Vector flat modern illustration of a man talking to a young woman with laptop. Isolated on background

The vast majority of people with disabilities who are of working age remain unemployed or under-employed. In fact, people with disabilities constitute the segment of our society that is least employed. ​Furthermore, data on employment of people with disabilities is not disaggregated by race. ​People with IDD often face a daunting task in securing and maintaining employment. They can be employed in the community and should earn competitive wages. They should be supported to make informed choices about their work and careers and have access to the resources to seek, obtain, and be successful in competitive integrated employment.

Employment Priorities for the 118th Congress
Competitive Integrated Employment
  • Support implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), toward maximizing employment outcomes, and improving transition outcomes, for people with IDD;
  • Support “Employment First” policies as a strategy to increase opportunities for competitive integrated employment of individuals with IDD as the preferred outcome;
  • Build infrastructure and create incentives for private sector employers or other solutions that will expand work opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities in competitive integrated employment;
  • Create incentives for states to expand work opportunities for individuals with disabilities, particularly those with significant disabilities, in competitive integrated employment, including necessary individualized transportation options so that individuals can maintain employment;
  • Expand training and technical assistance to community rehabilitation providers to transition from the use of subminimum wages and nonintegrated environments, including career counseling and information about training opportunities required by WIOA;
  • Build infrastructure and supports needed to phase out the use of subminimum wage including putting in place comprehensive transition services and appropriate safeguards to protect the interests of any people with disabilities affected by this shift;
  • Conduct oversight on and strengthen the Department of Labor’s monitoring of compliance under the Fair Labor Standards Act and other federal non-discrimination requirements; and Increase and index the federal minimum wage to increase economic security for people with disabilities and their families.
Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Increase funding for state vocational rehabilitation (VR) programs significantly above the required Consumer Price Index (CPI) level to ensure investment in transition to postsecondary opportunities, supported employment, customized employment, and workforce development programs that help our constituents find and keep jobs and have more career options; and build infrastructure and create incentives for employers that will expand work opportunities; and
  • Ensure that state VR programs have trained personnel available to suggest the option of self-employment and the capacity to assist consumers with the design, start-up support, and implementation of Self-Employment Plans.
Procurement and Contracting
  • Modernize the Javits-Wagner-O’Day (JWOD) Act to expand competitive integrated employment opportunities and ensure that people with significant disabilities remain
  • a priority for participation in the program;
  • Ensure that federal funds are directed toward funding competitive integrated employment;
  • Expand employment opportunities by establishing federal procurement preferences for ​employers with disabilities and ​employers who employ people with disabilities; and
  • Assure that federal agencies with oversight require federal government contractors to prioritize the hiring of employees with disabilities, including individuals with IDD, and continue to focus efforts on increasing requirements for hiring those with the most significant disabilities, including access to such annual hiring and retention data.
Employment Standards and Benefits
  • Support policies that expand workplace flexibility;
  • Assure that part-time, supported, or periodic employees are included in any proposal that expands or extends fringe benefit coverage; and
  • Expand access to family and medical leave and support paid leave policies, including by mandating employers to provide a reasonable amount of paid sick leave and requiring payers to recognize these costs in their reimbursement rates.
  • Assure that people with IDD can access all relevant work programs, including business development opportunities;​
  • ​​Provide training and technical assistance to service providers for the purpose of expanding and improving their capacity to provide supported employment, customized employment, and other supports and services that will enhance opportunities for integrated employment consistent with best, promising, and emerging practices;​
  • ​​Require the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration to link youth transition services to support competitive integrated employment using youth resources, including internships and apprenticeships;​
  • ​​Increase the number of people with disabilities employed by the federal government and federal contractors through streamlining hiring processes, strengthening affirmative action requirements, and improving education and recruitment efforts; and​
  • ​​Fully implement the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waiver program and State Medicaid plan Section 1915(i) option to promote competitive integrated employment;​
  • ​​​Ensure that employees with disabilities in all settings and programs have the same rights as employees without disabilities under federal labor laws;​ ​     ​​     ​​
  • ​​​Strengthen enforcement of employment non-discrimination provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act;​​
  • Ensure that employment data collected by federal agencies is disaggregated by disability and ethnicity, race, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, pregnancy, age, language, national origin, genetic information, or any other protected status.