Decent Jobs for People with Disabilities: A New Convergence of Possibilities
October 1, 2015
Andrew J. Imparato, JD
Tags: Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)
The Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities, established in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), just released its Interim Report on September 15, 2015. This report offers a plethora of ideas for successful implementation of WIOA, and for nationwide investment and expansion of competitive integrated employment for people with intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, or other individuals with significant disabilities. The primary focus of the committee is to increase integrated employment, at or above minimum wage, and to increase the employment rate with the ultimate goal of significantly reducing segregated work and non-work programs and in the use of sub-minimum wage certificates.
This report comes at a time of other significant recent events. First, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) announced performance-based payment options for employment services. This means states can make milestone payments for employment outcomes, in addition to fee-for-services. This is an important incentive to achieve real jobs for people with significant disabilities. Second, the US Department of Justice and the state of Oregon reached a ground breaking Settlement Agreement last month to significantly increase competitive, integrated employment and reduce reliance on sheltered workshops. Third, U.S. Senator Ayotte of New Hampshire and Representative Harper of Mississippi have introduced bipartisan legislation (S. 2001/H.R. 188) to phase out the use of sub-minimum wage over three years. Fourth, CNN has issued reporting about the business practices of AbilityOne, a federal contracting program, which continues to segregate people with disabilities. In addition, the US government is conducting an investigation of the AbilityOne program.
This interim report from the Department of Labor Advisory Committee offers important possibilities for the path out of segregation and poor wages for people with disabilities. It comes at a time of other significant events. Please read the report. Support the work of the committee. And offer your ideas for decent jobs for people with significant disabilities in this nation.
The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), located in Silver Spring, MD, promotes and supports a national network of interdisciplinary centers on disabilities. The members of AUCD represent every U.S. state and territory. AUCD and its members work to advance policy and practice through research, education, leadership, and services for and with individuals with developmental and other disabilities, their families, and communities. For more information, visit AUCD's website at www.aucd.org.