Official State of Iowa Website Here is how you know
Iowa Department of Health and Human Services

Increasing Employment for People with Disabilities

Employment Outcome Vision

"Employment in the general workforce is the first priority and the expected and preferred outcome in the provision of publicly funded services for all working age Iowans with disabilities."
By employment we mean: regular or customized employment in the general workforce, where employees with disabilities are earning at least minimum or prevailing wages and benefits.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is involved with a number of initiatives intended to increase the number of people with disabilities competitively employed including:
  • Employment First ("E1st"): Iowa has consistently been awarded technical assistance and training from the US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), to promote systems change around improving employment outcomes. Iowa E1st includes individuals with disabilities, family members, service providers, state human services and vocational staff, state workforce staff and those who serve the blind and aging populations, business leaders, and others. Iowa's Employment First State Leadership Mentor Program (EFSLMP) brings together Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS) with DHS, IowaWORKS, the DD Council, the Department of Education, the Iowa Association of Community Providers, and family members, to coordinate Iowa’s efforts in E1st. In past years, Iowa providers and Regions have been trained in Customized Employment strategies. In 2019 EFSLMP brings to Iowa a trainer from the IPS Employment Center at The Rockville Institute.  “IPS” is the Individual Placement and Support model of supported employment which is sanctioned by the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

  • Iowa Coalition for Integrated Employment (ICIE): ICIE brings together the DD Council, the University of Iowa Center on Disabilities and Development, the Iowa Department of Education (DE), IVRS, IowaWORKS, DHS, and the Department on Aging to improve systems so that Iowans with a developmental disability have fully integrated, competitive work opportunities, and fully integrated community living options. ICIE has built a large coalition of concerned persons in every realm of this work, has developed and conducts a monthly Community of Practice webinar series, and has brought technical assistance and training to various aspects of this work.

  • Iowa's Money follows the Person Grant (MFP): The Partnership for Community Integration Project is a federal Medicaid demonstration grant to assist with the transition of persons currently residing in ICFs/ID to communities of their choice. Employment plays an integral part in community inclusion and the goals of the project. MFP sunsets June 30, 2019. 

DHS' goal is to unify and coordinate these efforts in conjunction with the Olmstead plan, MHDS Regions, Iowa Medicaid, stakeholders and state agency partners so demonstrable improvement can be made in the number of persons with disabilities competitively employed in the community. This effort will include the evaluation of any new or innovative approaches that can be adopted to better help achieve the goal.

Success Clips and FYI

Read the stories of eighteen Iowa Self Employment STARS!

Actors with disabilities shine in Mason City Community Theatre play

Zach Becker’s Success Story

Customized Employment

Handout About Webinars On Customized Employment

TTAP for Parents

Employment Reports & Community Forums

Stakeholder Brief

Employment Forum Questions & Agenda

Building Provider Capacity

Report of the 2013 Forums


CMS Info Bulletin 9-16-2011 Employment Services Update

Key Assumptions for a High Quality Funding System

Notes from DHS Employment Workgroup 2013

PPT from July 31, 2013 Webinar

Q&A from July 31, 2013 Webinar 

Employment Services Redesign Webinar # 2 August 28 2013 PowerPoint 

SELN PowerPoint Presentation for September 10, 2013 Workgroup Meeting

September 25, 2013 Webinar #3 PowerPoint

December Update to IACP

January Update to IACP

Employment Workgroup Reference Material

R2-Bluebook 2012

R3-052012 Federal Register Proposed HCBS Rules

Employment Workgroup Optional Material

O5-MLTSS White Paper "The Growth of Managed Long Term Services and Supports Programs"

MEPD study on Effect of Employment on Health Care Costs

APHSA summary of, and Cimera article The Economics of Supported Employment

For more information, contact:

Lin Nibbelink
Iowa DHS, Mental Health and Disability Services Division
Hoover State Office Building, 5th Floor SE
1305 E. Walnut Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515-281-3023