ACCSES Employment Policy Documents
During the past several years, ACCSES has attempted to facilitate consensus among the disability community regarding employment-related policy initiatives. Despite our best efforts, the disability community is often divided in how best to achieve the goals of disability employment policy articulated in the ADA (equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency). This discord has manifested in competing approaches on issues including reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act, prevocational services and the definition of “integrated setting” under the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services program, Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the AbilityOne program. We expect that this discord will continue during the year.
There has also been a disturbing trend in recent years showing an increase in individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) served in day habilitation programs and declining numbers served in employment programs. A 2012 report from the Institute for Community Inclusion and studies on national HCBS Waiver spending, suggest that in many states employment-related services funded by Medicaid for people with I/DD are declining while non-work day services are increasing. ACCSES is concerned that state agencies, in response to formal and informal directives from CMS, are adopting policies that are having the effect of reducing support for employment options such as paid work in skill development centers and supported employment.
The “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)” (PL 113-128) was enacted in 2014 and created the seventeen member panel known as the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (ACICIEID). The mission of the ACICIEID is to prepare findings and recommendations to the Secretary of Labor on (1) ways to increase the employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities or other individuals with significant disabilities in competitive integrated employment; (2) the use of the certificate program carried out under Section 14(c) of the FLSA for the employment of individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, or other individuals with significant disabilities; and (3) ways to improve oversight of the use of such certificates. ACCSES will monitor implementation of changes in the workforce system and engage the work being done by the ACICIEID prior to its submission of recommendations to the Secretary.
ACCSES will monitor implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) during this Congress to ensure the ongoing role of community rehabilitation providers and preserve critical employment options for the people we serve.
ACCSES will promote the reauthorization of the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance Act (WIPA) program.
ACCSES will advocate for public policies that foster better jobs, wages, and working conditions for individuals with disabilities, including individuals with the most significant disabilities. ACCSES will lead the charge to defend individuals’ with disabilities right to have access to employment options and opportunities that represent the fullest expression of their vocational strengths, priorities, needs, abilities, and capabilities.
Some individuals with the most significant disabilities may not be able to meet productivity standards established by an employer, even with the provision of reasonable accommodations. Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act enables hundreds of thousands of people with the most significant disabilities to be paid for their efforts commensurate with their levels of productivity. ACCSES protects the choice of people with the most significant disabilities to engage in economic activity and to be paid in accordance with Section 14(c). ACCSES will oppose the phase out or repeal of Section 14(c). ACCSES fully supports aggressive enforcement of Section 14(c).
ACCSES will ensure that the Department of Justice (DOJ) recognizes the need to maintain a range of choices and opportunities that reflect the needs and desires of the individual and the employment-related recommendations of the treatment professionals. ACCSES will ensure that DOJ adopts state employment-related policies, practices, and procedures that comply with the ADA’s most integrated setting appropriate mandate and the Olmstead Supreme Court decision.
ACCSES will support efforts to ensure the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) continues to be available as an incentive for employment of people with disabilities.
ACCSES will fight for increased federal funding for the basic state grant under IDEA as an investment in the future, despite recognition of federal fiscal pressures. ACCSES will advocate for special education and related services in the least restrictive environment, and advocate for expanded and improved provision of transition services at younger ages and grades.
ACCSES will support federal grant programs that focus on transitional services and employment and explore appropriations and other strategies to establish more secure financial support for transition services, including enhancing the role of disability service providers in providing transition services and supports.