Senate Approves HB 400 to Help Teens With Disabilities Prepare for Jobs After Graduation.
#IWantToWork’s effort to make sure young people with disabilities get part-time and summer jobs has gotten a big boost with the approval of HB 400 by the state
HB 400 was unanimously passed by the Senate today. It needs a procedural approval in the House before being sent to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature into law.
The legislation will give young people with disabilities an opportunity to obtain part-time employment while still in high school through supports provided by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR). OVR staff will be given responsibility for helping these young people find jobs in the sophomore and junior years in high school. Currently, any assistance they get comes during their senior year.
Our campaign manager, Dr. Josie Badger, says “Passing HB400 is a great step forward for young people with disabilities in Pennsylvania.
“It’s a tremendous first step in ensuring that Pennsylvania is truly an employment first state, meaning that persons with disabilities will have access to work in workplaces that are fully integrated. The days of separating persons with disabilities from work places are coming to an end,” she said.
Businesses will benefit from the change coming when HB 400 becomes law. They they will have a way to more easily identify and hire young people with disabilities, who are eager to work, and research shows, grow into dedicated, hard-working employees.
And Robert Nelkin CEO of the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, one of #IWantToWork’s major funders, adds, “Given the chance, people can succeed regardless of whether or not they have a disability. House Bill 400 offers young people with disabilities an opportunity to be employed, and be productive, tax paying members of society, just like everyone else”.
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.
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.
By Alexa Brill