As part of our work with the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) and other disability advocacy groups, ANCOR joined over 200 organizations in a letter to newly appointed Acting Assistant Secretary of Education Mark Schultz. This letter served to inform him of the importance of maintaining regulatory language defining competitive integrated employment (CIE). This is a priority issue for many in the disability community as people with disabilities do not have as many employment opportunities as their peers without disabilities.
As written in the letter:
“We know that your office is actively considering the future of the regulations implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Through the past three Unified Agendas, Secretary DeVos has notified the public of her intent to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the regulatory definitions in the WIOA implementing regulations, 34 CFR part 361. She reaffirmed that intent in the Fall 2019 Unified Agenda that was published yesterday. The undersigned wish to unequivocally state that our groups are united in opposition of opening WIOA’s implementing regulations and believe such action would undermine the progress states and stakeholders are making in expanding opportunities for competitive integrated employment.
As you know, WIOA was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and represents the first major legislative reform of the public workforce system in 15 years. WIOA expresses a clear policy in support of competitive integrated employment: jobs where people with disabilities are paid the same wages, have the same opportunities for advancement, and work alongside their co-workers without disabilities. Among other provisions, WIOA defines an employment outcome as competitive integrated employment; prohibits the placement of students transitioning from school into segregated subminimum wage employment without having first had the opportunity to try competitive integrated employment; mandates pre-employment transition services to prepare students for competitive integrated employment; requires people in segregated subminimum wage settings to be offered competitive integrated employment; and requires that vocational rehabilitation services support competitive integrated employment outcomes. As directed by Congress, the Department of Education issued regulations implementing WIOA in August 2016. The WIOA regulations are very much aligned with both Congressional intent and long-standing Department of Education policy.”
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