Employment First

Employment First

Equality and inclusiveness play a central role in the history of New York State, and New York State is continuing that legacy by standing up for the employment needs of people with disabilities.

The Employment First policy is part of a national movement to support the employment of people with disabilities. The employment rate for a New Yorker with a disability (aged 18-64) is 31.2% compared to 72% for a person without a disability, resulting in a gap of 40.8 percentage points. In addition, the poverty rate for New Yorkers with disabilities aged 18-64 living in the community is 28.6%, which is more than twice that of people in New York State without disabilities (12.3%). The Governor has set a tentative goal of a 5% increase in the employment rate and a 5% decrease in the poverty rate among this population.

Work Incentives Navigator and Reports

The Work Incentives Navigator and Reports (WINR) has been designed to address recommendations four (4) and five (5) of the New York State Employment First Commission Report.  WINR simultaneously sends automatic notifications to individuals with disabilities who are receiving employment supports in New York, and to the organizations who serve them.  Providers access these notifications through a secure portal in the New York Employment Services System (NYESS). This portal has been created so that your organization can assist individuals to take advantage of these programs. At this time, NYESS has developed notifications for several critical benefits, including the Medicaid Buy-In for Working People with Disabilities, Section 1619(b) and Section 301 of the Social Security Act, and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The WINR portal will be updated as new notifications are developed for additional benefit types.  For assistance pertaining to these notifications or related programs please e-mail [email protected] or call 518-473-6579.

A Toolkit for Employers

As more people with disabilities enter the workforce and begin looking for employment, it is important that as a business owner or operator you understand the incredible benefits that you could be enjoying by hiring employees of all abilities. EmployAbility A Toolkit for Employers is a handbook meant to provide you with the information you need to begin employing people of all abilities, including financial and tax incentives, how and why hiring people of all abilities is good for your business and where to find qualified employees.


Office of Mental Health - A Guide for Employment Specialists

This Guide for Employment Specialists has been developed to help those working directly with individuals who are seeking employment achieve the best outcomes possible. Over the last several years, supported employment services have been redesigned to align more closely with what evidence has shown to be the best practices. No longer does NYS adhere to the idea that individuals with mental health disorders need to be sheltered from employment. All employment specialists are encouraged to attain proficiency in knowing how to help individuals gain the skills they need to attain and sustain work, as well as to help develop jobs in the community for those they work with.