Press Releases

Governor Nathan Deal Signs GCDD-Endorsed Bill into Law, Making Georgia an Employment First State

May 8, 2018 (Atlanta, GA) – The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) joins individuals and organizations across the state in celebrating the signing of the Georgia Employment First Act into law. As a member of the coalition advocating for Georgia Employment First, GCDD has supported the journey to enact Employment First as Georgia law.

The Georgia Employment First Act is bi-partisan, common-sense legislation that establishes employment as the first and preferred option for all people who want to work, regardless of their disability. Signed into law this morning by Governor Nathan Deal, the Act creates a 14-member council, comprised of members of the disability community, state leaders and business representatives. The council serves to make recommendations for policy and legislative action advancing Employment First tenets.

Legislative sponsors of the Georgia Employment First Act include Rep. Terry Rogers (District 10), Rep. Terry England (District 116), Rep. Katie Dempsey (District 13), Rep. Trey Rhodes (District 120), Rep. Chuck Efstration (District 104) and Rep. Sharon Cooper (District 43). Its passage cements Georgia as the 34th state to have similar policy by executive order, directive or legislation.

Georgia Employment First is important to individuals with disabilities, their families, the business community and the economy because it highlights the reality that people of all abilities are needed in the workforce.

“Securing access to gainful employment opportunities has been an ongoing advocacy goal for GCDD,” said Eric Jacobson, executive director of GCDD. “The passage of the Georgia Employment First Act means that individuals with disabilities in Georgia will be supported in considering employment as their first option. And with more people in the workforce, communities and economies across the state will continue to thrive.”

In fact, states that have embraced Employment First policies show encouraging results. Washington, for example, has the oldest such policy in the country, according to the website 86% of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities are getting state-funded services are either working or preparing to enter the workforce. Presently, that number hovers around 13% in Georgia.

Read the full Act here:

About the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities
The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) is the State’s leader in advancing public policy on behalf of persons with developmental disabilities. Its mission is to bring about social and policy changes that promote opportunities for persons with developmental disabilities and their families to live, work, play and worship in Georgia communities. For more information, visit


For more information:
Hillary Hibben, Media Relations Director
Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities
| 404.657.2121 (office)