Employment First Missouri: Expanding Community Employment Efforts for People with Disabilities in Missouri

February 11, 2022

Employment First Missouri believes that everyone has the right to earn a living wage in a job of their choosing, based on their unique talents, gifts, skills, and interests. Employment First promotes integrated employment as the primary goal for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Missouri.

Through the ICI, Employment First Missouri provides free training, coaching, and technical assistance (TA) to service providers and staff who contract with the Missouri Department of Mental Health’s Division of Developmental Disabilities to provide individuals Medicaid Waiver Employment Services. These services must focus on advancing community employment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Missouri.

ICI Missouri-based staff provide this training, mentoring, coaching, and TA to service providers around a variety of topics, including:

  • staffing structures
  • organizational and staff competency and capacity
  • service structure and flow
  • reconfiguration of resources
  • individual and family engagement
  • business and community partnership development

Employment First Missouri staff customize their TA, mentoring, coaching, and training to meet the needs and goals of each service provider organization. They begin by conducting a needs assessment to determine and prioritize service provider needs. Then, Employment First staff develop the unique TA plan and intervention based on the results of this needs assessment.

Employment First Missouri also hosts communities of practice with service providers across the state. Communities of practice give opportunities for providers who are focused on expanding integrated employment and community integration in Missouri to connect with and learn from each other.

Currently, Employment First Missouri offers trainings on a variety of topics for service providers who work with job seekers with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including:

  • community employment exploration & planning 
  • technology to support employment success
  • community life engagement
  • community-focused job coaching & support strategies
  • task analysis and breaking down jobs
  • do’s and don’ts of volunteering
  • business engagement & job development
  • promoting person-first language

Employment First Missouri staff include:

David Hoff, Program Director | [email protected]

Nick Holz, Training Associate | [email protected]

Jessica Keenoy, Training Associate | [email protected] 

Learn more about Employment First Missouri!