Service provider Resources


What are my responsibilities as a service provider?

People with disabilities, like those without disabilities, have individual abilities, talents, interests and needs. It is vital that service providers recognize this individualism and provide a person-centered approach to services. One out of every five Americans has a disability, and their potential to enrich our workplaces and communities is only limited when we box them in to certain roles and stereotypes.

Language and Etiquette

When providers use Person-First Language, they help shift the culture to one that views a person with a disability as a person first and foremost. A disability should never be anyone’s defining characteristic, but one trait taken into context of the whole person. Using Person-First Language helps eliminate generalizations and stereotypes by focusing on the person rather than the disability. Our language has the ability to shape attitudes, drive social change, and affect individual outcomes. 


There are laws that outline the services people with disabilities are entitled to, as well as how those services are to be performed. It is beneficial for service providers to stay up to date with these laws in order to better support people with disabilities.

What is Employment First?

Employment First means that employment in the general workforce should be the first and preferred option for individuals with disabilities. What does “employment in the general workforce” mean? It’s simple. - Employment in the general workforce means regular jobs like everyone else in society: in typical work settings, working side by side with people without disabilities, earning at least earning minimum wage with the same benefits as their coworkers without disabilities, and contributing economically to being part of the economic mainstream of our society. Simply put, Employment First means real jobs, real wages.

Employment First begins with a presumption that a person with a disability can work. For people without disabilities, employment is the expectation, yet people with disabilities often have to demonstrate their “readiness” for employment. Employment First assumes that individuals are capable of working; therefore, employment in the general workforce is the first path pursued.

Why Employment First? Seven out of ten people with disabilities in South Carolina are unemployed (US Census, 2016 American Community Survey). Per the US Department of Labor, the workforce participation rate for individuals with disabilities is about one-third that of people without disabilities. This disparity is unacceptable; we know that people with disabilities can work and want to work! With assistance, accommodations, and encouragement, promising programs across that nation have proven that many more people with disabilities can work successfully in the community.

The Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) is a national organization built on the guiding principles of Employment First. Click here for their statement on Employment First.

What support and training is available to me?

There are local and national resources and trainings that you can access as a service provider to enhance your skills and build your capacity to support people with disabilities in employment.

What resources are available to people with disabilities?

There is a wealth of information and resources for people with disabilities on our resources for job seekers page.