HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Wolf today signed into law legislation sponsored by Rep. Mauree Gingrich (R-Lebanon) to provide work experience for high school students with disabilities.
Gingrich, who serves as chairman of the House Labor and Industry Committee and is a life-long supporter of programs and initiatives to benefit people with disabilities, sponsored House Bill 400, which directs the Department of Labor and Industry’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) to facilitate the process of job and career development between local education agencies and employers to ensure the successful transition of high school students with disabilities into competitive, integrated employment.
“Currently, services for high school students with disabilities end upon graduation or as they ‘age out’ of the education support systems. This deprives them of the opportunity to become independent and productive, taxpaying citizens,” said Gingrich. “My bill will require OVR to help prepare students for internships, on-the-job training and employment in an integrated work environment that will give them the skills necessary to enter or remain in the workforce upon graduation. It would also provide placement assistance and job coaching.
“The new law will open doors and help students with disabilities to achieve the dignity of work,” said Gingrich. “I have had the pleasure of meeting many students with disabilities from around the Commonwealth, and have worked with the organizations that represent and support them. These students are individuals who are working to overcome physical and/or mental challenges, and many have exhibited both the ability and desire to work. I am pleased that they will now have the opportunity to do so.”
Photo: Pictured with the governor and Gingrich are representatives of The Arc and #I Want to Work Campaign,” a self-advocacy campaign that helps young people with disabilities get jobs and internships while in high school.
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