What is Pennsylvania’s ’employment first’ policy?

| May 29, 2019 | Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employee rights |

When the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990, the goal was to reduce discrimination against individuals with disabilities. And it has done a lot of good for people across the nation over the years.

However, even a federal law cannot stop all discrimination in the hiring process. Many employers still avoid hiring people with disabilities to this day.

It is a good thing then that Pennsylvania has a policy in place that increases the powers of the ADA.

“Employment first” is a priority

Pennsylvania’s “employment first” policy is nearly three years old. Gov. Tom Wolf signed the executive order in 2016. The policy essentially states that employment is a priority in any adult’s life—no matter their ability.

This law enforces several priorities for government agencies and employers alike, including:

  • Working with parents and programs to help prepare young adults for employment
  • Helping young adults with disabilities enter the working world
  • Investing in public resources to help students transition into adult life
  • Aiding adults to obtain and keep a job and increase their independence
  • Providing accessible transportation to their place of work
  • Changing company policies

In a way, the policy helps promote access to the job market for everyone.

How has “employment first” impacted individuals?

Lehigh Valley Business reports that more individuals with disabilities hold successful positions now more than ever.

One reason for this is the number of nonprofit organizations that support the “employment first” policy. These organizations take it one step further and:

  • Review an individual’s talents to find them a fitting position
  • Provide a range of employment services to individuals
  • Help employers create an accessible work environment

We may still have a way to go before workplaces are fully equal and accessible. However, the “employment first” campaign seems to be doing a lot of good now, and hopefully for the future as well.