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Supported Employment in Oregon: An Update

Did you know that there are more than 10,000 individuals who experience developmental disabilities in Oregon?  Many of them want to have meaningful work, but according to recent estimates:

  • only 7% of them are employed in competitive, meaningful jobs,
  • and only 25% are involved in ANY type of work or work alternative.


To ensure that adults with disabilities are able to find meaningful employment, the State of Oregon began an Employment First initiative in 2010. Find out more about the initiative here.

UCP is proud to support Employment First. The tenants of this initiative are as follows:

  • Everyone can work and there is a job for everyone. Our job is to be creative and tenacious in providing support.
  • Not working should be the exception. All individuals, schools, families and businesses must raise their expectations.
  • People will be hired because of their ability not because they have a disability.
  • Communities embrace people who contribute.
  • Everyone has something to contribute and needs to contribute.
  • People are healthier, safer and happiest with meaningful work.
  • True employment is not a social service.
  • Employment is a win/win for everybody.


These goals mesh nicely with the goal of UCP's supported employment program (Employment Solutions), which is to support adults with developmental disabilities to identify, obtain and retain meaningful and competitive employment from community businesses.

Employment Solutions staff provide as little or as much support as is needed, including skills assessments, assistance writing resumes and cover letters, mock interviews, finding job shadowing and volunteer experiences, providing on-the-job coaching, and assistance negotiating for promotions.

To learn more about Employment Solutions, click here.