CPSD/NCD Congressional Briefing Oct 28 2019

The Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination and the National Council on Disability celebrated National Disability Employment Awareness Month with a Congressional Briefing on Monday, October 28 2019.

SUCCESSES OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES TRANSITIONING TO COMPETITIVE INTEGRATED EMPLOYMENT

Attendees learned about competitive integrated employment (CIE), community jobs where people with disabilities work alongside co-workers without disabilities and are paid competitive wages. They also heard success stories about transitioning to CIE from people with disabilities and their families and about states efforts to expand opportunities for CIE.  Learn more about CIE at www.integratedemploymentnow.org.   

This briefing was presented in collaboration with the House Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus and its co-chairs Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK), Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). 

With generous support from the Autism Society of America and Anthem 

Briefing Handouts

Speaker Bios

Virginia

Lekisha Logan is a lifelong resident of Danville, Virginia and graduated from Dan River High School.  She works at Dell’Anno’s Pizzeria in Danville, where she has worked since 2011 when she transitioned from a sheltered workshop where she was paid subminimum wages.  Lekisha started in the dining room cleaning and clearing tables, and now works as a dishwasher.  Lekisha has presented at The Arc of Virginia’s Annual Convention, sharing her experience in competitive integrated employment.  She also has presented to a group of college students at Averett University about the importance of inclusion in all aspects of life.  

Joe Carroll, Acacia McGuire Anderson, Lekisah Logan, Eric Cottrell

Eric Cottrell works at Piedmont Regional Feeding Clinic in Danville Virginia, where patients receive therapies to improve eating and health.  Eric grew up in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, where he graduated from Chatham High School and later moved to Danville. He has worked in several types of industries, but has always come back to the helping field because his passion is helping people.  Eric transitioned to competitive integrated employment from a sheltered workshop where he was paid subminimum wages in 2011.  Eric has presented on his experiences to attendees of The Arc of Virginia’s Annual Convention and was interviewed for a video on competitive integrated employment created by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rehabilitation Research and Training Center.  

Tonya Milling, originally from North Carolina, has worked in the disability field for over 20 years and has a passion for the rights of people with disabilities. Her career brought her to Virginia in 2011, where she joined The Arc of Southside as executive director and led the agency through a transformation from segregated services to inclusive supports that are built around the person and not their disability.  At that chapter of The Arc, she and the leadership team successfully closed all of the segregated facility-based programs, which included a group home for 15 people, a sheltered workshop for 130 people, and a private day school serving 30 students with disabilities.  She and the leadership team developed and implemented new support services that partner with people with developmental disabilities to build their own lives with the supports they need to live the lives that they choose.  In January 2018, Tonya became the executive director of The Arc of Virginia, where she is advocating for change, so that every person with a developmental disability can have access to supports to live their life in their community. 

Oregon

Acacia McGuire Anderson is the Statewide Employment First Coordinator for Oregon. Her role includes overseeing the transformation of Oregon’s employment services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to focus on community employment and inclusion. Her previous experience includes working as a services coordinator and as a program manager and prior to that a direct support professional for an employment provider in Oregon.

Tad Carroll, pictured above.

Joe Carroll, and his wife Linda, are the parents of Jeremy “Tad” Carroll, a 45 year old man with developmental and other disabilities.  The Carrolls have been involved as advocates in the developmental disabilities community, including starting an early intervention program in their community with educators and other parents when Tad was three years old and serving on the boards of The Arc of Oregon and The Arc Mid-Columbia and as a member of the Oregon Council Developmental Disabilities.  Tad worked in a sheltered workshop being paid subminimum wages, often earning less than 10 cents an hour, for almost 20 years.  Starting in 2017, Tad began working with Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and his employment team to transition to competitive integrated employment. Tad was hired in November 2018 by a local restaurant delivering meals.  He is paid above minimum wage and is paying taxes for the first time in his life.  Because of his job, Tad has become more integrated into the local community, improved his communication skills and made new friends.

Iowa

Bill and Kyle Stumpf

Kyle Stumpf is a 29 year old man from Dubuque, Iowa. Kyle graduated from high school in 2009. After graduation, Kyle was employed in a sheltered workshop earning subminimum wages for approximately four years.  In 2014, Kyle was hired at a local franchise for a major pizza chain in Dubuque, where he works alongside co-workers without disabilities and is paid above minimum wage.  Kyle just recently celebrated his five year anniversary there.  Kyle is also a very active participant in the community.  He volunteers and participates in numerous events and recreational activities throughout the community.  He has attended statewide conferences on self-advocacy and on competitive integrated employment.  He currently attends many political events, telling his story and encouraging candidates to support disability rights.

Bill Stumpf lives in Dubuque, Iowa with his son, Kyle, and is a licensed practical nurse working with people with intellectual disabilities.  Prior to pursuing nursing, Bill was employed in a paper factory for 30 years. He became active in the disability movement shortly after his son Kyle, who has Down syndrome, was born in 1990.  He has been active on numerous local, state and national organizations over the years.  He currently serves on the board for Disability Rights Iowa and is a member of the Iowa Coalition for Integration and Employment.  Along with Kyle, Bill has been engaging political candidates at the local, state, and national levels supporting disability rights, including related to voting rights for people with disabilities, healthcare reform, and competitive integrated employment.

Maryland

Joshua Laird previously worked in a sheltered workshop doing piece work and on an enclave lawn crew, both jobs where he was paid subminimum wages and had no co-workers without disabilities.  At the sheltered workshop, he had behavioral challenges, did not communicate much and seldom smiled.  Beginning in 2016, Josh began attending a training program to help him transition to competitive integrated employment in anticipation of the sheltered workshop closing.  Through this program, Josh expressed an interest in finding a job where he could work outside and independently and was introduced to the manager of a local marina.  For the last three years, Josh has been working for the marina three days per week during the months of May through September and has received Certificates of Appreciation after each season.  In the last year, Josh has taken a second job working at Salisbury University in the dining services building approximately 20 hours per week.  He has enjoyed and is succeeding at this second job too.  

Joshua Laird (right).

Comment now to support fair wages for people with disabilities

Colloboration to Promote Self Determination logo

ACTION ALERT:

Comment Today to Support Equal Pay for People with Disabilities!

This week the Department of Labor announced its new website, “the Section 14(c) National Online Dialogue.”  The purpose of the website is to collect comments from the public about the impact of paying subminimum wages to people with disabilities under section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Employers with 14(c) certificates can legally pay people with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage, often times pennies on the dollar.  Section 14(c) certificates are typically used in “sheltered workshops,” where people with disabilities are segregated from the broader community.  The vast majority of disability advocates view Section 14(c) (created in 1938) as outdated, discriminatory, and reinforcing a life of poverty, segregation, and dependency on public support for people with disabilities.  It is critical that you make your voice heard!   

Input from people with disabilities, families, employment providers and employers is important. Share your perspective online here before Friday, June 14th.  

Ideas to include in your comments are:

  • If you are a person with a disability or a family member, talk about why a community job at fair pay is important to you/your family.  Think about relationships with co-workers, how you/your family member have grown in your job, and opportunities to go into the broader community.  If you/your family member have ever been paid subminimum wages, talk about how that made you feel and about your transition from sheltered work to CIE.
  • If you are an employment provider, talk about how you support people with disabilities in competitive integrated employment.  If you are a provider who has transitioned away from using 14(c) certificates, talk about that experience.
  • If you are an employer, talk about your experience with employees with disabilities.  Think about their contributions to your workplace and how you have been able to ensure their success.
  • If you are an advocate familiar with disability employment trends in your state, share information about that progress.  Think about what policies have advanced CIE and how your state may be moving away from using sheltered workshops.  

Disability advocates have made significant progress towards eliminating Section 14(c) and establishing the legal right of people with disabilities to be paid the same as everyone else.  In 2014, Congress passed the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which made competitive integrated employment (CIE) a priority, limited the use of subminimum wages for youth with disabilities, and required people currently being paid subminimum wages to be given other employment options.  In 2016, the Federal Advisory Committee for Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities recommended to Congress and the Labor Secretary that Section 14(c) be phased-out, together with capacity building for competitive integrated employment.  In 2019, Congress introduced bipartisan legislation, the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act, to phase-out 14(c) and help providers transform their models to CIE.  Numerous states have already prohibited the use of subminimum wages, and other states are currently considering legislation.  It is critical that we urge the Department of Labor to continue the progress towards ending this outdated and discriminatory practice.

Remember, you only have until June 21st to make your voice heard here!

Why High Expectations Are Important: A Parent’s View on Disability Employment

By Greta Harrison

Picture this. You are at a conference attending the opening breakfast. A presentation begins and within minutes you see a picture of a man in a wheelchair with one arm. The executive who is speaking is also a nurse.  She tells you that this man does not use language, and cannot count or read. Yet she shows you pictures of him at his job rehabbing a piece of hospital equipment, so it can be recycled, instead of thrown away. Because he cannot count, they put notches in a wheel and he knows to just fill up that wheel, and what to do with them afterwards. This man makes a living wage and receives benefits. He is happy and proud. The hospital saves hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. It is a win / win for all.

The next picture shows a young lady working in a very large hospital emergency room set up. She is stocking many rooms. She is very busy—and always on task. She is known for her work ethic. So much so, that the head of the very large dental clinic a few floors up, asks the executive nurse if this young woman would mind going to their department. The young woman goes there and quickly learns to sterilize dental instruments for over 20 operatories.  She gets a significant raise and is still there over twenty years later. That woman has Down syndrome. 

Those two examples sold me on Project SEARCH back in 2007. I knew then and there that we needed this program in Virginia. I also knew we had the right community to bring this together. So a year later, Hampton had the first official Project SEARCH site in Virginia. Now there are many sites in Virginia and hundreds all over the world. Project SEARCH has been around since 1995. All due to one nurse executive who was looking to stop turnover at Cleveland Children’s Hospital, the third largest hospital of its kind in the US. She had no kids of her own, and did not know any people with disabilities personally. The program was born out of employer need—and now runs globally on her passion that germinates quickly. 

So when people tell me things like, “my child just can’t work”, or “it is a fantasy for my child to make minimum wage” – the visions of the man rehabbing equipment and the woman sterilizing dental instruments are in my head. I know that many parents, educators, and non- profit staff are unaware of possibilities in 2019. They are stuck in a time sixty years ago when sheltered workshops were the progressive choice. Some of these well – intentioned parents actually pay a non – profit so their loved one can ‘work’. For pennies or a few dollars an hour. They think that is all there is. They have very low expectations. And they don’t know what their loved one can really do.

Instead, we need to be pooling our resources to support employment in the community. We need to properly fund entities like Virginia’s Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) and provide better training for large employers, so they too can expand their workforces. 

Yasmine in front of DARS.

For the very small percent of the population that truly cannot work, and that is a very small number, we should have enrichment programs for them that offer continuing education, art, drama, photography, etc. The traditional day programs are also a sixty – year old idea—that started with good intentions. We can do better—and we should. 

Fear, and overprotective natures often guide parents to petition for segregated regressive services. If we all move forward—proudly showing the great examples out there of supported employment—we can help these families move forward with us. Change is never easy. Every radical movement forward in American society has also faced people who did not believe. Let’s talk this out and make sure everyone’s fears are addressed. Let’s address each person left in a sheltered workshop individually and make sure person centered planning , and time, equal the best result for them. Let’s put an absolute stop to putting new graduates into sheltered workshops. Then let’s all move forward together. 

I am writing this for three reasons. I have a daughter named Yasmine who is now nineteen. Yasmine has Down syndrome. Last summer she completed a successful internship with the City of Hampton working in their human resources department. It was such a positive experience that words cannot describe the joy she, my husband and I, and the City of Hampton all feel when we talk about it. Now my daughter has an internship with DARS-working in their local office.  Thanks to my daughter’s inclusive and challenging education, and to DARS Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) program that targets people with disabilities before they graduate, she has many possibilities for the future that range from working for the city to working in the medical field, to starting her own business. She may go to community college as well. Working for subminimum wage is not even on the radar. In different circumstances, a different family, different support system, different schools, that is still an option for young women just like her. That should not be. Her future, full of possibilities, is what we should all be shooting for.

Yasmine speaking at the congressional briefing in September of 2018.

The second reason is that my daughter Yassy spoke to a congressional committee in September 2018, talking about her summer internship experience. What a parental moment that was—one etched permanently in my mind. Who thinks their child is going to give a speech before a congressional committee? My guess is not many parents—regardless of the fact that their child does or does not have a disability. She is a shy, but strong and articulate, self-advocate.  You can read her testimony here (and I also spoke, my testimony is here).

The third reason is because in March I launched a podcast called Born Fabulous. It features in depth discussions with the parents of very accomplished individuals who just happen to have disabilities. Every single case shows examples of what can happen when there are high expectations. I did this because these successes need to be highlighted and need to be the norm. Youth, parents, business, community, and political leaders all need these positive examples.  In future seasons I will interview the self- advocates themselves. 

The data, continuing education, and decades of experience all back up what I am saying. There is no data that supports segregated education or employment. And definitely none that supports a subminimum wage. Substitute the words black, Hispanic, gay, or any other minority into this equation. Sub minimum wage is not human in 2019. 

When you are confronted with naysayers, please remember they are scared. Then make sure you are part of the solution that will not only assay their fears but will also move us forward. Please help make this world a kinder, gentler, and more productive place. 

Let’s all move forward together!

About the Author: Greta Harrison

Pictured above: Greta with her daughter, Yasmine.

Greta hosts Born Fabulous Podcast which explores the lives of very successful young adults with significant disabilities. A former retail manager and business owner, she has been a civic leader for 19 years with various organizations that work with people with disabilities. She has been married almost 39 years, and is the mother of Nia, 31, and Yasmine, 19. Yasmine has Down syndrome. Yasmine is fully included in Hampton City Schools, where she has made honor roll each year, and will soon be a senior. She has had two internships via her participation with DARS Pre-ETS program. The first was in the Human Resources Department at the City of Hampton last summer. The second is a current placement at the Hampton DARS office where she does office work. Yasmine is an artist, and loves her anatomy class. She is pursuing ‘a life like yours’.  

Letter of support from national, state and local organizations for the Transformations to Competitive Employment Act

The organizations listed in the letter above support the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act.

The Journey of Community Employment, a post from SEEC

It’s Time to Help States Build Capacity to Provide Competitive Employment for All People with Disabilities

By:  David Mank, Ph.D.**

I have spent the majority of my career researching and developing best practices related to helping people with the most significant disabilities get real jobs with real wages in the community. During my tenure, I have seen thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities become successfully employed and economically self-sufficient.  We know how to do this. Unfortunately, as a nation, I believe we have failed to invest sufficient resources to disseminate the information and to transform systems so that the majority of people with disabilities now successfully exiting high school and postsecondary programs can get well-paying jobs alongside their peers without disabilities. In spite of what we know works, far too many continue to languish in sheltered settings receiving way below subminimum wages, often being paid pennies on the dollar an hour. This is due to outdated federal law, section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which continues to allow providers to pay people with disabilities subminimum wages. Thirty years after the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act to prevent such discrimination, this unfair discrimination against people with disabilities must end.

That is why I am hopeful to see legislation introduced which will responsibly phase-out the use of subminimum wages for people with disabilities, in addition to other important and needed actions. The Transformation to Competitive Employment Act is designed to build capacity and improve the disability employment service system and increase opportunities for competitive integrated employment for individuals with disabilities. Key features of this bill include:

  • Creating a competitive state grant program (Transformation Grants) to assist states to develop competitive integrated employment and transition from 14(c) certificate (sub-minimum wages) to competitive integrated employment.
  • Creating a competitive grant program for current 14(c) certificate holders to transition their business models to support individuals with disabilities into competitive integrated employment.
  • Establishing a national technical assistance center to support states and providers across the country making this transformation.
  • Supporting the development of “wraparound” services, in addition to competitive integrated employment, to support an individual’s integration and community participation when they are not working.

It is important to consider these and other provisions of the bill in the context of the 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the resulting recommendations issued in 2016 by an advisory committee created by this law. The Advisory Committee for Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (the Committee) was created by Congress in WIOA and comprised of 25 members.  These members, appointed by the Secretary of Labor, included 18 citizen members and 7 federal officials. The members represented broadly diverse perspectives on employment of people with disabilities. 

The citizen members included self-advocates with disabilities, representatives of national advocacy organizations, providers of rehabilitation services, experts with a background in academia or research on employment, representatives from the employer community, providers of disability employment services (including both those who do and do not pay subminimum wages using 14(c) certificates), and others with expertise on increasing competitive integrated employment.

The federal officials included: the Assistant Secretary of the Office of Disability Employment Policy, the Assistant Secretary of the Employment and Training Administration, and the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, all of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Committee also included: the Commissioner of the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, the Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Commissioner of Social Security, and the Commissioner of Rehabilitation Services.

In reality, this Committee represented a very broad range of expertise, backgrounds, knowledge bases and personal and professional perspectives about employment of people with disabilities. The charge to the Committee was twofold: advise the Secretary and Congress on ways to increase competitive integrated employment, and advise on the use of 14(c), sub-minimum wage, and other such certificates. After a twenty-one month process of substantial discussion and more than a dozen public meetings, with significant public input and testimony, a final report with recommendations was sent to Congress and the Labor Secretary in September 2016 (a summary of the report is here). All of the recommendations of the report represented the consensus of the entire Committee. Each of the recommendations was adopted by consensus and without objection. Given the broad and diverse perspectives of the members, a report and recommendations by consensus of the entire Committee is a unique deliverable in the disability community.

The heart of the final report and recommendations of the Advisory Committee can be summarized in two words: Capacity Building. These two words and this concept represent the need to support states and local communities to deliver and support competitive integrated employment for individuals with disabilities, including people currently working at sub-minimum wages under 14(c) certificates. The Committee recommended the well-designed phase-out, over time, of the use of sub-minimum wages in conjunction with capacity building at the local level to deliver competitive integrated employment, one person at a time.

The Committee heard wide ranging testimony from experts, people with disabilities and families.  We heard about ways to achieve competitive integrated employment (including for people with the most significant disabilities), the work needed to develop competitive and integrated jobs, based on individual interests and abilities wherein sub-minimum wages are unnecessary, as well as the need for other services and supports to participate fully in community in addition to competitive employment. The Committee heard both success stories from people with disabilities and families, as well concerns about people with disabilities who are currently not achieving competitive integrated employment.

The Transformation to Competitive Employment Act provides specific action steps for the nation on ways to increase competitive integrated employment and proposes ways to phase out the use of sub-minimum wage over time in a way that ensures a smooth transition.  It incorporates the critical recommendations of the Committee.

The Transformation to Competitive Employment Act addresses the strong desire and unmet need from people with significant disabilities for competitive integrated employment. Its focus is capacity building in communities across the nation. While the Transformation Act eliminates the use of sub-minimum wages over time, it is designed to do so responsibly and in conjunction with helping states and providers build their capacity to deliver competitive employment suited to each individual’s interest, capabilities and potential. 

Given our nation’s current low unemployment rate and high need for a reliable workforce, it does not make sense to allow individuals with disabilities to languish in subminimum wage settings. Putting an end to Section 14(c) would not only benefit those with disabilities, but the entire United States through an increased workforce, additional tax revenue, and boosted workplace diversity. This can be achieved in this Congress. 

By passing the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act, Congress will be putting into law an effective and comprehensive way to empower those with disabilities while still maintaining federal safety nets that protect both the people gaining their economic independence, as well as the businesses that used to employ them. Federal oversight, combined with public and private grant programs, will ensure that people with disabilities make a successful transition into competitive integrated employment and, in turn, are given the same opportunities in life that we all want – being valued, learning new skills, being part of a diverse community, and becoming economically empowered.   

 

TRANSFORMATION TO COMPETITIVE EMPLOYMENT ACT (H.R. 873/S. 260)

Most people with disabilities want to work, live independently and be economically self-sufficient. Unfortunately, employment for people with disabilities continues to lag significantly compared to those without disabilities. For too many people with disabilities, their only option is to work in segregated settings called “sheltered workshops,” where they are isolated from co-workers without disabilities and the broader society and are legally paid pennies on the dollar under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The bipartisan Transformation to Competitive Employment Act (H.R. 873/S. 260) will address barriers to employment and expand opportunities for competitive integrated employment for people with disabilities while phasing out subminimum wage certificates under 14(c) of the FLSA over a six-year period. This bill was introduced in the Senate by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and in the House by Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA).

The Collaboration to Promote Self Determination (CPSD) strongly supports this bill that will end the discriminatory and unfair payment of subminimum wages to people with disabilities while increasing opportunities for competitive integrated employment. The Transformation to Competitive Employment Act will:

  • Create a competitive state grant program to help states transition the business models of 14(c) certificate holders to support competitive integrated employment for individuals with disabilities. States will be able to apply for these transformation grants and must establish an advisory committee that includes employers, organizations specializing in employment for individuals with disabilities, people with disabilities, and state Medicaid and vocational rehabilitation agencies.
  • Create a competitive grant program for current 14(c) certificate holders located in states that do not apply for the state grants to transition their business models to support individuals with disabilities in competitive integrated employment.
  • End the payment of subminimum wages to people with disabilities under Section 14(c) of the FLSA by immediately ending the issuance of any new 14(c) certificates by the Department of Labor and phasing out the use of existing 14(c) certificates over six years until employees are paid the federal minimum wage.
  • Establish a national technical assistance (TA) center to support all entities, even those not receiving the transformation grants, to transition to competitive integrated employment. The TA center will disseminate information about best practices, lessons learned, and models for transition to all entities transitioning to competitive integrated employment.
  • Require reporting and evaluation on the progress of creating and expanding the service delivery structure to support workers with disabilities in competitive integrated employment and with

inclusive wraparound services when not working. States and 14(c) certificate holders will be required to report on their grant activities, evaluate changes in employment for individuals with disabilities, report average wage information, and evaluate employer actions taken to comply with the phase-out of 14(c) and transformation grants.

Why is the capacity-building component of this bill so important?

All people with disabilities deserve opportunities for competitive integrated employment. A phase out of 14(c) must also include a systematic approach to expand capacity for competitive integrated employment, particularly for people transitioning out of sheltered workshops. The grants provided under this bill would provide technical assistance and funding to help states and 14(c) certificate holders move to a paradigm of more integrated and innovative approaches to disability employment. The grants would bring stakeholders together to develop the system infrastructure and align funding for competitive integrated employment and ensure that ending the subminimum wage is done thoughtfully to avoid unintended consequences for individuals with disabilities. This imperative for capacity-building efforts to accompany a 14(c) phase out is emphasized in the report to Congress from the WIOA Advisory Committee.1 The Transformation to Competitive Employment bill aligns the Committee’s recommendations and will help people withdisabilities transition to competitive integrated employment opportunities in a careful and responsible way.

Why is it important to phase out subminimum wage under Section 14(c)?

Section 14(c) of the FLSA enables public and private employers to obtain special certificates from the Department of Labor to pay workers with disabilities at rates well below the current federal minimum wage, often pennies on the dollar. This law, created in 1938, is outdated, discriminatory, and reinforces a life of poverty, segregation, and dependency on public support for people with disabilities.

In passing the bipartisan Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014, Congress made clear that competitive integrated employment – where people with disabilities work in mainstream jobs alongside, and are paid comparable wages to, co-workers without disabilities – is a national priority. The broader disability community, the Advisory Committee created by Congress in WIOA, the National Council on Disability and others have all called for a phase-out of subminimum wage.2

Legislative request

Please sign on to cosponsor the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act (H.R. 873/S. 260) by contacting Phoebe Ball with Chairman Scott on the House Committee on Education & Labor (phoebe.ball@mail.house.gov) or Michael Gamel-McCormick with Senator Casey on the Senate Committee on Aging (Michael_Gamel-McCormick@aging.senate.gov).

If you have any questions, or to follow up, please reach out to Alison Barkoff, Policy Advisor to CPSD (abarkoff@cpr-us.org). For more information about CPSD, please see www.thecpsd.org.

1 See Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities, September 15, 2016 Report (Committee Report) at 28-32, available at https://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/pdf/ACICIEID_Final_Report_9-8-16.pdf.

2 See Committee Report; National Council on Disability, From the New Deal to the Real Deal: Joining the Industries of the FutureOctober 2018 Report, available at https://ncd.gov/sites/default/files/New%20Deal%20to%20Real%20Deal%20FINAL_508.PDF.

CPSD letter supporting the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act

January 25, 2019

Senator Robert “Bob” Casey

393 Russell Senate Office Building     

Washington, D.C. 20510                                                  

Chairman Bobby Scott

2176 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510                                                              

Dear Senator Casey and Chairman Scott:
 
On behalf of the Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination (CPSD), I write to express our support for the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act.  Founded in 2007, CPSD is an advocacy coalition of organizations representing people with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities and their families, disability service agencies and individuals who have come together to bring about a significant modernization and alignment of the federal system of services and supports for persons with disabilities.  Since its inception, CPSD has been working to reform the nation’s disability laws and programs to advance economic security, enhance community participation, and increase opportunities for people with disabilities so that they are able to lead self-determined lives.  
 
In passing the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014, Congress made clear that  competitive integrated employment (CIE) – where people with disabilities work in mainstream jobs alongside, and are paid comparable wages to, co-workers without disabilities – is a national priority.  Yet nearly 230,000 people with disabilities are still legally paid subminimum wages under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, largely in settings where they are segregated from their nondisabled peers and broader society.The subminimum wage for too long has created and reinforced a life of poverty, segregation ,and dependency on public support. That is why the WIOA Advisory Committee, the National Council on Disability, and the disability community have called for the elimination of subminimum wage. 
 
CPSD has long advocated for the elimination of the unfair and discriminatory payment of subminimum wages to people with disabilities under Section 14(c).  We have always emphasized that any phase out of 14(c) must be combined with building capacity in service systems that lead CIE and economic advancement of people with disabilities.  We are thrilled to see the capacity-building component included in the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act and believe it will be crucial to expanding opportunities for CIE.    
 
CPSD greatly appreciates your leadership around employment of people with disabilities and believes that this bill represents a thoughtful approach to phasing out Section 14(c) subminimum wage while providing the funding, supports and training necessary to change the infrastructure of outdated business models. This bill will also ensure that individuals with disabilities have opportunities for CIE and are supported throughout the process.  In short, this bill signifies a critical and responsible paradigm shift for the employment of people with disabilities.
 
Thankyou again for the introduction of this critical bill.  CPSD stands ready to assist you as this bill moves through Congress.  Please contact Alison Barkoff, Policy Advisor to CPSD (abarkoff@cpr-us.org or 202-854-1270) if you have any questions or to follow up on this letter.
 
Sincerely,
 
Madeleine C. Will
President, Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination        

CPSD and allies support ending subminimum wage for people with disabilities in the Raise the Wage Act

Please see the attached two letters for more details.

To read the bill text of the Raise the Wage Act, click here
To read the section-by-section of the Raise the Wage Act, click here. 
To read a fact sheet on Raise the Wage Act, click here.


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