The Employment First Law Basicsman working store

Governor Walker signed Employment First Law on March 28. Read the law here.

*NEW: See this presentation about the new law from the 2018 Employment First Conference.

Read The Arc Wisconsin’s press release about the March 28 bill signing here.

Employment First is supported by employment service providers, disability advocacy organizations and people with disabilities statewide, including:

• The Arc Wisconsin
• Disability Rights Wisconsin
• Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities
• Special Olympics Wisconsin
• Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin
• Bethesda Lutheran Communities
• Easterseals of Southeast Wisconsin
• Wisconsin Down Syndrome Advocacy Coalition
• Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations
• Headwaters, Inc.
• Black River Industries
• Rehabilitation for Wisconsin in Action; Disability Service Provider Network

A Summary of the law:

• Requires state agencies (DPI, DHS, DVR) to set Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE) as their priority policy.
• Specifically PROTECTS a person’s choice of facility-based employment services or sheltered work. These services are still allowable if provided in accordance with current law. This element was added to the bill to provide assurance and secure support from service providers.
• Requires state agencies to collaborate and develop a joint plan to improve rates of CIE. They will identify barriers and discuss policy changes or data sharing agreements that can help. Agencies are required to work with stakeholders.
• Requires State Agencies to set benchmarks and goals (jointly and by individual agency) for improvement in CIE rates. This will include measuring number of people working, wages, hours working, etc.
• State agency plans and reports on progress must be published on a public website.
• Requires that DHS assess how to conduct a study that would tell us how people’s services are changing because of this new policy – asking questions about whether services are reduced or enhanced. This includes an assessment of any change or reduction in use of facility-based employment (sheltered workshop) services.