Division of Mental Health and Disability Services (MHDS)
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 publically funded services for all working age Iowan's 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:
State Employment Leadership Network (SELN): SELN's mission is to bring states together to improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. SELN consultants help Iowa recognize the systemic barriers to employment for persons with disabilities and ways to overcome them.
Medicaid Infrastructure (MIG) Grant: The purpose of MIG is to assist states with making improvements to their Medicaid programs that support the competitive employment of people with disabilities. MIG currently funds a rate restructuring initiative in collaboration with SELN.
Employment First ("E1st"): Iowa is one of three states awarded an Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) grant to promote systems change around improving employment outcomes and one of 26 States with an APSE sponsored initiative emphasizing integrated employment., Iowa E1st includes individuals with disabilities, family members, service providers, state human services and vocational staff, business leaders, and others. Iowa's Employment First Leadership State Mentor Program (EFLSMP) brings together Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS) with DHS, IowaWorks, the DD Council, the Iowa Association of Community Providers, and a family member, under the mentorship of the State of Washington.
Iowa Coalition for Integrated Employment: The Administration on Developmental Disabilities Grant awarded a $358,000 per year five year grant to the Developmental Disabilities Council. The grant will which brings together the DD Council, the Iowa Department of Education ((DE), Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS), and DHS to improve systems so that Iowa youth with a developmental disability have fully integrated, and competitive work opportunities. The grant will contract for 6 demonstration projects in an education environment and at least 3 demonstration projects with community rehabilitation providers. This project is called the Iowa Coalition for Integrated Employment (ICIE).
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.
DHS' goal is to unify and coordinate these efforts in conjunction with the Olmstead plan, MHDS Redesign, 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.
For more information, contact:
Iowa DHS, Mental Health and Disability Services Division
Hoover State Office Building, 5th Floor SE
1305 E. Walnut Street
Des Moines, IA 50319