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Colorado Office of Employment First

​JFK Partners is nationally recognized as the Colorado University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service program (UCEDD), a member of the larger National Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) network. The UCEDDs federal charge is to “facilitate the flow of disability related information between community and university working with people with disabilities, members of their families, state and local government agencies, and community providers in projects that provide training, technical assistance, service, research and information sharing, with a focus on building the capacity of communities to sustain all their citizens.” ( Since its inception in 1965, the mission of JFK Partners has been to promote the independence, inclusion, contribution, health, and well-being of people with developmental disabilities and special health care needs and their families through consumer, community and university partnerships. The mission is accomplished through the pursuit of excellence in education and training, consultation, technical assistance, direct service, research, program development, policy analysis, and advocacy. For over five decades, JFK Partners had demonstrated expertise and capacity to advance and sustain cross-disciplinary programs and services. Based on the alignment of values, leadership, and expertise JFK Partners has been chosen by the Colorado Employment First Advisory Partnership (created under Senate Bill 16-077) to house the new Colorado Office of Employment First.
The Colorado Office of Employment First will be a center of excellence and accountability for Employment First policies, practices and implementation. With its establishment, the state is now receiving technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and no-cost consultation from a network of national experts.

announcement.jpgThe Colorado Office of Employment First (COEF) believes that everyone can and should work in competitive integrated employment, and have the dignity of determining their career path. The Employment First mission is to advance employment equity for all people with disabilities; including any and all impairments. The Colorado Office of Employment First (COEF) will soon be recruiting for the following positions: Director, Analyst/Grant Writer/Evaluator, four Curriculum Developers/Trainers and an Administrative Assistant III.

The desired applicant for these positions will have a strong understanding of implementing Employment First standards and guidelines including: customized employment, benefits navigation, evidence based business practices, state and federal legislative laws, rules, and initiatives, transition aged youth employment options, and the skills to collaborate among state programs, family members, providers and stakeholders.

The COEF and these positions are funded for three years through a new line item in the budget for the Department of Labor and Employment Division of Vocational Rehabilitation for the Employment First Program. The budget request includes funding for a new Colorado Office of Employment First (COEF), housed within JFK Partners, Colorado’s UCEDD, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics. The Office will be responsible for a range of coordination and training functions to promote Competitive Integrated Employment for people with significant disabilities.

The COEF will have a staff of seven full time positions. These positions include:
  • Director is driven by the expectation that all people have competitive employment in a diverse workforce. Responsible for; hiring exceptional people to join the team, building a budget with revenue generating streams to sustain the growth of the COEF,  designing a work plan to include in depth communication and social media activities, collaborate and utilize active listening with all stakeholders, take part in high level policy and decision making in the State
  • Analyst/Grant Writer/Evaluator is responsible for design and implementation of all aspects of the COEF metrics and evaluations to determine the success of both COEF and Employment First in Colorado
  • Four Curriculum Developers/ Trainers will be responsible for developing and delivering content and curricula that will reflect the vision, mission, and strategic priorities of COEF  
  • Administrative Assistant III. Will support the team by maintaining the office and being first point of contact with the COEF.
Director position posted 
Grant Writer/Analyst (1 position) posting

It is our intent to fill the Director Position first so that the Director may make decisions on subsequent hiring decisions. We expect all of these positions to work together as a team under the direction of the COEF Director and will be looking for complimentary skills across team members especially regarding the four Curriculum Developer/Trainer positions.  In addition, we are looking for applicants who have knowledge and experience with nationally recognized trainings and/or certifications that lead to Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE). Examples include and are not limited to; Association of Community Rehabilitation Educators (ACRE) Training Certificate, Certified Employment Support Professional (CESP) Certification, Individual Placement Supports (IPS) training and/or certification, Community Work Incentives Counseling (CWIC) and Customized Employment training and/or certification including Discovery and/or Systematic Instruction.

The COEF team will work in collaboration with new positions at the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), which are currently open for application closing July 25, 2019.

The COEF positions will be hired by and be employees of the University of Colorado at the Anschutz Medical Campus. However, these positions will have their offices with colleagues at the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation at 633 17th Street, Denver, Colorado. We encourage applications from all who are interested, and it is acceptable to apply for more than one of the positions. Salaries for the positions are: Director, $110,000; Analyst/Grant Writer/Evaluator, $90,000, Curriculum Developer/Trainer, $75,000. Total compensation packages include health, retirement benefits and paid leave. More detail may be found at

Once the positions are announced applications must be submitted online. Materials required include: 1) A letter of application which specifically addresses the job requirements and outlines your qualifications; 2) A current CV/resume; 3) List of three to five professional references. The positions will be open until filled, however we hope to fill all of these positions by the end of September. Minimum qualifications for all positions except the Administrator III position require a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. All positions have a preferred qualification of direct lived experience with disability as a person with a disability, or, as a family member of someone with a significant disability, or, as a provider of direct services to persons with a disability. The Office of Employment First is funded through a contract with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). DVR is an equal opportunity program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.  

For further information about the key legislation responsible for the creation of this office, please review the Strategic Plan and Senate Bills 16-077 and SB 18-145

Be part of the team that shapes the future of employment for all people with disabilities. Watch for announcement of actual posting soon. The Director position has been posted as of 8/19/19 at CU Careers.