We had a beautiful day for our 17th Annual Golf Classic on Friday at Greensburg Country Club! Thank you to our golfers, sponsors, and volunteers for helping to make this another successful event. See you all again next year!
ACTION NEEDED TO COMPLETE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR ONLINE SURVEY REGARDING WORK CENTERS & 14(c) WAGE CERTIFICATES
It is critical that you act quickly to protect the employment opportunities of our loved ones. The United States Department of Labor is conducting a nationwide survey to collect citizens’ views on whether Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act should be continued or repealed. Section 14(c) permits employers to pay individuals with disabilities a specialized wage based on their ability to perform the job.
The purpose of Section 14(c) is to help individuals with disabilities to obtain employment. We know that the so-called disability rights advocacy groups will be flooding DOL with their view that Section 14(c) should be repealed and that everyone person with a disability must be employed “in the community” at minimum wage or above. These advocates fail to realize (or acknowledge) that the repeal of Section 14(c) will mean the loss of employment for men and women with significant intellectual or developmental disabilities, like our family members.
It is important the DOL hear our side of the story. We must convince DOL that there is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to employment. Section 14(c) continues to play a critical role in allowing non-profit service providers to create employment opportunities for those who cannot otherwise hold jobs “in the community” or to supplement the few hours a week of “community” employment.
Therefore, please follow the instructions below to complete the online DOL survey. YOU MUST DO SO BY JUNE 12.
1. Click this https://14cdialogue.ideascale.com
2. Click Register in the upper right hand corner
3. Create your account, put NA for organization
4. After you register you will get an email with a 6 digit verification code, write down the code
5. In that same email, click on “Verify my e mail”
6. Type in your verification code
7. You will be asked to create a password
8. Once you submit your password you will get to the “Section 14(c) National Online Dialogue” screen
9. Click on “Use of Section 14(c) Certificates and Observed Trends”
10. Click on “Submit New Idea”
11. Type in a Title for you message. It is limited to 64 characters. You can do something like “Those with Significant Intellectual Disabilities Need 14(c)”
12. Type in the Description box what you want to say about the importance of 14(c) to your loved one. There is no apparent character limit, but we should keep the description relatively short while providing information about your family member and the importance of 14(c) to him or her. Consider including the following information;
- Your family member’s name and where he or she lives
- If he or she lives in a residential facility, identify and briefly describe the facility
- Explain your loved one’s disability and level of functioning
- Explain that you oppose the repeal or phase out of 14(c)
- If you family member spends time at a facility that offers 14(c) employment, briefly describe those work programs
- If it is the case, describe why your loved one cannot obtain or maintain a job in the community at minimum wage.
- If your loved one does have a job in the community, explain how it is only for a few hours a week and he or she spends the rest of her week in a 14(c) job if that is the case.
- If your loved one is employed in a 14(c) job, explain what he or she does and what that job means to him or her.
- Explain that the elimination of Section 14(c) would increase to cost of employment, causing the reduction of jobs.
- Explain what it would mean to your loved one if he or she lost her 14(c) job.
- If your loved one does not currently have a 14(c) job explain your hope that he or she will at some point have the skills to hold such a job, but that would only be possible if he or she could receive a special wage under Section 14(c).
After you have completed your description, click Submit
Scott Mendel of Together For Choice submitted the following, which you may use as an example. It is important that your description be personalized, so please change the paragraph below to your own words and to capture the individual circumstances of your loved one.
Our daughter Sarah lives at Misericordia in Chicago, IL. Misericordia is a non-profit entity serving over 600 children and adults with intellectual disabilities who require around-the-clock care. Sarah is 37 years old, has cerebral palsy, uses a wheelchair, and is intellectually about three to four years old. She needs assistance to perform all activities of daily living, including dressing, bathing, toileting, eating, and medicating. We strongly oppose the repeal or phase-out Section 14(c). It is essential that 14(c) remain available to those served by Misericordia). Misericordia operates a number of work programs on its campus. The purpose of these programs is to provide job training to the men and women Misericordia serves and to provide them with a life of dignity. All of these programs operate at a loss. These programs are operated solely to give Misericordia residents the pride and self-esteem that comes from holding a job. If Section 14(c) is phased out, the cost of these work programs would triple. Misericordia would be forced to employ fewer of its residents and employ them for fewer hours. The loss of job opportunities for our loved ones would not be replaced by off-campus jobs. Many Misericordia residents, including our Sarah, could not obtain or maintain an off-campus job at the minimum wage. Sarah’s intellectual and behavioral challenges preclude community employment. Her only opportunity at employment is an on-campus job where she can receive the constant care and support she requires. We hope that through Misericordia’s excellent training programs that one-day Sarah can hold a job in Misericordia’s laundry or recycling program. But, if Section 14(c) is eliminated, that will become impossible. The end of 14(c) would mean the end of our dream that Sarah will one day have a job on Misericordia’s campus.
Thank you for taking action!
Timothy P. Miller, MSW
A-TEAM, Providers and Supporters,
As many of you are aware the revised CPS rates were released last Friday (May 24th). The Proposed rates in March would have created a tremendous financial strain on ALL Providers, which would have created the quality and quantity of services that individuals with an intellectual disability would have received. There would have been some instances where Providers would have had to close their doors and not be able to provide programs and services for those they serve.
Thanks to thousands of letters, e-mails, phone calls, etc. made to the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) during the 30 day Commenting Period, modifications to the rates were made. In addition to our correspondences to ODP, the amount of support received by our Legislators and Senators was outstanding. I would suggest that all of you reach out to those that supported this issue and thank them for all they have done.
In receiving much feedback from many Providers throughout the Commonwealth, the overall view is as follows:
- Even though the modified rates will not be taken back to the current rates, the loss of revenue will not create a dramatic financial impact on Providers. There will need to be some cuts for several Providers, but the likelihood of any major change is not evident.
- There will continue to be issues that ODP will bring to the table. When these issues arise, we will ONCE AGAIN, need to bond together and fight for what is RIGHT.
- Everything we have been fighting for revolves around ones CHOICE!!! Having a CHOICE is a given right and fighting for that right is what we will do.
Take care and if anyone has any thoughts, comments or questions, do not hesitate to get in touch with me.
Timothy P. Miller, MSW
Westmoreland County Blind Association
911 South Main Street
Greensburg, PA 15601
Here is a video of PA State Representative Eric Nelson’s visit to WCBA’s facility last Friday. He is helping explain the importance of sheltered workshops and the value they have for employing special needs individuals.
Don’t forget to join us Tuesday, April 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for our Spring Open House. Everyone is invited to come to the WCBA and share in our “National Day For Choice”.