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Employment First in Ohio


The history of Employment First in Ohio has included broad stakeholder input, activities have been implemented to support the ongoing paradigm shift in our culture to one that truly recognizes and embraces the contributions and capabilities of people with developmental disabilities.


  • Building a Bridge Phase I (2011-2014)
  • Ohio joins the State Employment Leadership Network (SELN) with support from DD Council
  • SELN collects input from stakeholders and issues Findings and Observations Report
  • Stakeholders convene and urge for an Employment First directive.

July 2012

Mar. 2013

  • Employment First Website launches

June 2013

  • Inaugural Employment First Conference takes place to sold-out crowd

July 2013

  • Employment First statute creates the presumption that all people are capable of community employment
  • Employment First line item is established
  • Taskforce Common Principles agreement is signed by state directors
  • The Advisory Committee Training Workgroup developed the Local Leaders project to identify the needs of local communities and develop action plans to address the identified needs. Six communities were selected to participate in Local Leaders in 2014-2015

Jan. 2014

  • CMS published a final rule to change HCBS waiver provisions to convey expectations regarding person-centered plans of care and to provide characteristics of settings that are home and community-based.

Feb. 2014

Aug. 2014

July 2016

April 2017

  • Ohio’s HCBS waiver day and employment services amended to further incentivize community employment, including rate modifications and new individualized Career Planning services.

Sept. 2017

  • A workgroup was established to generate information about the range of practices being used in Ohio to pay individuals enrolled in adult employment services and review legislation, rule, and Technical Guidance pertaining to payment to individuals.
  • Workgroup developed guidance distributed in June, 2018.

Aug. 2018

Jan. 2020

July 2021

  • Final Blueprint Proposal providing recommendations for improving adult day support services, transportation services, and strengthening competitive integrated employment outcomes.