Kansas Employment First

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What is Competitive, Integrated Employment?

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About the Kansas Employment First Project

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Meet Our Grant Partners

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Employment Stories

Welcome to the Kansas Employment First Homepage

Kansas was the first state in the nation to adopt Employment First Legislation K.S.A. 44-1136-38 in 2011.

Employment First legislation sets as the official policy of the State of Kansas that competitive and integrated employment (employment in the community for the same wages as workers without disabilities) is the first option when serving people with disabilities, established definitions of "competitive" and "integrated" employment, and details the requirements of state agencies to conform to the law.

What is Competitive, Integrated Employment (CIE)?


Competitive, Integrated Employment (CIE) is defined as:

Work that is performed on a full-time or part-time basis for which an employee with a disability working in the community alongside non-disabled peers and is paid at or above minimum wage. Wages are similar to the rate paid by the employer to employees without disabilities performing similar tasks with similar training.

Why Competitive Integrated Employment is Important: Colin’s Story

About the Kansas Employment First Project

Beginning in October of 2023, the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) has partnered with the Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities (KUCDD) and the Kansas University Institute of Health and Disability Policy Studies (KU IHDPS) to help turn Kansas’ promise of Employment First into a reality for the state’s residents with disabilities.

  • KUCDD and KU IHDPS is teaming up with local, state, and national experts on employment to:
    • Convene Stakeholder Groups
    • Develop Actionable Policy Recommendations
    • Develop Robust Data Collection and Analysis Systems to Monitor Employment First Outcomes
    • Develop Infrastructure to Enhance Capacity for Employment First

Stakeholder Engagement

A key part of this project will be to establish a Steering Committee of Employment First stakeholders in Kansas.  The Steering Committee is a way to regularly engage stakeholders to identify barriers to CIE and make recommendations to expand Employment First in Kansas.  Stakeholders will also be engaged in various workgroups and participate in fact finding interviews throughout the project.

Policy Analysis and Recommendations

Another key part of this project is a comprehensive review of prior stakeholder policy reviews and recommendations along with an analysis of Kansas policy and service and outcome data.  Guided by the Steering Commitee and informed by stakeholder interviews, actionable policy recommendations will be identified and prioritized. 

The recommendations will inform the development of working groups that will develop and implement detailed policy action plans. The project anticipates 4-6 working groups that will address HCBS Waiver policy and procedures, Vocational and Rehabilitation (VR) policies and procedures, funding and rate design, transition planning, and capacity building. 

Data Collection and Analysis

Data collection will be a main activity in the Kansas Employment First Project.  Data collection and analysis will allow for a system to look at performance across individual programs and inform policy, practice, and rate recommendations.

Data analyses will include looking at many of the existing reports from the Employment First Commission and related policy documents from KDADS, KDHE and other stakeholders. It will also include summaries of stakeholder discussion sessions.

Capacity Building and Pilot Project

Capacity building efforts will employ training opportunities for Kansas Employment Professionals so that they will possess the tools and techniques they need to provide state of the art employment supports and services using evidence based best practices.

This Project also implements a Kansas Employment First Pilot as a way to demonstrate enhanced provider capacity for delivering supported employment services in Kansas. Through this demonstration pilot, we will train four agencies in different parts of the state to deliver high quality, person-centered, and evidence-based employment services.


Meet Our Grant Partners (Click on the website links to learn more)

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