Chairman Scott, Senator Casey, and Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Workers with Disabilities Transition to Competitive, Integrated Employment
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) introduced theTransformation to Competitive Employment Act, which provides states, service providers, subminimum wage certificate holders, and other agencies with the resources to help workers with disabilities transition into competitive, integrated employment.
The Transformation to Competitive Employment Act is legislation designed to strengthen and enhance the disability employment service delivery systems throughout states while subminimum wages, which are currently allowed under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, are phased out over a six-year period.Currently, under section 14(c), employers that obtain a certificate are permitted to hire individuals with disabilities at less than minimum wage.
“Every worker should have access to fulfilling employment and economic self-sufficiency. This bill achieves those goals by advancing a culture of inclusion and collaboration between employers and service providers to enable individuals with disabilities to be successful in the workforce with a fair wage,” said Congressman Scott. “By expanding competitive integrated employment, we can raise wages, increase job satisfaction, and promote community participation for workers with disabilities. This legislation is an important step toward creating one fair wage for all.”
“Holding a job provides many benefits including economic self-sufficiency, a sense of self-worth and social networks. But, for far too many individuals with disabilities, the dignity of work is still out of reach,” Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). “Addressing the barriers to employment for people with disabilities means ensuring supports for finding and keeping good-paying jobs. Chairman Scott and I introduced the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act to help organizations strengthen and expand disability employment services and make it possible for people with disabilities to achieve financial security.”
“Disability employment is the next policy frontier to empower people with disabilities to live full and independent lives. A job is so much more than just a paycheck, it’s what gives us dignity, purpose, and the opportunity for a better life. I look forward to continuing to work in a bipartisan fashion to ensure more people -- who are ready, willing, and able to work -- find employment,” said Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers.
Upon enactment, the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act would:
- Create a competitive state grant program to assist states to transition all 14(c) certificate holders to models that 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, Medicaid agencies, AbilityOne contractors, individuals with disabilities, 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 grant, to transition their business models to support individuals with disabilities in competitive, integrated employment.
- Immediately freeze the issuance of any new 14(c) certificates by the Department of Labor (DOL) and phase out the use of existing 14(c) certificates over 6 years until employees are paid the federal minimum wage.
- Establish a technical assistance (TA) center to support all entities, even those not receiving the transformation grants, to transition to competitive integrated employment. The TA center, which will be funded by DOL, is tasked with disseminating 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 settings and the inclusive wraparound services they receive when not working. States and 14(c) certificate holders will also 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.
To read the section-by-section of the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act, click here.
To read a fact sheet on Transformation to Competitive Employment Act, click here.
List of Supporting Organizations: American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE), Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), Autism National Committee, Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), Autism Society of America, Center for Public Representation (CPR), Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination (CPSD), Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR), Disability Rights California, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF), Disability Rights Florida, Disability Rights Iowa, Disability Rights New Mexico, Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc., National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS), National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), National Disability Institute (NDI), National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC), National Federation of the Blind (NFB), National Rehabilitation Association, TASH, Inc.