ACCSES’s core issue areas, for which we have an associated public policy committee, are below:
- ABILITYONE AND STATE USE - ACCSES supports the essential jobs made available through AbilityOne and State Use programs. These jobs are not created for individuals with disabilities. Rather, these programs connect individuals with disabilities or who are blind to quality work, good pay (often with benefits), and opportunities for advancement in myriad settings, including government buildings, military bases, airports, among other locations. These programs put tens of thousands of individuals with disabilities on a career path.
- APPRENTICESHIP - For years, ACCSES has included registered apprenticeships as a valuable tool in assisting individuals with disabilities to move forward on a career path both in its advocacy and in its conference programs. As a U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy National Expansion of Employment Opportunities Network (NEON) national provider organization (NPO), ACCSES focused its 40 hours of NEON technical support in 2022 on creating a soon-to-be-released guide for disability service providers interested in establishing a registered apprenticeship program within their organizations. We look forward to doing more in this area in the year ahead.
- EDUCATION - ACCSES works with our partners to ensure federal education policy emphasizes career-focused outcomes. From WIOA to ESSA to IDEA our team strives to increase opportunities and prevent unintended consequences.
- EMPLOYMENT - ACCSES is the leader in ensuring policy makers understand the critical importance of expanding employment options and opportunities for people with disabilities, without limiting options based on arbitrary regulations or misperceptions that serve only to deprive individuals of employment choices that best meet their individual needs and goals. ACCSES works to introduce or re-introduce options to members, such as Apprenticeship or Ticket to Work, that will expand job choice and introduce new funding streams to support providers in assisting individuals in achieving their goals.
- HEALTH, AGING, ALZHEIMER’S, AND DEMENTIA - Shortly before the beginning of the COVID pandemic, ACCSES began working with members on issues around aging, Alzheimer’s, and dementia, including on concerns specifically related to individuals with disabilities. When the pandemic struck, ACCSES leapt into action to educate its members on available funding, Appendix K waivers, where to find personal protective equipment, vaccine information, and numerous other concerns that cropped up over the ensuring two years. ACCSES also built community around the health concerns, keeping members connected to each other, reaching out to other advocacy organizations to jointly appeal to Congress for aid, meeting with federal government leaders to demand a clarification of the Medicaid and CHIP Provider Relief Fund’s availability to providers serving individuals with disabilities, and shared ideas for continuing to provide services in a significantly changed environment. As a result, we added Health to this policy area, and will continue to share important information on COVID and other health issues as they arise.
- LONG TERM SERVICES AND SUPPORTS - ACCSES continues to drive the conversation on how changes in health policy directly impact individuals with disabilities. Our government affairs team closely engages with CMS on emerging issues around home and community-based services, managed care, and emergency services. Residential settings and related matters are an active part of ACCSES’s LTSS advocacy.
- STATE ASSOCIATION - ACCSES stays current on changes to state laws and issues arising at the state level that affect ACCSES members and the individuals with disabilities they serve.