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The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) participates with the Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Education Agency on an Employment-First Policy Task Force, created by the 83rd Texas Legislature, Regular Session (2013). The task force is responsible for promoting competitive employment opportunities that provide a living wage for individuals with disabilities, including the state’s Employment-First Policy. TWC’s three-member Commission formally adopted the policy below.

Policy Statement

TWC will promote competitive employment of individuals with disabilities and the expectation that they are able to meet the same employment standards, responsibilities and expectations as other working-age adults. TWC acknowledges that it is the policy of the state, as set forth in Texas Government Code §531.02447, “that earning a living wage through competitive employment in the general workforce is the priority and preferred outcome for working-age individuals with disabilities who receive public benefits.”

Guiding Principles

In accordance with §531.02447(b), TWC’s employment-first policy is based on the following guiding principles:

An individual with a disability is able to meet the same employment standards as an individual who does not have a disability

All working-age individuals with disabilities, including young adults, are offered factual information regarding employment as an individual with a disability, including the relationship between an individual’s earned income and the individual’s public benefits

Individuals with disabilities are given the opportunity to understand and explore options for education and training, including postsecondary, graduate, and postgraduate education, vocational or technical training or other training, as pathways to employment

TWC will take steps to promote the availability and accessibility of individualized training designed to prepare an individual with a disability for the individual’s preferred employment

TWC will promote partnerships with employers to overcome barriers to meeting workforce needs with the creative use of assistive technology and innovation

TWC will take steps to ensure that the staff of the agency, Local Workforce Development Boards, Workforce Solutions partners and their service providers, as well as the staff of public schools, vocational service programs, and community providers are trained and supported to assist all individuals with disabilities in achieving the goal of competitive employment

TWC acknowledges that competitive employment, while being the priority and preferred outcome, is not required of an individual with a disability to secure or maintain public benefits for which the individual is otherwise eligible.