New Heldrich report: Advancing New Jersey’s Employment First Practices and Policies

In 2012, New Jersey become an Employment First state to promote competitive employment for people with disabilities. New Jersey is currently one of 39 states with an Employment First policy. In spite of this policy shift toward Employment First, the mainstream labor force participation rate for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in New Jersey has not significantly increased and continues to lag behind national trends. To address this issue, in March 2021, the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities contracted with the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development to evaluate New Jersey’s Employment First policies and practices, and to develop recommendations and an advocacy plan to increase meaningful competitive employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in New Jersey. This work was done in partnership with the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

The Heldrich Center is pleased to share the results of this study, including an executive summary and action plan in both English and Spanish as well as a longer, more detailed research report.