August 2021
In this issue:

  • The Importance of Understanding the Changing Labor Market
  • Employment First Missouri Updates
  • Ask Nick!
  • In Case You Missed It
  • Contact Us
The Importance of Understanding the Changing Labor Market
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused major shifts in who’s hiring and the types of jobs available. Now, it is more important than ever for programs that provide employment support for people with disabilities to understand their local labor market. The Employment First Missouri May Community of Practice focused on understanding your local labor market. If you weren’t able to attend, you can check out the recording and materials on our Basecamp site. Please note that you must be a member of the Basecamp community to access the recording and materials. If you would like us to add you to the Basecamp community, please send a request by email to Jessi Keenoy at

The good news is that the job market is recovering quickly! Missouri’s unemployment rate is just 4.2%, and many businesses are experiencing labor shortages. With so many “help wanted” signs, it can be tempting to try to quickly place individuals in businesses with job openings, particularly retail and food service. Make sure you go beyond the “help wanted” signs and help job seekers explore the full range of options in their local area.

Remember: placements for individuals with significant disabilities are more successful when you take the time to understand the business’s needs and if they match with a job seeker’s interests and strengths.
Our June Community of Practice featured a panel of job developers who offered some great ideas. The key to good job development is not responding to help wanted signs – it’s networking and developing strong business relationships. Check out the recording and materials from this Community of Practice!

As always, please email me at or our Missouri-based staff, Jessi Keenoy at or Nick Holz at if you or your organization needs assistance through our training and technical assistance services.
David Hoff headshot
David Hoff
Project Director
Employment First Missouri Updates
ICI logo
Employment First Missouri logo
Benefits Webinar Series
The Employment First Missouri Learning Community hosted a 4-part webinar series focused on benefits. Michael Dalto of Griffin Hammis and Associates and David Hoff from the Institute for Community Inclusion presented.

We recorded all sessions for you to access in Basecamp. You must be a member of the Basecamp community to access archived sessions. If you would like us to add you to the Basecamp community, please send a request to Jessica Keenoy at
Upcoming Events
Don’t miss these upcoming Employment First Missouri Web Sessions! Registration is open.
Ask Nick!
Nick Holz training associate
Have you ever had a question about how to provide services, but didn’t know where to find the answer? Or maybe, as a new provider agency, you aren’t sure how to set up your employment program? Nick Holz can answer your questions in the new “Ask Nick” section of the Missouri Employment First newsletter. Just submit a question, and Nick will answer in the following newsletter. Complete this brief form to submit a question(s).
In Case you Missed It:
Job Accommodation Network (JAN): As people return to work and community activities, questions around disclosure may arise. Visit JAN for resources on disclosure and requesting accommodations. Resources include a 15-minute training module on disclosure and a template for requesting accommodations.
Administration for Community Living (ACL): The ACL recently published 30 Years of Community Living for Individuals with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (1987-2017) ( This book explores trends in community supports and expenditures and uses longitudinal data to provide an overview of where individuals with ID/DD live and work.
Contact Us:
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The Employment First Missouri initiative is a collaborative between the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston and the Missouri Division of Developmental Disabilities. 
Technical assistance, training, and mentoring are available at no cost for current and potential employment service providers. Employment First Missouri provides a customized approach to assess organizational needs and offer implementation strategies focused on evidence based best practices to get real results.
If you would like to learn more about how Employment First Missouri could be of benefit to your organization, complete this brief inquiry form and a team member will contact you.
Institute for Community Inclusion | 617-287-4300 (voice) | |

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