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 (firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-854-1270) if you have any questions or to follow up on this letter.
Madeleine C. Will
President, Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination