Protecting Employment For Individuals With Intellectual And Developmental Disabilities (Coalition White Paper)
Today’s commensurate wage work center programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) are provided in a safe, supportive, and positive educational and workplace setting, meeting strict licensing standards. Individuals receiving this service have cognitive or psychiatric/behavioral, as well as sometimes physical, disabilities that require extensive accommodations and supports, and often direct and continuous supervision by their professional workplace teams, for them to achieve their vocational and daily living goals in a safe and welcoming environment. Ultimately, commensurate wage work center programs are precisely what ensure that individuals with I/DD have a greater opportunity for employment with the accommodations and supports they need to thrive in the workplace.
Coalition Outcome Updates
- 10/7/22 – In order for the Coalition’s board and the members of the Coalition to continue advocacy on behalf of individuals with significant disabilities, the membership has been asked to provide financial support by contributing dues as an individual/family membership or organizational membership starting in January of 2023. These dues provide a national coalition with a voice in Washington, the expertise of K&L Gates, and the networking advantages of a group focused on the specific issues, focusing on the I/DD population.
- 8/18/22 – K&L Gates coordinated an Invite as Guest Speaker to Devon Westhill, of CEO, a Civil Rights Advocacy Organization, formerly with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Labor, Chief Outreach Person. Devon discussed the importance of having good data to promote our advocacy efforts to keep the 14c Program. Also gave us several recommendations as we continue our efforts for the Preservation of Employment Choice.
- 8/18/22 – K&L Gates coordinated a Coalition Board Members discussion with leaders of the Wage & Hour Division (WHD), including Acting Administrator Jessica Looman, to provide feedback regarding WHD’s recent WIOA/Section 511 guidance and to request WHD’s help in ensuring State VR Agencies timely and correctly fulfilled their responsibilities under WIOA/Section 511.
- Coalition’s Board Members met with Phoebe Ball, Disability Counsel for the House Education and Labor Committee. The visit included a productive conversation regarding future directions for 14 (c) programs.
- K& L Gates coordinated an invite to Keith Sonderling EEOC Commissioner, to be a Guest Speaker.
- K&L Gates Coordinated a Discussion with GAO on May 17, 2022, to discuss the GAO 14c Study currently being performed.
- The Coalition for the Preservation of Employment Choice continues to advocate for the 14c commensurate wage program and to have a seat at the table as decisions are made about the future of the program. The Coalition also begins developing strategies and consensus around other critical issues including WIOA, Competitive Integrated Employment, the Ability One program, and other issues of importance to Coalition members.
- 4/18/2022 – K&L Gates facilitates a meeting with the Coalition board of directors and the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) Wage & Hour (DOL) to discuss the value and future of 14c programs.
- 3/23/2022 – The Coalition’s members and board of directors recognized the call for a name change to represent the goals of the Coalition. The board approves a name change to the “Coalition for the Preservation of Employment Choice.”
- Across the country, a series of connections linking the Coalition’s members is becoming apparent as the members discuss issues related to 14c and the vocational services provided in various states.
- K&L Gates Congressional Outreach results in the Coalition’s members meeting and discussing the 14c program with over 100 congressional members and/or their staff.
- 3/1/2022 – The Coalition grows to include representatives from 22 States and more than 80 individuals. The group continues meeting every Thursday.
- 2/6/2022 – The Coalition begins meeting with and educating congressional committee members, federal agencies, and policy makers on the value of 14c programs.
- With the support, guidance, and leadership of the K&L Gates Law Firm, the Coalition develops a “White Paper” to educate congressional members and their staff on the value of the 14c program.
- 5/4/2021 – Incorporation of the “Coalition for the Preservation of 14c, Inc.” with the purpose to develop a coalition of organizations that believe in the value of giving individuals with significant disabilities the full range of employment choices.