Oregon’s Employment First Policy

Aug 04
Carrie Howell, Senior Director
Dungarvin Oregon

Oregon is making big changes to its Employment services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Oregon’s Office of Developmental Disability Services (ODDS), Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), as well as many other community partners and stakeholders, are working together to improve, streamline, and expand Oregon’s delivery of employment services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The purpose of this change is to promote individual integrated employment, or self-employment, for individuals accessing ODDS Employment Services, optimally with compensation at or above the state’s minimum wage, and not less than the wage and level of benefits paid for the same or similar work performed by individuals without disabilities.

These changes are in response to a number of factors including Oregon’s Employment First policy, Oregon’s Executive Order 13-04, as well as guidance and regulations mandated by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as the primary funding source of ODDS. These changes and the resulting expansion of services will benefit individuals with disabilities, their families, our communities, local businesses, the economy, and the state.

The presumption underlying the expansion in services is that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are capable of working in an integrated employment setting that is consistent with personal and career goals as well as individual ability and choice. Employment services available through ODDS will serve to broaden employment choices and opportunities.


  • Everyone can work and there is a job for everyone. Our job is to be creative and tenacious in providing support.
  • Not working should be the exception. All individuals, schools, families and businesses must raise their expectations.
  • People will be hired because of their ability not because they have a disability.
  • People are healthier, safer and happiest with meaningful work
  • Everyone has something to contribute and needs to contribute.

As of July 1, 2014, ODDS offered employment services, including supported employment services and employment path services, through the Comprehensive Waiver and the Support Services Waiver. Additionally, individuals utilizing ODDS services will have an opportunity to work on a Career Development Plan (CDP) as part of the Individual Support Plan (ISP) process.

As of July 1, 2014, ODDS also started offering other non-employment day services through the Community First Choice State Plan Option (K-Plan).

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  1. Shannon,