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.


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.
Madeleine C. Will
President, Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination        


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.


November 27, 2018

Secretary Betsy DeVos
U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Ave., SW Washington, DC 20202-7100

Dear Secretary DeVos,

The undersigned organizations write to express our continued strong opposition to any efforts by the U.S. Department of Education to open existing regulations implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014. We were dismayed to see thatthe WIOA implementing regulations, 34 CFR part 361, were included on the Secretary’s FallUnified Agenda, with an estimated date of January, 2019 for regulatory action.

As we described in our July 9 letter to you and reiterate today, we believe that opening the WIOA regulations will undermine implementation of the law, which establishes competitive integrated employment (CIE) as a clear national priority built on the goal of economic self-sufficiency established in the bipartisan Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

WIOA also prioritizes the transition of youth with disabilities from school to CIE and aligns with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act’s (IDEA) goal of educating students with disabilities alongside their peers without disabilities. The Department’s WIOA regulations not only reflectCongressional intent to prioritize CIE and align WIOA with the ADA and IDEA, but they also codify long-standing Department of Education policy. We strongly believe that opening the regulations is unnecessary and that any concerns that the Department may have, or misinformation that exists in the field, can be addressed most effectively though technical assistance and other sub-regulatory guidance.

Two federal reports issued in the last month share our view that opening the WIOA regulations is unnecessary and would, in fact, be counterproductive. Both reports recommend that the Department provide technical assistance. On October 11, 2018, the National Council on Disability, the independent federal agency charged with advising the President, Congress, and other federal agencies regarding policies, programs, practices, and procedures that affect peoplewith disabilities, issued “From the New Deal to the Real Deal: Joining Industries of the Future.”1The report discusses the definition of CIE in WIOA and its implementing regulations and finds that they reflect long-standing law and policy of the Rehabilitation Act and regulations and align with the requirements of the ADA and the Supreme Court’s decision Olmstead v. L.C. NCD found that any confusion or misunderstanding by state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies about how to apply the CIE definition is not a result of the regulations – which clearly call for VR counselors to consider employment settings on a case-by-case basis – but instead indicate a need for more technical assistance to state VR agencies. Thus, “NCD recommends to theDepartment of Education, including the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, that the WIOA regulations – specifically the definition of competitive, integrated employment – not be reopened for public comment or amendment because the consensus of the disability, business, and employment service provider communities is that the current regulations are of vital importance to the modernization of employment service systems and efforts to on-board people with disabilities into jobs in the economic mainstream.”

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee also issued a report making similar recommendations titled, “Disability Employment: Outdated Laws Leave People with Disabilities Behind in Today’s Economy, Minority Staff Report.”2 The HELP Committee collected information from all 79 state VR agencies looking at how they were applying the new definition of CIE, particularly with respect to AbilityOne settings. With a 100% response rate, state VR agencies reported that they do refer clients to AbilityOne setting that meet the CIE definition, that they do conduct case-by-case analyses all employment settings about whether they meet the definition of CIE, and that they do make referrals for clients who make an informed choice of a setting that does not meet the definition of CIE. The report concludes that“The regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of Education should not be changed at this time. Technical assistance should be provided by the Rehabilitative Services Administration to support state-level implementation of the law and existing regulation.”

As you review the WIOA regulations, we hope you will closely consider the information in these two reports and the views of the wide range of undersigned organizations that strongly oppose opening the regulations and encourage you to seek other options, including technical assistance and guidance to the field, to address confusion or misinformation. The undersigned groups stand ready to engage in thoughtful dialogue with you and your staff about how to best craft such guidance. Please contact Alison Barkoff, CPSD Policy Advisor (abarkoff@cpr-us.org) or Amanda Lowe, NDRN Senior Public Policy Analyst (amanda.lowe@ndrn.org) with any questions or to follow up on our letter.


American Civil Liberties Union
American Association of People with Disabilities American Network of Community Options and Resources Association of People Supporting Employment First Association of University Centers on Disabilities
Autism Society of America
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Bazelon Center for Mental Health LawCenter for American Progress

Center for Public Representation
Collaboration to Promote Self Determination
Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates
Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation
Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services National Association of State Directors of Special Education
National Center for Learning Disabilities
National Council on Independent Living
National Disability Institute
National Disability Rights Network
National Down Syndrome Congress
National Federation of the Blind
The Arc of the United StatesCc: Assistant Secretary Johnny Collett, OSERS
Deputy Assistant Kimberly Richey, OSERS
Senator Lamar Alexander, Chairman, Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pension(HELP) Committee
Senator Patty Murray, Ranking Member, Senate HELP Committee
Representative Virginia Foxx, Chair, House Committee on Education and the Workforce (Ed & Workforce)
Representative Robert “Bobby” Scott, Ranking Member, House Ed & Workforce1 https://www.ncd.gov/sites/default/files/New%20Deal%20to%20Real%20Deal%20FINAL_508.PDF2 https://www.murray.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/84084732-e011-470a-b246-1cdab87755c3/staff- report-on-employment-for-people-with-disabilities-10-29-2018-pm-.pdf

DeVos letter re WIOA regulations from disability community follow up (11.27.18 final)

CPSD sent a letter to Secretary DeVos Sept 2018

Posted by: CPSDAdmin | Categories: News


CPSD, together with almost 40 other national disability organizations, sent a letter to Secretary DeVos opposing any efforts by the Department of Education to weaken or open existing regulations implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which focuses on competitive integrated employment of people with disabilities.

You can read the full letter here.


(September 26, 2018)

“Successes of Youth with Disabilities Transitioning From School to Competitive Integrated Employment”

To celebrate the start of October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month

The briefing was presented by CPSD and the National Council on Disability, in collaboration with Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI), co-chairs of the House Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA)

Attendees learned about how states are helping youth with disabilities succeed as they transition from high school and enter the general workforce.  They heard from people with disabilities and their families about why competitive integrated employment is so important to them, including Van Berg and his father Jeffrey and Yasmine Faith Harrison and her mother Greta.

State speakers included Marissa Catalon, Deputy Director and Katie Howe Director of Program Integrity, from Delaware Division of Developmental Disability Services and B.J. Dernbach, Assistant Deputy Secretary Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

Special guest: Dan Habib, nationally recognized filmmaker, shared a clip from his new INTELLIGENT LIVES project, highlighting the experiences of people with disabilities transitioning from school to work.

Briefing Handouts

Congressional Briefing Overview

Competitive Integrated Employment for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Myths and Truths (CPSD)

Competitive Integrated Employment (Intelligent Lives)

“A Purpose in Life: Why Employment First Matters to Self-Advocates” (Self Advocates Becoming Empowered and Green Mountain Self Advocates)

Wisconsin Promise Congressional Briefing testimony

Wisconsin PROMISE Outcomes

Delaware Successes of Youth with Disabilities

Congressional Briefing Overview

Testimony of Jeffrey and Van Berg

Testimony of Greta Harrison

Testimony of Yasmine “Yassy” Harrison

Speaker Bios

Representatives Seth Moulton was first called to service when he joined the Marines in 2001, days after graduating from college and months before the attacks on 9/11. As the leader of an infantry platoon, he was among the first Americans to reach Baghdad in 2003. He served four tours in a war that he didn’t agree with – but he was proud to go, so no one had to go in his place.

After returning home from Iraq, Seth earned joint degrees in Business and Public Policy at graduate school, and then worked in the private sector in Texas to build the country’s first high speed rail line. But it wasn’t long before he was called to serve once again – this time in his home district in Massachusetts.

Seth ran – and won – on a platform of bringing a new generation of leadership to Washington, becoming the only Democrat to unseat an incumbent in a primary in 2014.

In the two terms since he was first sworn in, Seth has worked tirelessly to uphold his commitment to bipartisanship. He has passed several bipartisan bills, including the Faster Care for Veterans Act and the Modernizing Government Travel Act, and was named the most effective freshman Democrat by the Center for Effective Lawmaking. He has also concentrated on spurring economic development in Massachusetts, creating the first intergovernmental task force focused on growing the economy of Lynn, the biggest city in his district.

Today, as a member of the Budget Committee, Seth is focused on creating a new economic agenda that will make a difference for American families. He also sits on the House Armed Services Committee and is the top Democrat on the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

Seth lives in Salem, Massachusetts with his wife Elizabeth.


Neil Romano is the Chairman on the National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency charged with advising the President, Congress, and other federal agencies regarding policies, programs, practices, and procedures that affect people with disabilities.  He has dedicated his career to the marketing of ideas and messages to help save lives and promote public policy.  Romano’s extensive professional background includes tenure as director of communications for the White House Office of Drug Abuse Policy. In that role, he worked on notable public awareness campaigns including “Just Say No” and “America Responds to AIDS.” In 2007, Romano was nominated by President George W. Bush to be the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy and was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. As head of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), Romano advised the Secretary of Labor and worked with all DOL agencies to lead a comprehensive and coordinated national policy regarding the employment of people with disabilities in the United States. His work as a member of the Committee for Purchase from People Who are Blind or Severely Disabled, helped improve the quality of life for workers with disabilities. In 2010, Romano’s work as a member of that committee was recognized by the full committee with a special leadership award. As a producer/director, Romano’s film, “Youth Homicide: A Public Health Crisis,” earned a Best Director Emmy Nomination.


Dan Habib is the creator of the award-winning documentary films Including Samuel, Who Cares About Kelsey?, Mr. Connolly Has ALS (an IDA nominee for Best Short), Intelligent Lives and many other films on disability issues. Habib’s films have been featured in dozens of film festivals, broadcast internationally, nominated for Emmy awards and translated into 17 languages for worldwide distribution. Habib is a filmmaker at the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability. Habib gave a widely viewed TEDx talk, “Disabling Segregation,” received the Champion of Human and Civil Rights Award from the NEA, and the Justice for All Grassroots Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities. In 2014, Habib was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. Habib and his wife, Betsy, live in Concord, NH, with their sons Isaiah, 21, and Samuel, 18.


Yasmine “Yassy” Harrison is a junior at Bethel High School in Hampton, Virginia.  She loves her school.  She is a member of the Student Council and takes art, yoga and drama lessons in her free time. Yassy has been fully included 100% of the time with typical peers since the age of two. She is now eighteen. Yassy has spoken to two incoming classes of teachers at William & Mary, and a Hampton City Schools session for parents, and administrators that included the superintendent. She has attended four sessions of VDOE’s nationally recognized ‘I’m Determined’ program at James Madison University, and several state and national conferences. She was the first person with a significant disability to intern with the City of Hampton this past summer under Virginia’s Pre-ETS program. She provided office support in the Human Resources Department. She starts her next internship increasing her skills at Hampton’s office of DARS (Department of Rehabilitative Services and Aging) September 28th working one afternoon a week. She will be supporting DARS staff and job coaches.  Yassy loves art and identifies as an artist.


Greta Harrison is the proud parent of two daughters (Yassy, 18, and Nia, 30, who heads planning/research/ and evaluation for Virginia’s Board for People with Disabilities.) Greta is also a local civic leader. She has chaired the Arc of the Virginia Peninsula, Hampton City Schools Special Education Advisory Committee and the Community Services Board Family Advisory Committee.  She led the work team that brought the first Virginia Project SEARCH site to Sentara in Hampton and continues on its Business Advisory Council. Greta is a 2008 WHRO CIVIC Leadership Graduate and founded First Book-Hampton Roads in 2008 with her mentor. It continued until his death, giving out over 50,000 books to children in need in eleven cities of Hampton Roads. Greta is involved in her church’s outreach program. She is part of the COACH program work team. And her “baby” at the moment is a new podcast titled “Pathfinders,” interviewing the parents behind successful youth with disabilities, which she is currently recording to be released early 2019. Greta loves football and may be the biggest Minnesota Vikings fan you ever meet.  She has been married for 38 years.


Marissa Catalon is has spent most of her career working in support of Delawareans with disabilities, With more than 25 years of professional experience in program design, implementation and operations. Prior to her appointment to Deputy Director for the Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDDS) this past March, Marissa served as the statewide Director of Day and Transition Services.  In this position, she established the Day Services Provider Advisory Committee which partners.  Community Employment and Day Service Providers with DDDS staff to identify service and systems inefficiencies and develop a coordinated response to improve operations and outcomes.  In 2015, Marissa engaged in the design and implementation of the Pathways to Employment program: a Medicaid Home and Community Based State Plan option supporting youth with disabilities to obtain employment in their communities.

Marissa also served as the Regional Day and Transition Program Administrator for New Castle County where she collaborated with the Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), the Delaware Department of Education (DOE) and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to develop a collaboration framework that jointly supports youth and adults to pursue and achieve their individual goals.  In 2005, Marissa helped launch the Early Start to Supported Employment (ESSE) program, a nationally recognized and innovative transition program for youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities exiting school services and entering the workforce.


Katie Howe found her passion for working with people with I/DD when she began her career as an Employment Specialist with Delaware Elwyn in 1998.  In 2001, she joined The Delaware Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDDS) as a Family Support Specialist assisting individuals and their families to develop a vision and a path for their lives and services.  In 2012, Katie was promoted to Assistant Director of Day Services in the DDDS Day Services Unit.  In this role, Katie strengthened relationships with the Delaware Department of Education, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Local Education Agencies, and the Day Service Provider community in efforts to provide a quality blend of services for each individual supported.  The lasting partnerships have enabled her to assist hundreds of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to transition successfully into employment and/or adult services that support their ability to achieve their personal employment or life goals. Additionally, Katie has assisted the Division in the development of policy and procedures for new services provided through the Home and Community Based Medicaid Waiver and serves as the Division’s lead with the Pathways to Employment program.  She is also an active member of the Pathways to Employment Quality Committee and has been vital in ensuring services are delivered according to the person-centered plan. Katie also serves as the Division’s representative on the Delaware Developmental Disabilities Council.


Jeffrey Berg currently works as a counselor in a Washington, D.C. mental health clinic that serves people who are experiencing homelessness.  Prior to joining So Others Might Eat, he served as Legal Counsel for the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, U.S. Department of the Treasury for almost 20 years.  For much of the 1980s, he served as deputy director of the Alexandria, Virginia housing authority.  Prior to that, he was a social worker and administrator for several community-based programs for people with intellectual and physical disabilities.  Mr. Berg has a bachelors degree in social work, a masters degree in pubic administration, a law degree, and a masters degree in mental health counseling.


Van Berg works in the Patient Transport unit of the National Institute for Health, where he takes care of wheelchairs, collects and delivers specimens, and other jobs.  He really likes his job!  He has worked there for eight years.  He graduated from the Ivymount School in Bethesda, Maryland.


BJ Dernbach serves as the Assistant Deputy Secretary at the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), where he oversees policy and communications for the department.  He previously served as DWD’s Legislative Liaison and later as Division Administrator for Worker’s Compensation and Operations.  Prior to DWD, he worked in the Wisconsin Legislature for nearly eight years as a policy advisor and Committee Clerk of the Assembly Labor Committee. He earned my Masters of Public Affairs from the UW-Madison La Follette School of Public Affairs and a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Government with a minor in Communication from Ripon College.



PDF of CPSD, APSE, and NDRN Statement on WIOA regulations


Statement Regarding the Department of Education’s Notice to Revise the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Regulations
Jointly issued by CPSD, APSE, and NDRN.

May 17, 2018

The Collaboration to Promote Self Determination (CPSD), the Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE), and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) are dedicated to the full inclusion, independence and economic self-sufficiency of people with disabilities.  Competitive integrated employment – jobs at or above minimum wage alongside co-workers without disabilities – is critical to meeting all of these goals.

Our organizations strongly oppose any efforts by the Department of Education to weaken existing regulations implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014, a bi-partisan statute that made clear that competitive integrated employment is a national priority for people with disabilities.  On May 9, 2018, the Secretary of Education notified the public of her intent to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the regulatory definitions in the WIOA implementing regulations, 34 CFR part 361.  Opening WIOA’s implementing regulations is unnecessary, and any concerns that the Department has can be addressed without opening the rule.

WIOA was passed by an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority and was the first legislative reform in 15 years of the public workforce system. WIOA expresses a clear policy in support of competitive integrated employment.  Among other provisions, WIOA defines an employment outcome as competitive integrated employment; prohibits the placement of students transitioning from school into segregated subminimum wage employment without first having the opportunity to try competitive integrated employment; requires people in segregated subminimum wage settings to be offered competitive integrated employment; mandates pre-employment transition services to prepare students with disabilities for competitive integrated employment; and requires that vocational rehabilitation services support competitive integrated employment outcomes.

As directed by Congress, the Department of Education issued regulations implementing WIOA in August 2016.  The WIOA regulations are very much aligned with both Congressional intent and long-standing Department of Education policy.  Nonetheless, when members of Congress and some stakeholders raised some concerns about the regulations, numerous disability groups with a range of views came together to work in good faith to craft a consensus solution.  Over twenty groups endorsed the position in the March 7, 2018 letter from the Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities Employment Task Force, recommending that the Department make clarifying changes to its sub-regulatory guidance and not open up the regulations. These groups included, among others, APSE, CPSD, Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR),[1] National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities (NASDDDS), National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), The Arc of the United States, Goodwill, ACCSES, SourceAmerica, EasterSeals, Goodwill Industries International, and National Industries for the Blind (NIB).  We are very disappointed to learn that the Department did not adopt this solution, which was simple and outlined in detail the steps necessary to satisfy all parties.  The proposed solution would have addressed the confusion expressed by some in the field regarding the implementation of the current WIOA regulations.

Our organizations strongly oppose re-opening the regulations.  Moreover, the primary Congressional architects of the statute have been resolute in their belief that no changes to regulations should be considered until data on the regulations had been collected and analyzed.  We ask the Department of Education to re-consider its decision and instead implement the proposed consensus solution of the disability community. Congress has made clear that the goal of public should be competitive integrated employment. We believe that the current WIOA regulations are the means to achieving that goal for Americans with disabilities who access the Vocational Rehabilitation system.

The Collaboration to Promote Self Determination (CPSD) is a collaboration of national organizations representing people with disabilities and their families committed to educating Congress and federal agencies about what people with disabilities need to rise out of poverty and live more independently.  We advocate for major systemic reform of the nation’s disability laws and programs so people with disabilities can become employed, earn competitive wages, live independently in inclusive communities, and rise out of poverty.

The Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) is the only national membership organization focused exclusively on integrated employment. Through advocacy and education, APSE advances employment and self-sufficiency for all people with disabilities.

 The National Disability Rights Network is the national membership association for the Protection and Advocacy (P&A) and Client Assistance Program (CAP) agencies, the nationwide network of congressionally-mandated agencies that advocate on behalf of persons with disabilities in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. territories, and is affiliated with the Native American Consortium.  For nearly forty years, the P&A / CAP network has worked to protect the human and civil rights of individuals with disabilities of any age and in any setting, and a central focus of this work has been ensuring that people with disabilities are able to receive quality vocational rehabilitation services and obtain competitive, integrated employment opportunities within the community.  Collectively, the P&A / CAP agencies are the largest provider of legally-based advocacy services for persons with disabilities in the United States.

[1] CPSD and the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) separately notified the Department that we endorsed the approach in the letter.

2018 First Quarter Newsletter

Posted by: CPSDAdmin | Categories: News


February 2018

Dear CPSD Members –

As we look back at our accomplishments over the last several months and forward to our plans for the upcoming year, we continue to find ways to promote CPSD’s mission and core values. This newsletter serves as a recap of CPSD’s major work, as well as news related to membership and upcoming events.



Thursday, March 15, 1:00 PM – CPSD Board Meeting, 1825 K. St, Suite 600



Congratulations to Heather Sachs, National Down Syndrome Congress, who has been tapped as CPSD’s Vice President, and to Curtis Richards, Institute for Educational Leadership, who will serve as CPSD’s Treasurer. Other officers will be announced shortly. Thanks to Heather and Curtis for serving the disability community in these important leadership roles!



Several CPSD members joined the CPSD board in November to craft CPSD policy priorities for 2018. Overwhelmingly, we stand by the commitment to advance competitive integrated employment (CIE) as an overarching goal. Details of how that will play out are outlined in the attached review.


As a reminder, CPSD works both with Congress and with administrative agencies to seek regulatory and legislative solutions that make CIE outcomes more likely. All CPSD members are invited to get involved by participating in planning meetings and in meetings with agencies and Hill offices. Please plan to participate in the Policy Workgroup Meetings the first and third Thursdays of each month, 1:00 PM. You should be receiving notices of each meeting – if not, contact Chris Rodriguez (crodriguez@ndi-inc.org) to make sure you are on the list.



CPSD has been extremely busy since our last update in August.  Below are some highlights of our major activities, by topic area:


Advocacy to protect the WIOA regulations and guidance defining competitive integrated employment:  There has been strong advocacy by the sheltered workshop providers association and AbilityOne/SourceAmerica to rescind guidance and open the WIOA regulations defining competitive integrated employment (CIE).  This has included lobbying the Department of Education (DOEd) to revisit the guidance and regulations as part of their “Regulatory Reform Process” to review and rescind all “unnecessary and burdensome” regulations in compliance with President Trump’s Regulatory Reform Executive order.  They also have been actively lobbying members of Congress to pressure DOEd to rescind the guidance and regulations.  In August, 45 members of the House sent a letter to DOEd urging them to rescind the CIE guidance and the regulations.  In response to this letter, CPSD has played a leading role in advocating in support of these regulations and guidance, including:

  • Coordinating a response letter sent to Secretary DeVos in support of the regulations and guidance and their alignment with the WIOA statute and Congressional intent, joined by numerous other national disability organizations (September 2017)
  • Met with DOEd leadership about our strong support for the regulations on two occasions (October 2017 and again in January 2018).
  • Met with over a dozen members of Congress to educate them about the WIOA regulations and guidance and the disability community’s strong support for them, (meetings also included APSE, CSAVR, National Federation of the Blind, and the National Council on Disability) (November and December 2017)
  • Pulling together a small working group to consider solutions to some of the concerns raised during DOEd meetings (January 2018)


Advocacy around implementation of the WIOA Advisory Committee Report:  CPSD has continued to prioritize implementation of the WIOA Advisory Committee Report.  CPSD has been leading the advocacy to push forward the recommendations in the report, including by:

  • Holding a Congressional briefing entitled “WIOA: Advisory Committee Recommendations and Opportunities for Legislative Action” on October 2, 2017, co-sponsored by Senator Casey (D-PA), Senator Hassan (D-NH), and Representative Harper (R-MS) and Representative Langevin (D-RI) of the Bi-partisan House Disability Caucus. This is the first Congressional briefing that has been held on the Report.  More than 100 individuals attended the briefing, including staff from more than 35 Congressional offices.
  • Meeting with leadership from the Department of Labor (ODEP, Wage and Hour Division and Employment and Training Administration) to discuss our priorities for implementation of the WIOA Advisory Committee Report and hear updates on DOL’s progress (September 2017). We agreed to try to meet quarterly and are working on scheduling a next meeting to discuss implementation of the Report, as well as implementation of Section 511.   


Advocacy around Olmstead Enforcement in States’ Employment Systems:  On December 21, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) withdrew its guidance, “Statement on Application of the Integration Mandate of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Olmstead v. L.C. to State and local Governments’ Employment Service Systems for Individuals with Disabilities.”  Rescission of the guidance was a result of lobbying by the sheltered workshop provider association as part of DOJ’s Regulatory Reform process.  CPSD has led advocacy to respond to this rescission by:

  • Developing and releasing a statement immediately condemning the rescission of the guidance (jointly with CCD Rights Task Force) (December 26, 2017)
  • Drafting and coordinating a letter to DOJ from the disability community expressing our concerns about the rescission of the guidance (jointly with CCD Rights Task Force), with over 225 national and state disability organizations joining (Jan. 8, 2018)
  • Participating in a meeting with leadership from DOJ’s Civil Rights Division about priorities of the disability community and concerns about the rescission of the Olmstead employment guidance (Jan. 9, 2018)



  • We have requested a meeting with the Department of Education (OSERS, OSEP and RSA) to discuss implementation of WIOA, particularly Section 511.
  • CPSD Policy Workgroup engaged in a half-day strategic planning and priority setting meeting on November 14, 2017. The decisions from this meeting have been driving the Policy Workgroup’s activities.


Update on CPSD Products Related to WIOA Implementation

Through a contract with IEL, one of CPSD’s original members, CPSD has been working on two projects that should provide valuable assistance for those concerned with WIOA implementation. David Mank, Professor Emeritus and Chair of the WIOA Advisory Committee, conducted interviews with key informants in order to learn more about the experiences of young people in transition, the extent to which service delivery has been impacted by Section 511, and what stakeholders identify as actions that could be taken to prevent and/or ameliorate transition strategies and/or outcomes inconsistent with CIE. This project culminated in a white paper with recommendations to be used by training and technical assistance providers, self-advocacy organizations, and parent organizations to help them proactively prevent identified pitfalls in the implementation of Section 511 as well a webinar to announce the project, which was attended by more than 100 stakeholders.

CPSD also developed a summary of the groundbreaking report developed by the Advisory Committee Report on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (ACICIEID) commissioned by Congress in the Workforce Investment Opportunities Act 2014 (WIOA). This summary report was developed for use primarily by vocational rehabilitation counselors, transition teachers and other direct service workers, people with disabilities, and their family members).  A version of this report was used for the WIOA Advisory Committee Congressional briefing.  Alison Barkoff is the lead author of this report.

Both reports will be publicly released later this year.



 CPSD 2018 First Quarter Newsletter, Feb. 3

Statement on Work Requirements

Posted by: CPSDAdmin | Categories: News


PDF of Statement



February 8, 2018


The Collaboration to Promote Self Determination (CPSD) and the Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) are organizations dedicated to the employment of people with disabilities. With needed supports and services, primarily provided through Medicaid, people with disabilities have shown they can successfully work in jobs alongside their peers without disabilities.

Our organizations are committed to advancing policies that have been shown to help people work. This includes increasing access to supported employment services funded through Medicaid, providing job training, increasing opportunities for apprenticeship and work-based learning experiences in higher education, and addressing transportation barriers.

Leadership in Congress and this Administration have said they are committed to expanding opportunities for employment of all Americans. Yet, instead of investing in expanding programs that help people work, the Administration and Congressional leaders have been focusing on “work requirement” policies. In January 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidance authorizing states to impose work requirements on Medicaid participants and, over the last several weeks, has approved requests from two states (Kentucky and Indiana) to include work requirements in their Medicaid programs.

Work requirements are not about providing supports to help people get a job or about addressing barriers to employment. In fact, the CMS guidance letter specifically states that Medicaid funds cannot be used to provide assistance to participants in meeting the work requirements through job training, employment services, or childcare. And CMS denied Indiana’s request to use Medicaid funding to help participants meet their work requirement by providing them skills assessment, training and assistance with searching for a job.

Instead, Medicaid work requirements are a thinly-veiled attempt to reduce the number of people on Medicaid. Work requirements mean that people who are eligible for and rely on Medicaid will lose access to healthcare if they can’t meet the requirements. Threatening the loss of healthcare has not been shown to be effective in increasing employment. In fact, people who have access to healthcare and are healthy are more likely to be able to work. Further, the vast majority of people on Medicaid are already working or are caregivers, including of people with disabilities. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 60 percent of Medicaid participants are already working; 12 percent are not working due to caregiving; and an additional 14 percent are not working due to illness or disability.

People with disabilities and their families will be harmed by work requirements. While CMS claims that these policies will only apply to “able-bodied” individuals, only people who qualify for Medicaid because they qualify Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are currently counted as “disabled.” Millions of other people with disabilities who qualify for Medicaid through other pathways will be subject to work requirements without access to the very Medicaid supports that enable other participants to find and sustain jobs. Further, many caretakers of people with disabilities will forced to choose between accessing healthcare or taking care of their loved ones.

CPSD and APSE oppose Medicaid work requirements as an unconscionable attempt to decrease the number of otherwise eligible people relying on Medicaid for healthcare and other supports. We call on policymakers and the Administration to show a commitment to employment by instead expanding access to the job training and employment supports and services that have been shown to help people get and retain jobs. We also encourage Congress and the Administration to expand opportunities for employment of people with disabilities and address their barriers to employment, including by implementing recommendations from the recent report to Congress and the Labor Secretary from the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities.

The Collaboration to Promote Self Determination is a collaboration of national organizations representing people with disabilities and their families committed to educating Congress and federal agencies about what people with disabilities need to rise out of poverty and live more independently. We advocate for major systemic reform of the nation’s disability laws and programs so people with disabilities can become employed, earn competitive wages, live independently in inclusive communities, and rise out of poverty.

The Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) is the only national membership organization focused exclusively on integrated employment. Through advocacy and education, APSE advances employment and self-sufficiency for all people with disabilities.