On September 15th the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (ACICIEID) issued their final report to Congress and the Secretary of Labor.
While there are some very good ideas in the report there are also some poorly drawn conclusions. Among them is that eliminating the special minimum wage will create opportunities for people with disabilities to work in the community. The elimination of the special minimum wage, which has been in place since 1938 and allows over 228,000 Americans to work in spite of their disability, would inevitably end up isolating people at home or relegating them to spending their days in day programs instead of earning a paycheck. This statement is not made lightly. Empirical evidence from the state of Washington evidences this conclusion is accurate. When Washington became an employment first state at the exclusion of other options their community integrated employment levels did go up but according to Lead Center, who measures employment uniformly across the nation, they still lag behind Wisconsin with only 37% of people with disabilities working in a community integrated job. In addition, according to a Washington State Auditor’s Office performance audit the average person with a disability works less than 11 hours per week with the rest of the time being spent at home. You can read the Washington Report here.
Attachments include Frequently Asked Questions about ACICIEID; A TEAM Action Alert; a template to DOL Secretary Perez, and a template to Senator Baldwin, who sits on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Please help and contact Secretary Perez and Senator Baldwin. Your experiences and stories have tremendous impact. If the volume of mail is limited on a particular topic, the aide reviewing it might consider it unimportant. Let’s work together and show Secretary Perez and Senator Baldwin that this is a very important topic.