of Service Coordinators.
Employed: Individuals who have a job for which they receive compensation.
Employment Goals: The PCSP includes if an individual has an employment goal. Some examples of an employment goal are: exploring competitive integrated employment; increasing or decreasing hours of current employment; changing jobs; or career advancement. 
HCBS Authorizations: The number of individuals who were authorized to receive HCBS employment services offered though the 1915(c) waiver.
Initial data reflects the 6 month period from January 2021-June 2021; data will continue to be reported over time on a biannual basis. 

Individuals Receiving Services from PA CareerLink Workforce Programs who have a Disability

Pennsylvania's workforce development system enables businesses and workers to compete in the worldwide economy. Across the commonwealth, the workforce system, PennsylvaniaCareerLink® staff and their partners are working to connect job seekers and employers while improving individuals' access to education and training. There are several core workforce programs within the PA CareerLink system, including Adult, Dislocated Worker, Youth, Trade, and Wagner Peyser. There are also many other partner programs within the PA CareerLink system that individuals may participate in. The below data sets show the number and percent of participants in these core and partner programs who self-identify as having a disability.
For example: In 2018, 12.1% of the participants in adult workforce development programs self-identified as having a disability.

Employment Outcomes of Individuals who Completed PA CareerLink Workforce Programs 

These are individuals with a disability who completed service (no longer participants) who found employment after services. Due to a lag in wage/employment data, this data is based on counts of people who completed services in the prior program year.
Additional Information: Office of Vocational Rehabilitation