Please direct the Department of Education/Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to reconsider their misinterpretation of the term "competitive integrated employment" in WIOA and strike the
- unnecessary regulations
- (formulated under the previous administration) as they
- restrict the ability of
- individuals with significant disabilities to
- participate in AbilityOne programs in which they can
- obtain and keep employment that can pay well enough to help them
- exit the Social Security benefits system if they so choose and
- become financially self-sufficient.
Because of RSA's current misinterpretation of the term "competitive integrated employment" and misguided decision that AbilityOne contracts do not meet this standard
- state vocational rehabilitation programs can no longer count significant AbilityOne jobs as closures
even though the same job outside of the AbilityOne program would be an acceptable closure.
- If State VR agencies do not to refer persons with significant disabilities to AbilityOne jobs they may never find out about them.
- Rehabilitation programs operating AbilityOne contracts rely on VR funding to cover initial placement and training and this funding will disappear.
- Support will be reduced and some programs may be forced to close, further limiting employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.
In 2015 the average hourly wage for a person with a disability in the AbilityOne program was $12.80.
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