Arizona Makes Strides in becoming an Employment First State

Sonoran UCEDD, University of Arizona
DDNN Summer 2018

 Employment First State executive order announcementArizona Employment First Initiative (AZ EF) is excited to announce that on November 16, 2017, Arizona’s Governor, Doug Ducey, signed an Executive Order for Arizona to become an Employment First State. AZ EF coalition has been working to move Arizona to an Employment First state since 2014. The executive order shows a higher level of commitment and that our state is invested in this initiative and increasing employment outcomes for individuals who have disabilities. While this is a major step in our efforts, there is still more for us to do in order to authentically make Arizona an Employment First State. The cross-stakeholder collaborative members continue to be committed and are up to the task!

Arizona APSE Employment First, Employment for AllAnother exciting announcement is that Arizona officially has an Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) Chapter in development. Our first board meeting was held at the end of March where we set goals and priorities for 2018. Efforts will focus on building capacity through education, training and relevant information dissemination (e.g., newsletters, website) across the state to increase awareness and understanding of the requirements and necessary changes concerning employment related to Medicaid Home and Community Based Services and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

With the financial support of the Arizona DD Planning Council, AZ EF is creating a stand-alone website to be a place for people who have disabilities and all other stakeholders to gain relevant knowledge, resources, and tools related to Employment First principles and practices. We will highlight employment success stories by way of our EF/APSE newsletter, as well as developing short videos that support Employment First messaging and principles.

 milestone path of Employment First activitiesThe AZ Employment First Initiative is a coalition of advocates, educators, employers, employment service provider agencies, family members, state agencies, youth and young adults that are working together to move EF efforts forward. The Arizona DD Network partners continue to play a prominent role in these efforts through financial support of staff, our new website, the creation of videos, and addressing training needs for professionals in AZ. Sonoran UCEDD Program Manager, Susan Voirol continues to take the lead in coordinating efforts through a jointly funded position form Rehabilitative Services Administration and the Sonoran UCEDD. Learn more about our efforts and achievements during the last year in the Employment First 2017 Review & Milestones on our website.

To learn more or to support this important initiative, please contact, Sonoran UCEDD Program Manager, Susan Voirol at | 520.549.7145

For general information and AZ Employment First documents, visit