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Maryland. Work Matters. Maryland’s Employment First Initiative. Joined State Employment Leadership Network in December 2007 with support from the MD Medicaid Infrastructure Grant.

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Work Matters

maryland s employment first initiative
Maryland’s Employment First Initiative

Joined State Employment Leadership Network in December 2007 with support from the MD Medicaid Infrastructure Grant.

  • DDA conducted self assessment of strengths and weaknesses of current employment service system and held several focus groups to gather input from key stakeholders
  • Committed to becoming an Employment First state and created an Advisory Committee and larger Stakeholder Planning group.

Since then, Maryland has:

  • Developed a 10 year timeline
  • Implemented new Waiver services: Employment Discovery and Customization (time limited) and Community Services and Learning
  • Created Medicaid Buy In and amended DDA waivers
  • Created Organizational Change Peer to Peer Network
challenges for afp employment first planning team
Challenges for AFP/Employment First Planning Team
  • Staffing/turnover
  • Lag time in achieving outcomes/results and maintaining engagement of stakeholders
  • Lack of individual and parent representation
  • Disconnect from other DDA systems change activities
  • Effort is being driven by individuals and programs already committed to employment
  • Trying to do too much
  • Power of Urban Legend
new leadership current priorities
New Leadership/Current Priorities

Frank Kirkland, new DDA Director, strongly committed to employment.

  • Development of recommended changes to all DDA Regulations to support Employment First
  • Implementation of DORS/DDA changes to eliminate need for separate DORS application
  • Hiring Employment staff person at DDA
  • Continuation of Organizational System Change Peer to Peer Network, funded by DDC
  • Develop recommendations/strategies for transition age youth employment first policy
business strategies to explore
Business Strategies to Explore
  • Early Intervention/Retention/Advancement
  • Employer Satisfaction/Partnership—Project Search, Natural Supports
  • Develop business competencies of key staff which are different from human services competencies
  • Consider messages conveyed when fundraising about the skills and abilities of individuals with disabilities
  • Risk Management
  • Customized Employment Principles
parents and individual strategies
Parents and Individual Strategies
  • Outreach to parents of elementary school highlighting successes and raising expectations
  • Increase Parent Mentoring
  • Offer Pre-benefits counseling
  • Develop and share networks more broadly for job development
  • Ensure both parents and individuals are actively engaged and outspoken in support of Employment First
  • Identify and market successes
systems considerations
Systems Considerations
  • Does everyone in the system believe in/support employment outcomes?
  • How to blend funding that ensures services and rewards outcomes?
  • What data do we need to pay the most attention to?
  • What other system transformations can we learn from? I.e. deinstitutionalization.
  • Are we effectively linking to resources outside the DD system, i.e. One Stops, DORS?

What data can we stop collecting and what do we need to start collecting and analyzing?

  • What opportunities are readily available for change?
  • What can we learn from the past? Ie. Supported Employment Systems Change grant, deinstitutionalization.
  • Are we effectively linking to resources outside the DD system, ie One Stops, DORS?
parents and individuals with disabilities
Parents and Individuals with Disabilities

We WANT you to be part of Maryland’s Employment First planning efforts!!


Contact to get involved:

Jade Gingerich

Director of Employment Policy

Maryland Department of Disabilities Job Seekers Employers