Frontline Initiative Employment Supports

Alliance for Full Participation:
State teams need you

AFP Summit 2011: Real Jobs—It’s Everybody’s Business  

On November 17-18, 2011 at the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel just outside of Washington, DC, the Alliance for Full Participation (AFP) will convene a ground-breaking employment summit. Over 1500 attendees will work together to plan, organize and share best practices that will lead to a substantial increase in the number of people with developmental disabilities in integrated employment. Countless more will participate at local viewing stations set up throughout the county. The AFP Summit will mark the mid-point in AFP’s “Real Jobs—It’s Everyone’s Business” five-year campaign. In addition to the Summit, AFP will be providing education and networking opportunities through an interactive online community, newsletters, and webinars.

State Teams: Leading the Way in Local Communities 

Far more than a two-day Summit will be required to hammer out achievable strategies for helping persons with developmental disabilities achieve meaningful, fully integrated, competitive employment. A long-range social reform agenda must be rooted in the realities of local political, social and economic environments. That’s why the State Teams are so important. AFP will provide state teams with resources to help assess their current employment practices, determine areas that they would like to focus on for improvement, and create an action plan for achieving these goals.

State Teams should include the voices of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, employers, families, policy makers, providers, DSPs, researchers, and community builders. After the AFP Employment Summit, state teams will bring the action agenda back to their communities so that the vision and outcomes agreed upon in Washington can become a reality nationwide. 

“This has been a great opportunity to collaborate with people with disabilities and other stakeholders on a shared mission.” – Bridget Siljander, DSPAM Member

Call to Action: You Can Get Involved

State Teams are continuing to form across the United States. So far, AFP has 38 teams in some stage of formation. Several of the state teams are using Employment First initiatives to promote AFP, others are incorporating the AFP mission and employment challenge as part of a Medicaid Grant project, still others are working within their APSE chapters or State DD Councils, or with other coalitions that have worked to promote employment within their states. State teams are using AFP to call attention to improving competitive and inclusive employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  

NADSP State Chapters and individual members of NADSP can contribute valuable knowledge and insight to the AFP State Teams, and the voices of DSPs are needed. “This has been a great opportunity to collaborate with people with disabilities and other stakeholders on a shared mission,” says Bridget Siljander, Direct Support Professionals Association of Minnesota (DSPAM) member. DSPAM, the Minnesota chapter of NADSP, is playing an active role in the Minnesota AFP State Team. “Since DSPs are a primary support resource for people with developmental disabilities, we offer tremendous value through our participation in the Alliance.”