On September 15, 2015, the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (ACICIEID) released its Interim Report to Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), and the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. ACICIEID, created by a provision of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is charged with providing Congress with a regular assessment report on the current state of employment outcomes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). The Interim Report contains information on the current prevalence of segregated, subminimum wage work among people with I/DD and recommendations for increasing competitive integrated employment in this population.
The ACICIEID is made up of several subcommittees. Some of the issues the subcommittees discuss in the Interim Report include:
- Recommendations to improve the delivery of supported employment and vocational rehabilitation in the states, including changing the state match rate for HCBS waiver funds to match the rate for Vocational Rehabilitation, and expanding the use of HCBS waivers. ACICIEID suggested that CMS create a standardized system for reporting quantifiable employment outcomes of HCBS employment programs. It should also aim to realign existing infrastructure funding to favor competitive integrated employment.
- The need for improved coordination between the agencies that support youth with I/DD during their transition between school and employment, and theneed to offer youth with I/DD greater access to reasonable accommodations in schools and vocational rehabilitation services.
- Reform the AbilityOne Program, which includes improving oversight of AbilityOne contractors, conflict-of-interest policies, and a requirement that Ability One contractors be competent in practices that help workers with disabilities transition to competitive integrated employment.
- Recommendations for marketplace incentives for competitive integrated employment, including the production of a nationwide educational campaign on the benefits of disability inclusion and the improvement of transportation systems that serve people with I/DD getting to and from work.
The ACICIEID held its latest meeting on October 14 and 15, 2015. At the meeting, each of the four subcommittees presented their most recent work and Interim Report recommendations before the Committee and opened those recommendations for discussion. A number of stakeholder organizations submitted public comments and testified before the committee on their greatest concerns. Three prominent issues at the meeting were: (1) whether it was appropriate to recommend a responsible phase-out of Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act; (2) what the limitations were on ACICIEID’s power as a committee, given that they make recommendations to the Department of Labor, but offered several recommendations in the Interim Report that necessitated both regulatory and legislative changes across the Federal government; and (3) the need to ensure services remain consistent to an individual both during and after a transition into competitive integrated employment.
The ACICIEID will continue developing its recommendations during the next year and will eventually release a Final Report incorporating the feedback that it has received. For further information, read the Committee’s Interim Report.