Integrated Employment in Nevada

The Council has long supported the forward movement of Integrated Employment in Nevada through the following partnerships and initiatives:

    • The Council provided a grant to the Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities to host the Employment Policy Summit of 2010. The Summit brought Nevada’s DD Network Partners, community agencies, businesses and many hard working individuals together from across the state and laid the groundwork for the Council’s Employment First Ad-Hoc Committee.
    • The Employment First Ad-Hoc Committee created a Position Statement on Integrated Employment which led to:
    • Executive Order #2014-16 Establishing the Governor’s Taskforce on Integrated Employment issued by Governor Sandoval. This Executive Order created a Task Force to develop a strategic plan “creating a more integrated workforce and expanding competitive employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities.” Executive Order #2014-16 The Governor’s Task Force on Integrated Employment 0721 2014
    • The Taskforce released Nevada’s Strategic Plan on Integrated Employment outlining goals and recommendations for 2015-2025 to achieve competitive, integrated employment in Nevada. The 2015 Integrated Employment Outreach Summary Report is a companion document to the strategic plan that provides detailed analysis of the outreach results and recommendations that were considered by the Taskforce.
    • Career Exploration Summer Camps – Washoe County Nevada High school students with disabilities take a week out of their summer to participate in the Career Exploration Summer Camps to receive real world experience and on the job education at integrated settings in their community.
    • Vocational Opportunities for Inclusive Career Education (VOICE). The goal for the program is to provide job related and transition skills/training focused on having young adults with disabilities obtain competitive employment.
    • Nevada’s own joins national advisory committee on Integrated Employment = From 1/12/15. U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez announced Monday the 17 public members who will serve on the new Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities, a key provision of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

Selected from more than 280 nominations, Santa Perez, the Advocate Co-coordinator for the People First of Nevada Project of the Nevada Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, joins the other public members of the committee.

“I am so honored to be chosen for this important committee,” she said. “I feel that Nevada is moving in the right direction toward helping people get integrated employment and I am proud to be a part of that, representing Nevada at the national level.”

Perez is from Southern California where she was very active in the self-advocacy movement. She earned her Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from Cal State Northridge. Ms. Perez completed the Partners in Policy Making program in 1999 at The University of Nevada, Reno.

A new project, AmeriCorps Vista, Volunteers in Services to America, had just been started and she was informed that they wanted her to become a member. Through this project, Ms. Perez co-founded People First of Nevada and her dream is now a reality with seven chapters all around the state.

Santa is active with the People First of Nevada. She has testified before the state legislature and was instrumental in getting the Signature Stamp Law and the People First Respectful Language Law passed. She currently works for Community Chest of Nevada, reporting through the Nevada Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities as an Advocate Co-Coordinator for the People First of Nevada Project.

Signed by President Obama in July 2014, WIOA helps job seekers, including those with disabilities, access services to succeed in employment and matches employers with skilled workers.

Reflecting this, the committee will advise the U.S. Secretary of Labor on ways to increase competitive integrated employment opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities. This includes recommendations on the use and oversight of the certificate program under section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Integrated employment refers to jobs held by people with disabilities in workplace settings where the majority of employees do not have disabilities. In these jobs, individuals with disabilities earn wages consistent with those paid workers without disabilities performing the same or similar work, make at least minimum wage and are paid directly by their employer.

Ms. Perez is the only representative from Nevada.

For more information and to stay up to date on the Committee’s progress visit