8A Employment First
Retired Senator Tom Harkin (Iowa) called employment the “unfinished business” of the ADA, noting a quarter century after the landmark law was passed, Americans with disabilities are still dramatically underrepresented in the labor force. While the root causes for this are complex, recent federal interpretations of state and local governments’ obligations under Title II of the ADA have illustrated clearly the government’s critical role in addressing un and underemployment among Americans with disabilities. Since 2002, states and employment advocates have increasingly embraced the concept of “Employment First”. Come to this session to learn about the history and accomplishments surrounding Employment First nationally, including how the ADA and the Olmstead decision are playing a central role in reforming publicly funded disability support programs to make employment an expectation and a priority.