Pennsylvanians with Disabilities
Want to Work, Deserve to Work, and
Employers Need Them to Work
Make Pennsylvania an “Employment First” State for all Tens of thousands of Pennsylvania teenagers and young adults with disabilities want to work.
While the state’s unemployment rate is close to 5 percent, 65 out of 100 of Pennsylvanians with disabilities can’t find jobs or have given up looking for work. At the same time, Pennsylvania has a workforce shortage crisis with more than 200,000 unfilled jobs on any given day. Pennsylvania has an opportunity to move from rhetoric to action by joining 22 other states in adopting Employment First legislation and implementing policies leading to more hiring of people with disabilities and providing qualified, motivated workers for Pennsylvania businesses.
Support SB 200 and HB 400
It’s about a return on investment – Pennsylvania invests an average of $200,000 on the education of a young person with disabilities. Instead of gaining the meaningful employment they’ve worked hard for, many end up staying at home or finding limited, unfulfilling work. They want to be taxpaying, productive members of an integrated workforce. A $2.5 million investment in state funds under SB 200 or HB 400 would generate $10 million in federal funds for PA’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR). That is a return of $4 for every $1 the Commonwealth invests to boost OVR’s service to young people with disabilities.
It’s about meeting employers’ needs – Ask any employer, large or small, retail or tech, finding and keeping a dedicated workforce is a challenge. According to PA JobsGateway program, more than 200,000 job openings exist on any given day in Pennsylvania. Business research shows people with disabilities exceed their colleagues in productivity, quality of work, attendance and job retention.
It’s about preventing poverty – No one grows up wanting to be disabled, and no one grows up wanting to rely on Social Security disability benefits. Pennsylvanians with disabilities are ready to use their education and training to get meaningful, inclusive employment that will keep them from living in poverty while allowing them to work and live in fully integrated settings.
It’s about treating people with respect – People with disabilities don’t want a hand out. All they need is a helping hand up. People with disabilities don’t want our sympathy. They want our respect. People with disabilities don’t want a life of poverty. They want to work.
It’s about TIME – To ensure that teenagers with disabilities get a fair chance to find and get jobs, support SB 200 and HB 400. The legislation will ensure the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is fully funded, drawing $10.5 million in federal funds that are available for Pennsylvania which will allow OVR to help teenagers get paid, integrated summer and out of school employment.
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