Employment

Issue:         

Even though people with intellectual and developmental disabilities want to work and have the skills to do so, there are limited employment opportunities. As a result, the majority of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities are either unemployed or underemployed.

Position:    

To further promote employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, we propose the following:

  • enhance employer tax credits;

  • secure additional funding for job coaches and other supports;

  • create state jobs;

  • pay a subminimum wage when appropriate;

  • create a pilot program that subdivides state jobs into simpler component parts to provide minimum wage, integrated employment for people who otherwise could not perform the entire job. The Customized Job Programs legislation, initiated by The Arc New York and sponsored by Senator Young and Assemblyman Santabarbara, would establish this pilot program;

  • transform sheltered workshops into integrated businesses. We are currently awaiting CMS approval of a transformation plan developed by providers and OPWDD; and

  • give people in sheltered workshops the right to choose to remain in that setting if they want with the Employment First Choice Act. This bill, initiated by The Arc New York and sponsored by Assemblywoman Gunther, is in response to the state’s original plan to close all workshops irrespective of the hardships it would cause individuals who have come to rely on them for a paycheck and social network. Modeled after the consent decree between Rhode Island and the U.S. Department of Justice, this bill seeks to minimize the use of sheltered workshops, but also recognizes the right of individuals, consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s Olmstead Decision, to choose to remain in them.