NCD Letter on Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act

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April 7, 2021

The Honorable Bobby Scott
Chairman
Committee on Education and Labor
U.S. House of Representatives
2176 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers
U.S. House of Representatives
1035 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Scott and Representative McMorris Rodgers:

As the Chairman of the National Council on Disability (NCD), I write to thank you for the introduction of the Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act (TCIEA), which we find incorporates many of our key recommendations from our past reports calling for systems change and to phase-out Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (14(c)).

As advisors to the President, his administration, Congress and heads of federal agencies on policy matters affecting persons with disabilities, NCD has completed two comprehensive investigations on the effects of 14(c) on employment opportunities for people with disabilities. In each of those investigations we have concluded that, not only does 14(c) undermine current disability policy, but it has been unsuccessful in providing employees with the skills needed to enter the workforce. NCD’s 2012 report, National Council on Disability Report on Subminimum Wage and Supported Employment called upon policymakers to phase-out 14(c) while implementing a conversion or transformation strategy that would expand opportunities to transition away from the segregated subminimum wage model perpetuated under 14(c).[1] NCD’s follow-up investigation, published in our 2018 report, National Disability Employment Policy, From the New Deal to the Real Deal, found no improvement to the program and reiterated our previous recommendations again calling on policymakers to implement a mechanism for systems change.[2]

Many of the TCIEA’s provisions are consistent with the recommendations outlined in our 2012 and 2018 reports. In addition to a multi-year phase-out of 14(c), this bill would provide states and individual providers with resources from subject-matter experts in order to transform their business and program models away from the outdated subminimum wage model and into a new model that supports opportunities to enter competitive integrated employment. It also incentivizes providers that have already demonstrated success in transitioning to the new work model to compete for technical assistance grants to assist other providers and states throughout their transformation efforts.

NCD commends each of you for your work on TCIEA. We look forward to its passage that will facilitate the long-overdue transformation of a policy relic in disability employment policy. If we can be of assistance in helping its passage, do let us know.

Respectfully,

Andrés J. Gallegos
Chairman

 




[1] NATIONAL COUNCIL ON DISABILITY, Subminimum Wage and Supported Employment (2012), available at: https://www.ncd.gov/publications/2012/August232012.  

[2] NATIONAL COUNCIL ON DISABILITY, National Disability Employment Policy, From the New Deal to the Real Deal: Joining the Industries of the Future (2018), available at:  https://www.ncd.gov/publications/2018/new-deal-real-deal.