Skip to Content
/ Articles / Government, Health & Wellness /

Opportunities and Successes in Disability Employment

by Pennsylvania Department of Human Services

Dec 05, 2022

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) Thursday released the latest issue of the Positive Approaches Journal, which aims to provide the most recent research and resources for people with mental health and behavioral challenges, intellectual disabilities, autism, and other developmental disabilities to live an everyday life. This edition focuses on the importance of and resources for employment for individuals with a disability.

“Pennsylvania is better off when we include the talents of all people, and one of DHS’ goals is ensuring that Pennsylvanians with disabilities have opportunities to find and secure gainful competitive integrated employment,” said Acting DHS Secretary Meg Snead. “This edition of the Positive Approaches Journal provides real-world examples of success stories, and I encourage everyone – employers, service providers, and more – to use this as a resource to help Pennsylvanians with disabilities obtain good-paying jobs so they can live longer, live better, and have more independence.

This edition features research and articles on the following:

  • Data Discoveries: Data discoveries in this edition show national and state-level data on spending and use of employment services funded through vocational rehabilitation and Medicaid home and community-based services.
  • Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD) in Action: This article spotlights people who benefitted from the Workers with Job Success (WWJS) extension of the MAWD program, which enables workers with disabilities who receive Medical Assistance to earn a higher income without losing access to essential services.
  • “Employment First” Matters: This article highlights the success of a 2018 law that prioritizes competitive integrated employment so when a person with a disability enters the workforce, they are earning minimum wage or higher and working in a community setting where there is interaction with people who do not have disabilities.
  • The Importance of Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities: This article discusses the importance of the Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD) program and how providing ongoing coverage allows people with disabilities to build work history, financial stability, and independence.
  • Available Employment Supports for Individuals who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or DeafBlind with Additional Disabilities: Pennsylvania’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) works across government agencies, non-profit organizations, and within communities to provide job training, assistive resources and technology, and support to enable members of the deaf community with additional disabilities to gain work and independence.
  • Employment Services Designed for Individuals with Serious Mental Illness (SMI): This article describes Individual Placement and Support (IPS) as an evidence-based practice for people with serious mental illness seeking employment. It includes data and analysis of programs such as Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), First Episode Psychosis (FEP) and Clubhouse that use this tool as part of a larger continuum of services.
  • The Contribution of Psychological Safety to Employees Mental Health: This article outlines the growing issue of mental health in the workforce and includes recommendations for organizations to create a psychologically safe environment.

The journal is a collaboration of DHS’ Office of Developmental Programs and Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and collects resources, observations, and advancements in mental and behavioral health in order to better serve people in their communities.

Read this edition of the Positive Approaches Journal.

We need your support!

Your contribution makes community media possible.

A donation of any size to your nonprofit media organization supports the future of media access in our community - the things you love, and the places you care about, by the people you know.

Live Streaming