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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 10, 2014 04:04 PM
From: Senator Lisa Baker
To: All Senate members
Subject: “Work Experience for High School Students with Disabilities” Act
Please join me in co-sponsoring legislation to better empower high school students with disabilities to enter the job market. This bill is similar to Senate Bill 1497 of the 2013-2014 session, but has been strengthened to conform more fully with the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

While many young people with disabilities have the aspiration and ability to work at competitive employment, eighty percent of these youth are not currently working. Federal census data reveals that those with disabilities are more than twice as likely to live below the poverty line and half as likely to join the work force.

To achieve that end, this legislation would give the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) in the Department of Labor and Industry (L & I) the responsibility for connecting local education agencies with public and private employers necessary to successfully transition students from high school to employment.

The OVR would be required to collaborate with officials of local education agencies and other public agencies, such as county mental health and intellectual disabilities programs, to include after-school and summer work opportunities in a student’s Individual Educational Plan (IEP). The OVR would also arrange for, monitor, and support the placement of high school students with disabilities in lawful internships, on-the-job training, or full- or part-time work at competitive wages in integrated settings with public- and private-sector employers.

L & I would also provide professional guidance relative to job coaching services and provide services to people who are OVR-eligible. State funds would match federal funds available to Pennsylvania through the OVR under the federal Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Thank you for your consideration of this proposal, which has been inspired by the “I Want to Work” campaign spearheaded by the United Way and many local Arcs.

Introduced as SB200