New York State Partnerships in Employment (NYS PIE): Helping to advance Employment First Policy in NY (NY UCEDD/LEND)

May 7, 2015

Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) at the University of Rochester Medical Center, currently directs the New York State Partnerships in Employment Project (NYS PIE). NYS PIE is a Project of National Significance funded by AIDD to promote systems alignment in support of competitive, integrated employment for youth and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. One deliverable of this effort is to coordinate with state agencies and relevant stakeholder groups to advance the development of an Employment First Policy for New York.

On September 17, 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo established an Employment First Commission tasked with developing recommendations to inform the creation of a policy for New York. SCDD has been actively engaged in both consultation and advocacy throughout this process, providing data, feedback and other resources to the Commission. Susan Hetherington, Co-Director for SCDD was appointed as an advisor to the Employment First Commission, and Julie Christensen, Director of Employment Programs at SCDD provided critical testimony to the commission.

The final Report and Recommendations of the Commission was released on March 1, 2015
Recommendations center on increasing employment opportunities and reducing poverty for individuals with disabilities and engaging business communities to promote policies and hiring practices that support individuals with disabilities.

The issuance of the report is significant in that it represents the cumulative work of a broad array of individuals and families, governmental agencies, and advocacy, trade, and provider organizations who have partnered together towards the common goal of improving employment outcomes for people with disabilities.