Back to top

VIDEO: Employment First: Job Opportunities for All!

What is Employment First? This video describes what it means, what's happening in Arizona, and success stories of integrated competitive employment.

This video is also available with an audio description track. The video transcript is below and also available for download.

To view the video as an embedded link, visit our Success Stories page.

Video Transcript (with Audio Description)

-[Voiceover] Employment First: Job Opportunities for All! Video clips of three people with disabilities working.


- [Narrator] People with disabilities are underrepresented in the workforce. In Arizona, only 35% of working age people with disabilities have a job. In order to open the doors of employment to more people, and to diversify our workforce, Arizona governor Doug Ducey signed an executive order officially establishing Arizona as an Employment First state.


- Employment First is a philosophy. It's a movement intended to redefine how we view and how we support individuals with disabilities. My name is Susan Voirol and I'm a program manager for Employment First and Transition Initiatives. Employment First in Arizona is a grassroots initiative. We have brought stake-holders together to coalesce around the common issue of low employment rates for individuals who have disabilities. It is the expectation that all services that we provide align with guiding them to competitive integrative employment.


- [Narrator] Competitive integrated employment means work performed on a full-time or part-time basis, for which an individual is compensated at or above minimum wage, eligible for the level of benefits provided to other employees, at a location where employees interact with other individuals without disabilities, presented opportunities for advancement similar to other employees.


-[Voiceover] Jaclyn is a woman with Down syndrome working at a hardware store. Mike Brackin, owner of Homcom.


- [Mike, owner of Homcom Lumber and Hardware] We had a job that Jacyln could do, straightening, dusting, and fronting merchandise.


- [Jaclyn] Working hard. Always working hard. I like my job, yes.


-[Voiceover] Todd Callan Chief Operating officer at Homcom


- [Todd Callan] She actually takes the time to learn everybody's first and last name. She does that because she cares. And she cares about her job, she cares about the people she works with. We're just a big giant family and she is a part of that family, and always will be.


- [Jaclyn] Nine o'clock already. Time to go.


-[Voiceover] Jaclyn checks her phone. She pushes her work cart to end her shift


-[Voiceover] Matthew is a man with Cerebral Palsy. He communicates by using a pointer attached to his helmet and a letter board on the tray of his wheelchair. His revoicer sits next to him   


- My N-A name is Matthew Wangeman Good afternoon, my name is Matthew Wangeman. I work for the Institute for Human Development at NAU. I teach disability studies at the minor. It is my dream job.


- My name is Katherine Mahosky. I've been co-teaching with Matthew for almost ten years. Students get to see Matthew and I work together as well as get his personal experiences as a person with a significant disability.


- [Katherine] We talk a lot on this campus about diversity, but disability is still sort of in the background. And I think it needs to be more visible in both the students we recruit, as well as the employees and the faculty we recruit.


-[Voiceover] Carrie is a woman with Down syndrome who works at a restaurant. She is shown cleaning and rolling up silverware.


- My name is Carrie Raabe. I've been working here for two years. I like coming and doing my job and getting paid. I love making things better for me. It makes me feel proud of myself. The best thing about working here is the 30 percent discount on meals, and free drinks, which I think is awesome. With my money that I make, I like to put it in my bank account, I like to spend some when I go to the movies. 


[Voiceover] Scenes of Carrie and her friends working out with a personal trainer


[Carrie] I work out with a bunch of girls that are about my age. A few of them have pretty good jobs like I do. They make everything right in my life.


- [Susan Voirol] I have had the pleasure of leading the Employment First initiatives in Arizona with our stake-holders. This allows us to come together to look at our policies that may need to be addressed. To look at our funding structures that may not align to getting people directly into employment. And this has allowed us to bring our employers in to understand accommodations in the workplace, assistive technology in the workplace, unconscious biases. And helping the general workforce understand the world of disabilities.


- [Coworker] Good to see you.


- [Jaclyn] Good to see you, too.


- [Coworker]]Keep up the good work!


- [Jaclyn] I am working, yes.


- [Susan Voirol] We are more than excited to see individuals like Carrie, and Matthew, and Jaclyn, who have proven that employment is absolutely possible.


- [Matthew's translator] I think I'm a very unique employee, but I would just like for everybody to come together to figure out how I could continue working at my job.


- [Personal trainer] Carrie Joe Raabe!


- [Susan] Employment First means that we need to believe that people can go to work whether they have a significant disability or a minor need. With the right supports and services, the right attitude, the high expectations, it is possible for all. We will increase employment outcomes in Arizona.


-[Voiceover] Jaclyn is on a ladder dusting shelves 

- [Jaclyn] I'm good. I'm not scared of anything. Look what I can do.


-[Voiceover] Directed and Camera

John Schaffer


Additional Camera

Matt Nelson



Susan Voirol

Jaclyn Haynie

Carrie Raabe

Matthew Wangeman

Mike Brackin

Todd Callan

Jude Ajaski

Micaela Muehlich

Kathy Mahosky

Jana Fox

Shannon Bell

Julia Antoninka

Marty Heilman


Funded by

The Sonoran University Center for Excellence in Disabilities (UCEDD)

Arizona Center for Disability Law (ACDL)

Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (ADDPC)


Thank you

HomCo Lumber & Hardware

Institute for Human Development

  at Northern Arizona University

Texas Roadhouse Restaurant

Miguel Manguiat

Flagstaff Aquaplex