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.
This Person-First terminology sheet can help you know what terms are generally preferred by the disability community and what terms to avoid.
This Disability Sensitivity video provides some additional tips for interacting with individuals with disabilities.
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.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehab Act) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs operated by federal agencies or that utilize federal financial assistance. It also covers employment practices of federal employers and federal contractors.
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) creates significant reforms to our public workforce development system, including increasing the focus on individuals with barriers to work, expanding education and training options, and requiring additional planning and accountability across service systems. Many areas of WIOA speak to services for people with disabilities.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA is divided into five titles that relate to different areas of public life, including employment, local and state government services, public accommodations, and telecommunications.
The US Department of Labor’s Guidance on the ADA goes over the myths and facts surrounding employment and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Final Rule requires every state to ensure services provided to seniors and people with disabilities through HCBS Medicaid waivers are provided in the most integrated settings and that these individuals have access to autonomy and community life.
The Olmstead Decision is a civil rights ruling that requires states to eliminate unnecessary segregation of individuals with disabilities and ensures these individuals have access to services in the most integrated settings.
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.
Transition Alliance of South Carolina (TASC) is focused on providing interagency teams the resources to increase their capacity to collaboratively and effectively serve young adults with disabilities who are transitioning from high school to adult life. Training opportunities can be found here.
The Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) is the only national non-profit membership organization dedicated to the advancement of Employment First. APSE offers webinars to service providers and hosts a national conference. Click here to contact the SC APSE chapter.
Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) Community of Practice has information related to Employment First and increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Monthly webinars are typically held the second Wednesday of the month from 3:00-4:00 pm EST. Sign up to receive notifications of these webinars.
WorkforceGPS is an interactive online communication and learning technical assistance platform that was designed to communicate with and build the capacity of the public workforce investment system. To access their disability employment section, click here.
WINTAC provides training and technical assistance to State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies, related agencies, rehabilitation professionals, and service providers to help them develop the skills and processes needed to meet the requirements of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).
The LEAD Center focuses on promoting innovation in policy, employment, and economic advancement to advance individual and systems level change for all people with disabilities. DRIVE is a section of the LEAD Center and houses national data as well as state profiles on disability employment; visit South Carolina’s state profile here.
Customized Employment is an employment service that builds new positions based on the needs of an employer and the strengths of the job seeker. It is an effective way to assist people with more significant disabilities to become contributing members of today's workforce. For further information, visit ODEP’s resource page on customized 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.