WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Council on Disability’s report, “From the New Deal to the Real Deal: Joining the Industries of the Future,” offers an overview of workplace plans for the disabled.
The National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency, makes recommendations to the president and Congress on policies affecting Americans with disabilities. They work to empower individuals with disabilities and to promote equal opportunity.
The overview suggests…
A gradual phase out of 14(c) Certificates to increase supported-employment services in integrated settings.
States should set reimbursement rates to reflect a preference for integrated-employment over segregated settings, or workshops. Also, explore performance-based payment systems and promote infrastructure grants and interagency collaboration – among developmental disability, vocational rehabilitation and school agencies – in establishing seamless funding systems.
Federal technical assistance resources should expand and be made available to people transitioning out of subminimum wage settings.
Federal and state support for peer-to-peer mentoring programs should expand. The idea is to ensure the disabled, who are in 14(c) employment and contemplating entering competitive integrated employment, have access to peer and family supports.
As the “need for knowledge is great” for those who have had very few opportunities to learn about the possibility for competitive integrated employment, after having been in subminimum wage or sheltered employment, often for decades at a time, 14(c) sheltered workshops should provide information and notice about the availability of integrated supported employment services. Where appropriate, they should be referred to services recipients.
• Education systems should align educational curriculum and transition planning with post-secondary outcomes in integrated settings. Settings should include opportunities for paid work in integrated settings before students leave school and access to a high school diploma.