[Senate Hearing 112-771]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
S. Hrg. 112-771
IMPROVING EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
FOR PEOPLE WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES
COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, EDUCATION,
LABOR, AND PENSIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE
ONE HUNDRED TWELFTH CONGRESS
EXAMINING IMPROVING EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
FOR PEOPLE WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES
MARCH 2, 2011
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COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR, AND PENSIONS
TOM HARKIN, Iowa, Chairman
BARBARA A. MIKULSKI, Maryland
JEFF BINGAMAN, New Mexico
PATTY MURRAY, Washington
BERNARD SANDERS (I), Vermont
ROBERT P. CASEY, JR., Pennsylvania
KAY R. HAGAN, North Carolina
JEFF MERKLEY, Oregon
AL FRANKEN, Minnesota
MICHAEL F. BENNET, Colorado
SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, Rhode Island
RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, Connecticut
MICHAEL B. ENZI, Wyoming
LAMAR ALEXANDER, Tennessee
RICHARD BURR, North Carolina
JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
RAND PAUL, Kentucky
ORRIN G. HATCH, Utah
JOHN McCAIN, Arizona
PAT ROBERTS, Kansas
LISA MURKOWSKI, Alaska
MARK KIRK, Illinois
Daniel E. Smith, Staff Director
Pamela Smith, Deputy Staff Director
Frank Macchiarola, Republican Staff Director and Chief Counsel
C O N T E N T S
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2, 2011
Harkin, Hon. Tom, Chairman, Committee on Health, Education,
Labor, and Pensions, opening statement......................... 1
Isakson, Hon. Johnny, a U.S. Senator from the State of Georgia,
Enzi, Hon. Michael B., a U.S. Senator from the State of Wyoming,
prepared statement............................................. 3
Blumenthal, Hon. Richard from the State of Connecticut, statement 85
Ruttledge, Hon. Lynnae, Commissioner, Rehabilitation Services
Administration, Washington, DC................................. 5
Prepared statement........................................... 7
Lewis, Sharon, Commissioner, Administration for Children and
Families, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington,
Prepared statement........................................... 15
Evans, Joan K., Director, Wyoming Department of Workforce
Services , Cheyenne, WY........................................ 27
Prepared statement........................................... 29
Lewis, J. Randolph, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain and
Logistics, Walgreen Co., Deerfield, IL......................... 36
Prepared statement........................................... 37
Egan, David, Booz Allen Hamilton Employee, Special Olympics
Athlete and Global Messenger, Former Board Member of Special
Olympics Virginia (Sova), Board Member of the Down Syndrome
Association of Northern Virginia (DSANV), Board Member of the
Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action (DSAIA), McLean, VA......... 41
Prepared statement........................................... 44
Kiernan, William E., Ph.D., Director and Research Professor,
Institute for Community Inclusion, University Center on
Developmental Disabilities, University of Massachusetts Boston
and Children's Hospital, Boston, MA............................ 64
Prepared statement........................................... 66
IMPROVING EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
FOR PEOPLE WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2, 2011
Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions,
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:06 a.m., in
room SD-430, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Tom Harkin,
chairman of the committee, presiding.
Present: Senators Harkin, Franken, Blumenthal, Enzi, and
Opening Statement of Senator Harkin
The Chairman. The Senate Committee on Health, Education,
Labor, and Pensions will please come to order.
First, I just want to apologize. I should have anticipated
a bigger crowd, but I'm sorry for the small size of the hearing
room. We've tried to open up the ante room to get as many
people as possible in here.
Do we have to shut the doors? There may be some people
there that can hear outside. We have a great group. If we can
keep those doors open, and then we'll try to get in as many
people as possible. Maybe we'll just have to do some rotations
or something here, because I know there's a lot of people in
the hallway who would like to be in on this hearing.
I am instructing my staff to set up as many chairs in here
as possible for people that need to sit. If you can stand--I
apologize--you can stand. But I'm more than willing to get some
extra chairs in here to get as many people as possible in this
room and maybe even in the center aisle. I don't know if the
fire marshal will let us do that or not, but let's just see
what we can do, Michael.
Well, the title of this hearing is Improving Employment
Opportunities for People with Intellectual Disabilities. We're
here today to examine the barriers, and, most importantly,
identify solutions to increase the employment participation
rate of individuals with disabilities.
For this hearing, we focus first on persons with
intellectual disabilities, because, in many ways, they have
faced the most significant barriers and the lowest employment
participation rates of any group of individuals with
According to some sources, the employment participation
rate for persons with intellectual disabilities is as low as
23.9 percent. What that means is 76 percent are not working.
Persons with intellectual disabilities also may face the
most significant barriers to employment, that of poor attitudes
about their abilities and low expectations for their
possibilities. We're here today to identify strategies for
increasing employment participation for this important group of
Participation in the workforce has many benefits for all of
us beyond the obvious benefit of providing an income.
Employment allows for the creation of social networks. It
creates a community of colleagues and friends, and integrated
competitive employment helps to create social networks that
reach far into the community.
When people with disabilities work, they become part of
their communities and have the opportunity to contribute to
those communities. Having a job has been tied to better health,
longer life, and greater satisfaction with life, for people
with disabilities. And, of course, it reduces the likelihood
that they will live in poverty.
Employment for persons with disabilities benefits all of
society. Individuals with disabilities who are working even
with services, such as supported employment, show a net fiscal
gain for society. In other words, it doesn't really cost us. It
adds to our society in a fiscal sense.
Employers report that this group is a dedicated, loyal
group of employees, that they have a lower rate of turnover, a
lower absentee rate, and greater productivity. There are great
benefits to employing persons with disabilities for the
individual, for the business and for society at large.
Recognizing the scope and urgency of this challenge, 15 of
the most significant organizations working with individuals
with developmental disabilities have joined together to form
the Alliance for Full Participation. The Alliance will hold a
conference in November focusing on competitive, integrative
employment and will set a goal of doubling the employment
participation rate of persons with intellectual and
developmental disabilities by 2015.
So this hearing is one of the first steps to address this
problem of under participation in our workforce by persons with
I'm asking my colleagues to join with me in working toward
the great goals of significantly increasing the employment
rate, decreasing the poverty rate and increasing the quality of
life of persons with disabilities.
The important work we have done since the landmark passage
35 years ago of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act
and 20 years ago of the Americans With Disabilities Act, which
dramatically improved the lives of persons with disabilities.
So we've addressed education. We've addressed access. Now, we
must address employment and economic well-being.
Before we move into our first panel, I wanted to
acknowledge two individuals in the audience who have devoted
their lives to improving opportunities for people with
intellectual and developmental disabilities, Tim Shriver and
Anthony Shriver. Where are you? Are you out here someplace?
Thank you both. Thank you for your fabulous work with both
Special Olympics International and the Best Buddies programs.
You're carrying forward the proud legacy of your uncles and
your mother in this regard.
As you know, I worked for many years with Senator Kennedy
and with your mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, on issues related
to disabilities. I know they would both be enthusiastically
supportive of the efforts that we're making here today. In
fact, your mother once said of people with intellectual
disabilities that they had earned--and here's her quote--the
right to play on any playing field, to study in any school, the
right to hold a job.
Well, she was right, and I hope, through this hearing
today, that we honor her words and continue to work toward the
great goal of increasing the employment participation rate for
persons with intellectual disabilities. By doing so, we will
improve the quality of their lives and the quality of life for
all citizens. Thank you.
Now, I will ask my--Well, hold the record open for a
statement by Senator Enzi who couldn't be here at the
Oh, you're going to read it? OK. Then I'll yield to Senator
Statement of Senator Isakson
Senator Isakson. Well, thank you, Chairman Harkin, for
holding the hearing on this important topic, and I am pleased
to sit in for Senator Enzi who will be here shortly, but could
not be here at the beginning.
I'm pleased also to submit and read his statement for the
[The prepared statement of Senator Enzi follows:]
Prepared Statement of Senator Enzi
Senator Isakson. Since the passage of the Americans With
Disabilities Act over 20 years ago, Democrats and Republicans
have regularly come together to support policies that encourage
the participation of individuals with disabilities in all
aspects of life, including participation in the workforce.
Americans are in agreement that individuals with
intellectual disabilities can and should participate in the
workforce. Beyond providing tangible contributions to their
employers, evidence is clear that the overall workplace morale
is boosted with an inclusive environment for individuals with
Regrettably, the employment opportunities for Americans
overall continues to be strained due to the extended economic
downturn resulting in sustained unemployment levels in excess
of 9 percent.
People with disabilities have been particularly hit hard by
current economic challenges that limit their opportunities to
participate in the workforce resulting in lower workforce
participation rates over the past few years. These continued
low rates raise a number of questions about how we can promote
competitive, integrated employment, particularly for those who
are the focus of today's hearing.
I am pleased, on behalf of Senator Enzi, the Ranking
Member, to acknowledge Joan Evans, the director of Workforce
Services in the State of Wyoming. She's agreed to be with us
today and share, on the second panel, her perspectives on the
firsthand experiences in increasing the competitive, integrated
employment opportunities of individuals with intellectual
I'm particularly interested in hearing how Wyoming is
leveraging partnerships with private companies, such as Lowe's,
to create good jobs. As Ms. Evans' testimony will show, States
and the private sector should be in the forefront of developing
innovative partnerships that lead to competitive, integrated
One of the barriers I believe employers and individuals
with intellectual disabilities face is the array of disjointed
services that programs are available to facilitate and support
competitive, integrated employment.
As the Government Accounting Office has repeatedly noted
for the better part of the past decade, efforts from the
Federal level are far too disparate, lacking coordination and
coherence, ultimately leading to a confusing mess of
inefficient programs. This stark reality is highlighted yet
again in GAO's list of programs identified as high risk and in
need of reform as a categorization that has been placed in the
Federal disabilities program since the year 2003.
GAO claims these programs are high risk because, as stated
in the report, they are grounded in outmoded concepts that have
not been updated to reflect the current State of science,
medicine, technology and the labor market conditions.
GAO has also recently noted that for the Federal Government
existing hiring procedures are not well understood and
effective outreach strategies are lacking for individuals with
Equally concerning is the fact that we have little
information on why people with disabilities leave their
positions within Federal agencies, leaving many unanswered
questions about the effectiveness of our own outreach and
accommodations. I believe the Federal Government must and
should lead by example, and we have a lot to learn if we choose
to take on this leadership role.
Mr. Chairman, I look forward to hearing the testimony today
and working with you in the future to the improvement of access
for employment for all with intellectual disabilities.
The Chairman. Thank you very much, Senator Isakson.
Before I introduce our first panel, I just want to note
that I think we have a vote at 11 o'clock on the continuing
resolution. So we'll have a brief break around 11 o'clock.
First, we have the Honorable Lynnae Ruttledge, who is a
presidential appointee serving as commissioner of the
Rehabilitative Services Administration in the Department of
Ms. Ruttledge previously worked for the Washington
Department of Social and Health Services, and also worked for
the Oregon Department of Human Services in the Office of
Vocational Rehabilitation Services. She has over 20 years of
leadership experience in public vocational rehabilitation
programs as well as over 20 years of experience in
After Ms. Ruttledge, we'll hear from the Honorable Sharon
Lewis, appointed commissioner of the Administration on
Developmental Disabilities in the U.S. Department of Health and
Ms. Lewis has worked in disability policy for more than 10
years at the local, State and national levels, and originally
came here as a Kennedy Foundation Public Policy Fellow working
for the HELP Committee here on our Subcommittee on Children and
Families. In 2007, however, she left this side and went over to
the other side----
The Chairman [continuing]. The House of Representatives,
and worked for the Education and Labor Committee there as a
senior disability policy advisor. Before coming to Washington,
Ms. Lewis worked on public policy for the Oregon Developmental
Disabilities Coalition and for The Arc.
Ms. Lewis is also a parent of three daughters, including
one with a disability.
Your statements will be made a part of the record in their
entirety. We'll start with you, Ms. Ruttledge. Welcome, again,
to the committee, and if you could sum up your statement in 5
or 7 minutes or so, I would be most appreciative. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF LYNNAE RUTTLEDGE, COMMISSIONER, REHABILITATION
SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, WASHINGTON, DC
Ms. Ruttledge. Well, I have this counter in front of me, so
I think I'm going to know when I'm at my limit.
First of all, Mr. Chairman, Senator Isakson and members of
the staff and all of the other committee members, thank you.
Thank you for the work that you do. Thank you for the
commitment that you have to really helping us figure out how
are we going to improve employment for people with
disabilities, and especially youth with disabilities, and
especially youth with intellectual disabilities.
We have a whole room of people that are interested in this
topic, and I have to tell you that across the country there
couldn't be anything that's more important than addressing
issues related to employment.
As you mentioned, I am the commissioner of the
Rehabilitation Services Administration, and it's really my
honor and pleasure to serve for the President and to serve the
country in providing leadership to both vocational
rehabilitation and independent-living programs nationwide.
I think that we're here today to help understand the
barriers and the challenges, but also the opportunities that
exist so that we can increase employment for people with
disabilities and so that we can really impact the transition
outcomes for youth with intellectual disabilities.
In order to be able to achieve competitive, integrated
employment, we need to look at some very specific barriers and
then opportunities to overcome those barriers. You mentioned
this in your opening remarks, Mr. Chairman, that we have to
establish high expectations, and I think that's where it really
needs to start. We continue to know that attitudes are really
the most significant barrier that exists. We need to work
together to be able to design and provide the support services
that people need, so that when they do go to work they are able
to be successful and they're able to achieve their potential.
We need to be able to address the barriers that limit an
individual's decision to be able to go to work and sometimes
discourage them from seeking better-paying jobs, and some of
those relate to asset limits, some of those relate to really a
low expectation about what someone's earning wage could be.
We have to assess where we are now and where we need to get
to in terms of really judging the performance of our programs.
I'm the first to always acknowledge that we need to do better,
and we have, I think, an opportunity through these hearings, to
be able to look at what could that look like.
And we'll be able to learn from some of the States that
have already shown that they do know how to increase employment
outcomes for individuals with intellectual disabilities. States
like Wyoming and Washington and Vermont and Connecticut and
Arizona within their vocational rehabilitation programs are
placing youth with intellectual disabilities at more than $4 an
hour. It's a start. So we know that it's possible.
We need to look at the promising practices that exist and
build on those. We need to share them. We need to learn from
those State partnerships that have really helped us to be able
to figure out strategies, so that youth with intellectual
disabilities are able to do jobs not just in housekeeping, not
just in administrative support, but in health care and in
production and in starting to learn how to own their own
business. Those are the possibilities that exist for us, and we
know that that's happening throughout the country. We need to
build on it.
We need to be able to target our research and our
demonstration activities to really identify those additional
effective models. We know that supported employment works. We
need to build on that.
We need to look at ways to develop more models that
integrate workplace supports, so that individuals with
significant disabilities can be employed in the public sector,
the private sector and the nonprofit sector.
We know that there's going to be an increasing demand in
our economy for skilled workers, and we know that having access
to postsecondary education is one of those key factors that
allows someone to be able to earn a better wage and demonstrate
We know there are programs, hundreds of them throughout the
country, that are including individuals with intellectual
disabilities in the mainstream of their programs, and we're
demonstrating the success that can result from that, and it
really does allow people to take those next steps toward
independent living and their careers.
We know that leadership in both business and governmental
agencies is what's necessary to be able to move that bar
forward, and I know that that's one of the things that you talk
about, Senator Harkin, is that we've got to raise the bar and
we just need to figure out what it's going to take to support
those leaders to help us be more successful.
I have lots and lots of examples, but I want to stop here
and say we share your commitment and we know that this is the
beginning of the dialogue. We also know that people with
intellectual disabilities, especially youth with intellectual
disabilities, deserve nothing less from us.
So thank you very much for this opportunity.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Ruttledge follows:]
Prepared Statement of Lynnae Ruttledge
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for this
opportunity to appear before the committee today. Mr. Chairman, your
decades of leadership in and commitment to inclusion of individuals
with disabilities as full partners in every facet of our society has
resulted in significant gains. I applaud you for continuing to seek
greater understanding of the barriers that prevent individuals with
disabilities from being full partners in our society and for your
tenacity in seeking solutions. Senator Enzi, I want to also thank you
for your leadership in this area and for your continued commitment to
skills training and employment of people with disabilities.
I am pleased to discuss the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) State
Grants program administered by the Rehabilitation Services
Administration (RSA) in the Office of Special Education and
Rehabilitative Services under the U.S. Department of Education. It is
an honor to serve as the Commissioner of RSA and to provide national
leadership for the public VR and independent living programs. Before
accepting my presidential appointment 14 months ago, I served as the
director of the Washington State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
from 2005-9 and bring more than 30 years of experience to the work that
I do. My national and State level experiences give me a unique
perspective on the challenges and barriers that young people with
intellectual disabilities face and on the possibilities available for
more successful transition outcomes.
Today, I will discuss some of the Department's programs and efforts
related to youth with disabilities. However, my attention is primarily
given to youth with intellectual disabilities and how State VR agencies
serve in a leadership role to support youth with intellectual
disabilities to develop and maintain careers. Work is an important
marker of full inclusion and participation in the American economy and
The VR State Grants program, authorized under Title I of the
Rehabilitation Act, is a Federal/State program that assists individuals
with disabilities to obtain, regain and maintain employment.
Nationally, there are about 1 million individuals with disabilities in
various phases of the vocational rehabilitation process within the VR
system, about 93 percent of whom are individuals with significant
disabilities. State VR agencies may provide a variety of individualized
services, including community-based assessments and functional
evaluations, vocational training, career guidance, job placement, on-
the job supports, and other services that are necessary to achieve an
employment outcome. Services are provided under an Individualized Plan
for Employment (IPE) based on the individual's strengths, resources,
priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed
The VR program has yielded measurable results for decades. In
fiscal year 2009, State VR agencies assisted approximately 180,000
individuals to achieve employment, 93 percent of whom were individuals
with significant disabilities. Of the individuals who achieved
employment, 95 percent obtained competitive employment. In the VR
program, competitive employment means that the employment is in an
integrated setting with earnings at or above the minimum wage.
My vision for youth with intellectual disabilities begins with
establishing high expectations. It is incumbent upon all of us--
educators, service providers, parents, students, and employers--to
expect more from and for our country's youth with intellectual
disabilities. We need to expect that youth with intellectual
disabilities can engage in a broad range of work occupations, not just
a few ``traditional'' occupations, such as janitorial, food service and
office occupations. We should expect that youth with intellectual
disabilities can earn wages that can lead to self-sufficiency. Some
youth with intellectual disabilities are currently finding employment
outside the ``traditional'' occupations in healthcare, banking, and the
Federal Government, and are earning good wages. But we need to do more
and we can do more.
To help more youth with intellectual disabilities reach higher
goals, we are:
assessing where we are now to establish performance goals
for our programs that reflect high expectations;
identifying current promising practices in order to
evaluate results and identify successful models for replication;
targeting research and demonstration activities to develop
additional effective models; and
making investments to support the implementation of
current and new practices.
where are we now?
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Data
We know that both schools and VR agencies play major roles in
preparing and placing youth with intellectual disabilities into
employment. Current IDEA trend data from the Office of Special
Education Programs (OSEP) show that graduation rates for students with
disabilities are improving, but less dramatically for students with
intellectual disabilities. The percentage of students with disabilities
who left school by graduating with a regular high school diploma
increased from 46 percent in school year 1998-99 to 60.0 percent in
school year 2008-9. For students with intellectual disabilities, the
percentage who left school by graduating with a regular high school
diploma increased from 36.8 percent to 38.7 percent in the same period.
Dropout rates show better improvement than graduation rates for
students with intellectual disabilities. The percentage of all students
with disabilities who left school by dropping out decreased from 42.6
percent in school year 1998-99 to 22.4 percent in school year 2008-9.
For students with intellectual disabilities, the percentage dropping
out decreased from 36.0 percent to 19.8 percent during that decade.
These positive trends suggest that OSEP and RSA's focus on improving
transition services are resulting in greater success and that there are
pockets of excellence in our special education and VR systems that we
can build on.
VR Program Data on Youth With Disabilities
In fiscal year 2009, there were approximately 330,000 individuals
whose service records were closed after receiving services under an
IPE. Of these individuals, about 107,400 (33 percent) were youth with
disabilities aged 14-24 at time of application for VR services. Of
these transition-age youth with disabilities, 17,198 (16 percent) were
youth with intellectual disabilities.
RSA data also show that fewer youth with intellectual disabilities
who apply for VR services drop out of the VR program after only
applying for services as compared to the larger group of all youth with
disabilities. Only 3.8 percent of youth with intellectual disabilities
exited the VR services program from applicant status, while 13.6
percent of all youth with disabilities exited the VR services program
from applicant status. We believe that local partnerships and increased
collaborative efforts to assist youth with intellectual disabilities
may be having a positive impact on the VR dropout rate for this
The VR services most commonly provided to youth with intellectual
disabilities include job readiness training (26.7 percent), job search
assistance (31 percent), job placement services (44.8 percent) and on-
the-job supports (39.8 percent). Supportive services such as
transportation (23.8 percent) and maintenance (11.5 percent) are also
provided as needed. Of the 17,198 youth with intellectual disabilities
whose service records were closed after receiving VR services in fiscal
year 2009, 1,266 (7.4 percent) received postsecondary occupational or
vocational training, and an additional 528 (3.1 percent) received
college or university training. New initiatives promoting postsecondary
programs for youth with intellectual disabilities and recent changes in
the Higher Education Opportunity Act and regulations making student
financial aid available for youth with intellectual disabilities should
improve these numbers.
Fiscal year 2009 VR data show that transition-age youth with
intellectual disabilities achieve employment outcomes at about the same
rate as other transition-age youth with disabilities (52.3 percent vs.
53.7 percent). In addition, of the approximately 55,650 transition-age
youth with disabilities who obtained competitive employment outcomes in
that year, a total of 8,339 (14.4 percent) were youth with intellectual
disabilities. However, youth with intellectual disabilities were about
three times more likely to achieve competitive employment with supports
(supported employment) than other transition-age youth participating in
the VR program.
Broad Occupational Areas
There are indications that VR consumers are being employed in a
broad range of occupational areas. In fiscal year 2009, VR employment
outcomes for youth with intellectual disabilities occurred in 25
occupational areas. However, the employment outcomes were still
concentrated in food preparation and service (24.1 percent of
employment outcomes for youth with intellectual disabilities), cleaning
and maintenance occupations (16.4 percent), and office and
administrative support occupations (11.4 percent). Youth with
intellectual disabilities also achieved employment outcomes in
production occupations (8.9 percent); personal care and service
occupations (7.7 percent); sales and related occupations (7 percent);
installation, maintenance and repair occupations (4.1 percent);
healthcare support occupations (2.2 percent); and constructive and
extraction occupations (1.4 percent).
Earnings and Hours Worked
To help individuals with intellectual disabilities reach earnings
that lead to self-sufficiency, State VR agencies and their partners are
looking at ways to maximize their participation in the workforce,
increasing both hours worked per week and hourly wages, consistent with
the informed choice of the individual. RSA 2009 data show that youth
with intellectual disabilities who achieved competitive employment
worked on average 24.4 hours per week and earned on average $7.70 per
hour. By comparison, all youth with disabilities achieving competitive
employment worked on average 30.4 hours per week and earned $9.51 per
hour on average. Transition-age youth with intellectual disabilities
achieve full-time employment (defined as 35 or more hours per week)
only about half as often as all transition-age youth.
Some VR agencies are doing better in assisting youth with
intellectual disabilities to achieve full-time employment outcomes with
good wages. For example, RSA data shows that West Virginia, South
Carolina, Georgia, Delaware, and Nebraska have found full-time jobs for
more than 40 percent of transition-age youth with intellectual
disabilities participating in their VR services programs. Other States,
including Connecticut, Vermont, Washington, Wyoming and Arizona, have
demonstrated success in placing eligible VR youth with intellectual
disabilities in jobs with wages higher than $9.00 per hour.
Youth with intellectual disabilities may work less than full-time
as a result of individual circumstances, but there also are other
factors such as system barriers, the lack of available supports, as
well as the effect of low expectations that affect their level of
participation and earnings in the workforce. For example, lower hourly
wages may also be a result of low expectations and/or employment in
traditional occupations. Approaches that will lead to employment in a
broader range of occupations may also result in commensurately higher
current pockets of excellence, promising practices and initiatives
Now, I will highlight some promising and innovative practices that
are showing positive results. In many of these practices, a key factor
is creative collaboration among providers and stakeholders. RSA is
working closely with the Department's Office of Special Education
Programs and the Office for Postsecondary Education to coordinate
transition efforts for youth with intellectual disabilities. In
addition, RSA is working with the Department of Labor and other Federal
partners to identify solutions to some of the existing system barriers,
but we can do more.
Although we have ongoing collaborative activities and data sharing
agreements with the Social Security Administration (SSA), more work
with SSA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is needed to identify
system barriers and solutions. For example, the Affordable Care Act
created new options and additional flexibilities for the provision of
home and community-based services in Medicaid. The findings and
information obtained from this interagency information exchange will be
disseminated through our 2012 Institute on Rehabilitation Issues paper
on the implications of the Affordable Care Act for improving VR
At the State and Federal level, a number of collaborative program
models are exhibiting encouraging results. In Iowa, the State VR
agencies have had success working with the Veterans Administration (VA)
to place students with intellectual disabilities in high paying, full-
time Federal employment with benefits. The VA shared position
descriptions with the VR agency. For example, the VR agency has
conducted job analyses for a variety of jobs using position
descriptions shared by the VA. The VR agency then pre-screened
candidates to refer job-ready individuals for direct hire through the
Federal Government's schedule A appointing authority. In addition, the
VR agency implemented customized training programs to develop a pool of
job-ready candidates for future workforce needs.
In Ohio, Project Search, a nationally recognized transition
program, began in a hospital setting and has been widely replicated in
private industry and government, including within the Federal
Government at the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services
and Labor. Project Search exemplifies interagency collaboration among
school systems, VR agencies and business communities to provide paid
work experiences and internships for youth with intellectual
disabilities prior to exiting school. Project Search offers job
readiness training and experiential learning for high school seniors
with intellectual disabilities through total immersion at the employer
work site. This program is a model for exposing youth with intellectual
disabilities to a variety of nontraditional work settings while
changing employers' attitudes about the capabilities of individuals
with intellectual disabilities.
In Utah, a coalition of the State VR agency (DVR), the State
Department of Services to Persons with Disabilities (DD), and advocacy
groups planned and proposed a braided funding program of supports
designed for youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The coalition presented a proposal to its State legislature indicating
the compelling need for additional funds to support training and
employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual and
developmental disabilities. The Utah State legislature funded the Utah
Partnership Plus initiative to serve eligible individuals waiting for
DD services. The Utah DVR agency provided the up-front job placement
services and the initial on-the job supports, and State appropriated
funds were used to provide interim support until funds from Social
Security Administration's Ticket to Work program became available for
During the first 2 years, at an estimated cost of $245,000 per
year, the Utah program provided services that resulted in employment
for approximately 200 individuals with intellectual and developmental
disabilities per year. Even in the current constrained fiscal
environment, Utah State legislators have provided continued support for
Utah Partnership Plus. With this continued funding, 44 individuals with
intellectual and developmental disabilities were placed into employment
in the first quarter of this fiscal year. This effort shows how
collaboration among agencies and advocates can leverage funding and
develop systems of support for youth with intellectual and
developmental disabilities beyond the availability of VR services.
The Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS), in
conjunction with public schools and TransCen, Inc., a research,
training and development non-profit organization, has established
relationships with employers in the Washington, DC area to place
individuals with intellectual disabilities in competitive employment.
Working with the Maryland DORS, TransCen uses an internship approach
that in many cases results in employment. TransCen also provides a job
development function in assisting DORS, schools, and employers deliver
employment experiences for youth with intellectual disabilities. Youth
with intellectual disabilities have obtained employment in law firms,
hotels and the Federal Government. These efforts show how the use of
worksite-based internship approaches can result in employment in a
broad range of occupations.
My last example is from the State of Washington. Washington leaders
who shared a commitment for improving employment outcomes for
individuals with intellectual disabilities worked in collaboration with
community colleges to create an employment specialist certificate
program. These professionals provide employment support to individuals
with intellectual disabilities and play an integral role in assisting
people to become contributing members of their community. The program
offers high quality training taught by skilled professionals, builds on
the skills of the participants, provides opportunities for networking,
and builds future leaders in supported employment.
These models are examples of just some of the promising
partnerships and practices we can cultivate, disseminate, and replicate
to improve outcomes, not just in isolated areas, but all across the
research and demonstration activities to develop additional
models or practices
The Department has invested in many research projects over the last
few years to continue to identify and tackle the challenges faced by
youth with intellectual disabilities, many of them housed at the
Institute for Community Inclusion. You will hear from Bill Kiernan, the
Institute director, today.
Examples of projects funded by the National Institute on Disability
and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) include the following:
The Rehabilitation and Research Training Center for
Vocational Rehabilitation Research (VR RRTC) conducts a project that
identifies and evaluates best practices in VR employment services for
individuals with developmental disabilities. The VR RRTC disseminates
products and new knowledge throughout the VR and workforce systems, and
to a number of disability and advocacy organizations.
The University of Minnesota is developing a multi-state
database on predictors of individual outcomes for persons with
intellectual and developmental disabilities. The purpose of the study
is to merge and analyze the records of more than 10,000 randomly
sampled adults from 15 purposely selected, nationally distributed
States to examine the interactions among individual characteristics,
service delivery models and settings, and individual outcomes and
experiences. The project will evaluate the methods that support
individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities at work
and in their communities.
Syracuse University (SU) is building and evaluating the
Peer-to-Peer Project, a peer support network for students with
significant intellectual and developmental disabilities in higher
education. This project operates a network of undergraduates to provide
peer supports to students with significant disabilities who are taking
classes at SU. SU has a dual enrollment program for students up to age
21 in high school, and an access program for students over age 21 who
have finished high school. Students with intellectual and developmental
disabilities audit courses to meet personal, academic, and vocational
goals. The Peer-to-Peer Project operates from an innovative,
universally designed, and person-centered framework that uses peer
support in flexible, individualized ways, as needed by students with
intellectual disabilities to fulfill goals and maximize inclusion.
The Center on Postsecondary Education for Students with
Intellectual Disabilities conducts research and disseminates
information on promising practices that facilitate and support
individuals with intellectual disabilities access to inclusive
postsecondary education resulting in improved long-term independent
living and employment outcomes. This Center conducts research to
address the gaps in knowledge about participation of individuals with
intellectual disabilities aged 13-26 participating in postsecondary
In addition to NIDRR's research projects, the Department awarded
$10.9 million in 2010 to support grants under the Model Transition
Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities into Higher
Education (TPSID) program. The TPSID program, authorized in 2008 by the
Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA), supports model
postsecondary programs and demonstrations that promote the successful
transition of students with intellectual disabilities into higher
education. TPSID grants were awarded to 27 postsecondary institutions
and consortia of institutions to enable them to create or expand high
quality, inclusive model comprehensive transition and postsecondary
programs for students with intellectual disabilities to attend college.
Funds were also awarded to support a coordinating center at the
Institute for Community Inclusion to establish performance measures and
to compile data on program participants and their outcomes.
new investment opportunities
The President's fiscal year 2012 budget proposes strategic
investments that will fuel the continued innovation and collaboration
necessary to achieve outcomes that will lead to individual self-
sufficiency and justify keeping expectations high for young people with
Future success must start with a strong and inclusive education
foundation. The President and Secretary believe that students with
disabilities are general education students first, so the President's
2012 budget prioritizes investment in programs that will encourage
innovation, support State- and district-led reform, and help improve
outcomes for students with disabilities in the context of the regular
In addition, proposed increased investments in IDEA programs signal
the President's steadfast commitment to the need for individualized
services and supports for young people with disabilities. With a
proposed increase of $200 million for IDEA Part B Grants to States, the
Department hopes to improve the quality of the education that students
with disabilities receive so they can participate in the general
education curriculum to the maximum extent possible and are prepared
for college and a career.
The 2012 budget request also includes an increase of $50 million in
Part C for grants to States for early intervention services for young
children with disabilities and their families, to encourage States to
implement a seamless system of services for children with disabilities
from birth through age 5. To support a holistic approach to the
transition of young people on Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
benefits, the President has requested $40 million for PROMISE:
Promoting Readiness of Minors in SSI, a pilot program which would be
jointly administered with the Social Security Administration, the
Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Labor to
improve health, education, and post-school outcomes of children who
The Department has requested funding in fiscal year 2011 and fiscal
year 2012 for continuation awards to the current 27 TPSID grantees and
the coordinating Center as part of the request for the Fund for the
Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE).
The President's fiscal year 2012 budget request would provide
approximately $3.1 billion for the VR State Grants program to assist
individuals with disabilities to obtain and maintain employment. The
Administration also believes that additional targeted investments in
Rehabilitation Act programs are needed to help spur new and innovative
approaches to improving postsecondary results for students with
disabilities. To capitalize on the potential of technology to benefit
individuals with disabilities, including youth with disabilities, $10
million has been proposed for Access through Cloud Computing, a new
initiative that would seek to improve Internet and technology access
for individuals with disabilities through research and development
activities to provide on-demand accommodations that are stored
remotely. This new initiative would be administered by NIDRR in
consultation with the National Science Foundation, the Access Board,
the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and other White House
offices. Access through Cloud Computing will benefit students and
employees with disabilities who, as a result of this innovative
research, will be able to bring their accessibility accommodations with
them to any platform at schools, libraries and work locations.
Finally, the President's 2012 budget request includes almost $380
million for the Workforce Innovation Fund (Fund) to encourage
innovation and support projects to identify and validate effective
strategies for improving the delivery of services and outcomes for
beneficiaries under the Rehabilitation Act and other programs
authorized by the Workforce Investment Act. Jointly administered by the
Department of Education and Department of Labor, the Fund would support
competitive grants for projects that strengthen collaboration across
program and agency lines, and identify the most promising approaches
for improving services and achieving better outcomes. Some approaches
we might explore include innovative models that provide youth with
significant disabilities, including those with intellectual
disabilities, opportunities for career exploration and work experience;
leverage strategic partnerships among State VR agencies, community
colleges, employers, and other nontraditional partners; and engage
employers in creating full-time career opportunities with benefits for
individuals with significant disabilities.
Planned 2011 Activities
These 2012 investments will build upon the Department's strategies
already underway. The VR program is an integral partner in achieving
the goals set forth in the President's Executive Order 13548 that
directs the Federal Government to be a model employer for hiring people
with disabilities. State VR agencies that have proven success with
Federal partnerships around the country will step up their technical
assistance to assist in recruiting and hiring practices so that all
Federal agencies and hiring officials will benefit.
RSA has begun work on developing performance measures that reward
States for reaching milestones that lead to better employment outcomes
and self-sufficiency for youth with disabilities, especially those of
transition-age youth who may require longer services and more supports.
We will use what we have learned from RSA monitoring activities and
knowledge translation research to accelerate the dissemination of
information obtained from projects that support successful outcomes,
provide technical assistance, as necessary include important partners,
and to evaluate results of these projects. To that end, RSA, along with
the other components of the Office of Special Education and
Rehabilitative Services, will host a national conference that will
inform participants about research findings and practices that have
demonstrated improved educational and employment outcomes for youth
Our President's leadership is translated through our programs and
passion. We share your commitment to and interest in seeing America's
youth with intellectual disabilities have lives and careers that meet
high expectations and enable them to live as independently as they
desire. Our young people with intellectual disabilities deserve our
best effort. We are excited about the potential demonstrated by our
current projects, partnerships, and proposed investments. We look
forward to working with you to accomplish what we know we can achieve
Thank you and I am happy to take your questions.
The Chairman. Thank you, Ms. Ruttledge, and now we'll turn
to Ms. Lewis to proceed.
STATEMENT OF SHARON LEWIS, COMMISSIONER, ADMINISTRATION FOR
CHILDREN AND FAMILIES, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES,
Ms. Lewis. Good morning, Chairman Harkin, Senator Isakson
I echo Ms. Ruttledge's comments in terms of thanking you
for bringing this hearing to light and focusing on this
important issue. I'm honored to be here representing
Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD).
I'd also like to thank all of the individuals with
intellectual disabilities who are here with us today, as well
as Special Olympics and Best Buddies, for all the great work
that you have done over the years to support individuals with
Employment is a critical component of community living. As
you mentioned in your remarks, chairman, work is not only the
means to economic self sufficiency, it is also important,
particularly for individuals with intellectual and
developmental disabilities, for many other reasons--to
contribute to community, to build a network of social
relationships and to create opportunities for lifelong
To illustrate, I'd like to start with a story about a young
man named Patrick who's involved with the Wisconsin
Developmental Disabilities Council. Patrick started working
when he was 16 as a high school sophomore. He found his job the
same way that many of us find our first jobs, through community
involvement and a network of relationships.
At a retreat, Patrick's future boss saw him demonstrate a
strong work ethic, attention to detail and a generous spirit.
At the end of the retreat, he asked Patrick to apply for a job
which Patrick ultimately got at $8.50 an hour as a starting
wage in 2005.
Now, 5 years later, Patrick is considered the star of his
unit, having increased the overall productivity of the
business. He gets regular raises and shares in all the company
Now, why is this otherwise typical story significant?
Patrick is a young adult with Down syndrome who is working in
integrated employment earning a competitive wage. His success
can be attributed to several factors, including high
expectations, a supportive family, hard work using social
capital and personal networks, a welcoming employer and
Patrick's own self-determination.
Unfortunately, Patrick is part of a small minority. One
study of recent high school graduates with ID/DD indicated that
only 14 or so percent were earning at least minimum wage, and 1
to 4 years after high school, youth with intellectual
disabilities demonstrate the lowest rate of paid employment
among students with disabilities.
As is true for the general population, education is a key
determinant in the employment success for students with ID/DD.
As States look at college- and career-ready standards,
questions have arisen about the applicability of such standards
for students with intellectual disabilities. Low expectations
continue to be one of the biggest barriers for success for
these students. Yet, again, research has shown that the
participation in standards-based assessments has made a
tremendous positive difference in achievement for students with
significant cognitive disabilities. And, now, students with ID/
DD are going to college.
In order to provide more opportunities for students with
intellectual disabilities to attend quality comprehensive
integrated programs, ADD is investing $4 million over 5 years
in the Consortium to Enhance Postsecondary Education for
Individuals with Developmental Disabilities.
During the past 8 years, the number of college programs
available for students with intellectual disabilities has grown
from 4 to over 250 spread over 36 States serving approximately
6,000 students. The consortium has been a vital resource to
this expansion providing training and technical assistance,
research and dissemination on promising practices and
supporting the establishment of many new programs.
Recently, ADD held a series of listening sessions across
the country asking for community input. Among the major issues,
access to integrated employment at competitive wages for people
with intellectual and developmental disabilities was repeatedly
cited as a high priority.
Much of the ADD network is already working hard to improve
employment opportunities, including the development of
employment first strategies that focus upon integrated
For example, in Iowa, the University Center of Excellence
in Developmental Disabilities, the UCEDD, and the DD Council
are working in collaboration with the National State Employment
Leadership Network and State agency partners to develop and
implement a statewide competitive employment plan that makes
employment in the general workforce the first priority and the
expected and preferred outcome in the provision of publicly
Support for access to integrated employment services varies
tremendously across States. State ID/DD agencies report that
currently only 22 percent of their clients participate in
Medicaid is the largest Federal source for funding for
home- and community-based services, and the State ID/DD
agencies are the primary funding source for employment services
through Medicaid waivers.
Among the most important factors influencing employment
outcomes is the approach taken by these State ID/DD agencies
which plays a critical role in determining the direction of
State and Federal Medicaid investment. Successful strategies
include flexibility in funding, data collection focused on
integrated employment, rewards and incentives and innovative
practices and training.
Multiple studies also show that self determination status
is a predictor of the quality of life and is positively
correlated with improved employment, independent living and
Beyond the opportunity to earn wages, other benefits of
integrated employment include expanded social relationships,
higher job satisfaction, improved self worth, transferable work
skills and increased self determination.
ADD currently plans to invest over $2 million in
demonstrations later this year to improve access to
competitive, integrated employment in collaboration with our
partners at the Office of Disability Employment, at the
Department of Labor, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services, Social Security and the Rehabilitation Services
Administration. These competitive grants will challenge
applicants to develop and implement innovative partnerships to
improve access to integrated employment at competitive wages
for individuals with significant intellectual and developmental
In closing, I leave you with a quote from a woman with a
developmental disability, because I think that she says it
better than I ever could. Miss Susan Willis came to us during
one of our listening sessions and said, and I quote, ``When
meeting someone new, we almost always ask, What do you do?'' A
person's work seems to define who he or she is. It certainly
gives people, especially those with disabilities, a sense of
self-worth and confidence. With employment comes some level of
self-sufficiency, and with that--independent living. Without a
full- or part-time job at reasonable wages, none of this can be
ADD and our network are striving to improve opportunities
for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to
access competitive, integrated employment, so that when an
individual is asked that question--What do you do?--they can
answer with confidence, with a smile and with a paycheck in
Thank you. I'm happy to take questions.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Lewis follows:]
Prepared Statement of Sharon Lewis
Chairman Harkin, Ranking Member Enzi and distinguished members of
the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. I am
honored to be here representing the Administration on Developmental
Disabilities (ADD) within the Administration for Children and Families
(ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to
share some successful strategies to achieve integrated employment of
people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The purpose of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill
of Rights Act of 2000 (DD Act) is ``to assure that individuals with
developmental disabilities and their families participate in the design
of and have access to needed community services, individualized
supports, and other forms of assistance that promote self-
determination, independence, productivity, and integration and
inclusion in all facets of community life, through culturally competent
programs . . . '' (42 U.S.C. 15001). The Administration on
Developmental Disabilities works with our partners in every State to
achieve the goals embodied in the act. The ADD network consists of
three programs that operate in each State and territory--State
Developmental Disabilities Councils (DD Councils), University Centers
for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), and Protection
and Advocacy Systems (P&As). ADD also implements the Projects of
National Significance (PNS) which are designed to support the ADD
network through data and research projects as well as fund innovative
approaches to improving outcomes for those with developmental
disabilities. Approximately two-thirds of the ADD network entities
report active engagement related to improving employment outcomes for
people with developmental disabilities, through a broad range of
activities including direct support for individuals with disabilities
seeking employment, development of State and local policies and
practices, protection of employment rights, data collection and
analysis, and training initiatives.
At the Department of Health and Human Services, Secretary Sebelius
is fully committed to finding solutions that address barriers to
community living for individuals with disabilities that give people
more control over their lives and the supports they need. Employment is
a critical component of community living for most adults, including
people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Work is not
only the means to economic self-sufficiency, it also is an important
way for individuals to contribute to their communities, build a network
of social relationships, and create opportunities for lifelong
To illustrate, I would like to tell you about a remarkable young
man, Patrick, from Wisconsin. Like many young people, Patrick got his
first job at 16. Patrick's first job came the same way most of us get a
job: a great work ethic, dedication, a terrific attitude, and a social
network derived from community involvement.
Patrick met his boss, Todd, at a retreat where Todd had the
opportunity to see first-hand Patrick's work ethic, attention to
detail, and generous spirit. At the end of the retreat, Todd told
Patrick's dad, Brian, that he would like Patrick to apply for a job at
his packaging business in Menomonee Falls, WI.
As a high school sophomore, Patrick started working 3-hour shifts,
three days a week after school. His starting pay was $8.50 in 2005.
Five years later, Patrick is considered the star of his unit. He
assembles boxes, and can work about twice as fast as the average box
assembler--he holds the assembly record. This has increased the overall
productivity of Todd's organization. Patrick is able to work in
different parts of the organization, filling in when another area is
short-staffed--doing marketing and label packaging, for example. He
gets regular raises and shares in all the company perks.
This is a success story of a typical young man, starting his career
and through his hard work and dedication achieving great success. Why
is this story significant? Patrick is a young adult with Down syndrome
who is working in integrated employment, earning a competitive wage and
benefits. Only a small minority of young adults with intellectual and
developmental disabilities are employed in such settings. In one
current study of 338 recent high school graduates with intellectual and
developmental disabilities, only 14.2 percent were employed in
individual positions paying at least minimum wage.\1\
\1\ Simonsen, M. (2010). Predictors of supported employment for
transitioning youth with developmental disabilities (Unpublished
doctoral dissertation). University of Maryland: College Park, MD.
Patrick's success can be attributed to several factors, as
described by the Wisconsin Medicaid Infrastructure Grant project at the
University of Wisconsin's Waisman Center:\2\
\2\ Swedeen, Beth, et al. (2009). On the Job: Stories from Youth
With Disabilities. Natural Supports Project, University Center for
Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Waisman Center, University of
High expectations and supportive family. Patrick always
has been treated the same as his siblings and his peers, with high
expectations at home, in school and at work. Additionally, Patrick's
family received support to participate in leadership development
through Wisconsin's Waisman Center (a UCEDD) and the Wisconsin DD
Council, which helped his family understand the importance of self-
Hard work and preparation. Patrick knows he has to work to
achieve. He has been active in sports, volunteers on a regular basis,
and has a second degree Black Belt in Tae Kwan Do. He has taken on
additional responsibilities at work over time, and has been rewarded.
Person-centered thinking and self-determination.
Throughout Patrick's school-to-work transition process, Patrick and his
team made decisions based upon his desires, strengths, and choices.
Patrick and his family used person-centered planning to ensure the
availability of natural and paid supports necessary for a quality life
Community involvement. Patrick has been involved in
sports, the community, and his church, which helped him develop the
social capital that led to the job and provided ongoing natural
Welcoming employer. The company worked with Patrick to get
his Occupational Safety and Health required training, accommodating
Patrick with experiential learning rather than handing him a manual.
Patrick has co-workers he can turn to for questions and support.
Flexible supports. The school system and vocational
rehabilitation (VR) system offered flexibility in supporting Patrick to
pursue his goals, and Patrick depends upon Medicaid for healthcare and
occasional personal support. For example, the school partnered with the
State VR agency to provide a job coach for the first few weeks of
Patrick's job, and the school offered a flexible schedule to allow
Patrick to balance work and continued learning.
Starting early. Patrick started working during his
sophomore year. When he finished the high school curriculum at the end
of his senior year, he left the high school environment, increasing his
time at work while continuing reading and math instruction through a
tutor. Patrick focused on living and working in the community starting
at age 18; he did not wait until he aged out of school-based services.
This is consistent with data that indicates that individuals with
intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) who participate in
work-based experiences during high school are more likely to find
success in competitive, integrated employment.
While Patrick has found great success in his job, unfortunately
many Americans with disabilities, especially people with ID/DD, are
struggling to access employment opportunities. According to the January
2011 Current Population Survey (CPS), the proportion of the population
of people with disabilities who are employed is estimated to be 17
percent, compared to 63 percent for people without disabilities.\3\
And, for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities,
the likelihood of participating in integrated employment is even lower,
with State ID/DD agencies reporting that only 22 percent of the number
of individuals served by these agencies participate in integrated
\3\ U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Economic News Release February
4, 2011 Table A-6. Employment status of the civilian population by sex,
age, and disability status, not seasonally adjusted. Accessed February
24, 2011: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t06.htm.
\4\ Butterworth et al. (2010). State Data: The National Report on
Employment Services and Outcomes, 2009. Boston, MA: Institute for
Community Inclusion ID/DD Agency National Survey of Day and Employment
Programs for People with Developmental Disabilities, p. 49.
Among the strongest predictors of post-school employment success
for young adults with disabilities is whether or not they held one or
more paid jobs during high school.\5\ The importance of community-based
vocational evaluation, job training, and paid employment opportunities
while still in high school have been well-documented in achieving
positive post-school outcomes.\6\ Getting that first job can make a
significant difference for students with intellectual and developmental
disabilities, just as it did for Patrick.
\5\ Test, D.W., Mazzotti, V.L., Mustian, A.L., Fowler, C.H.,
Kortering, L, & Kohler, P. (2009). Evidence-Based Secondary Transition
Predictors for Improving Postschool Outcomes for Students with
Disabilities. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 32, 160-
\6\ Flexer, R., Simmons, T., Luft. P., & Baer, R. (2008).
Transition Planning for Secondary Students with Disabilities (3rd ed.).
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.
the role of education
As is true for the general population, education is a key
determinant in employment success for students with intellectual and
developmental disabilities. Currently there are approximately 1 million
American students with disabilities age 3-21 eligible for services
under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) categories
of intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, autism, traumatic
brain injury, and developmental delay.\7\ Only 34 percent of students
with intellectual disabilities, 40 percent of students with multiple
disabilities, and 56 percent of students with autism graduated from
high school with a regular diploma during the 2007-8 school year.\8\
Among all students, those with the most significant cognitive
disabilities are the least likely to graduate with a regular high
school diploma.\9\ And, even with a diploma, youth with intellectual
disabilities demonstrate the lowest rate of paid employment among
students with disabilities (29.8 percent), 1 to 4 years after exiting
\7\ U.S. Department of Education, (2010). Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act Data--Data Accountability Center. Number of
children and students served under IDEA, Part B, in the United States
and outlying areas by age group, year, and disability category, 2008.
\8\ U.S. Department of Education, (2010). Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act Data--Data Accountability Center, Exiting
Children and students served under IDEA, Part B, in the United States
and outlying areas by age group, year and disability category, 2008.
\9\ Wagner, M., Newman, L., Cameto, R., Levine, P, and Garza, N.
(2006). An overview of findings from Wave 2 of the National
Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2). Menlo Park, CA: SRI
\10\ Newman, L., Wagner, M., Cameto, R., Knokey, A.M., & Shaver, D.
(2010). Comparisons Across Time of the Outcomes of Youth With
Disabilities up to 4 Years After High School. A Report of Findings from
the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2). Page 37. Menlo
Park, CA: SRI International. Available at www.nlts2.org/reports/
As States define, and re-define college and career-ready standards
and develop supporting initiatives to help students achieve these
standards, questions have arisen about the applicability of such
standards for students with intellectual disabilities,\11\ especially
students with significant cognitive disabilities. Current data from
States indicate that many of these students are leaving high school
unable to read beyond sight words or do math beyond basic functions
using a calculator.\12\ Low expectations continue to be one of the
biggest barriers to success for these students.\13\ Yet maintaining
high expectations for these students is critical to their success in
life and in work; research has also shown that participation in
standards-based assessments has made a tremendous positive difference
in achievement for students with significant cognitive
\11\ Samuels, Christina, (2010) Standards' Impact for Special Ed.
is Weighed, Edweek, Quenemoen, R., Kearns, J., Quenemoen, M., Flowers,
C., & Kleinert, H. (2010). Common Misperceptions and Research-Based
Recommendations for Alternate Assessment Based on Alternate Achievement
Standards (Synthesis Report 73). Minneapolis, MN: University of
Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.
\12\ Kearns, J., Towles-Reeves, E., Kleinert, H., Kleinert, J., &
Thomas, M. (in press). Characteristics of and implications for students
participating in alternate assessments based on alternate academic
achievement standards. Journal of Special Education.
\13\ McGrew, K.S., & Evans, J. (2004). Expectations for Students
with Cognitive Disabilities: Is the Cup Half Empty or Half Full? Can
the Cup Flow Over? (Synthesis Report 55). Minneapolis, MN: University
of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.
\14\ Ysseldyke, J., Dennison, A., & Nelson, R. (2004). Large-scale
Assessment and Accountability Systems: Positive Consequences for
Students with Disabilities (Synthesis Report 51). Minneapolis:
University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.
Despite these performance statistics and the cultural challenges of
low expectations, students with intellectual disabilities can--and do--
go on to succeed in postsecondary education and in employment. There
are approximately 6,000 students with intellectual disabilities
currently attending college, an experience which can make a tremendous
difference in gaining employment. One recent study of vocational
rehabilitation outcomes showed that youth with intellectual
disabilities who participated in postsecondary education were 26
percent more likely than students with no postsecondary education
experience to leave vocational rehabilitation services with a paid job
and earn a 73 percent higher weekly income.\15\
\15\ Migliore, A., Butterworth, J., and Hart, D. (2009)
Postsecondary Education and Employment Outcomes for Youth with
In order to provide more students the opportunity to attend quality
college programs that support students with intellectual disabilities
to participate in comprehensive, inclusive educational experiences
integrated into institutions of higher education across the country,
the Administration on Developmental Disabilities is investing $4
million over 5 years in the Consortium to Enhance Postsecondary
Education for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities project. The
Consortium is providing training and technical assistance to
institutions of higher education, conducting research, and
disseminating information on promising practices that support
individuals with intellectual disabilities to access postsecondary
education, resulting in improved long-term independent living and
employment outcomes. The primary activities of the project include:
Research and planning to develop and validate promising
practices in postsecondary programs for students with intellectual
disabilities including development of standards, quality indicators,
and performance benchmarks.
Development and testing of a national training program for
colleges and universities that supports replication of promising
practices and addresses gaps in information for institutions of higher
education that are developing or expanding programs for students with
intellectual disabilities. This includes the ``Think College'' Web site
and online, self-paced coursework for higher education professionals on
effective practices for this population.
Assisting institutions of higher education to implement
quality programs and establish partnerships that will help them
transition to sustainable models beyond start-up funding periods, as
well as partnering with national organizations for large-scale
dissemination of training programs.
During the past 8 years, the number of college programs available
for students with intellectual disabilities has grown from 4 to over
250, spread over 36 States and 2 Canadian provinces.\16\ The Consortium
has been a vital resource to these institutions of higher education,
providing training and technical assistance to programs at all stages,
researching and disseminating information on promising practices, and
supporting the establishment of many of these new programs.
\16\ Grigal, M., Hart, D., & Migliore, A. (2010, October). Think
College: An Overview of National Research. Plenary Session, State of
the Art Conference, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.
integrated employment supports and services
Recently ADD held a series of listening sessions and stakeholder
meetings across the country, asking the community to provide input
about priorities and concerns. Approximately 650 individuals
participated in-person in these meetings, including people with
disabilities, family members, professionals and support staff as well
as representatives from multiple Federal agencies. Among the major
issues identified by the community, access to integrated employment for
people with intellectual and developmental disabilities was repeatedly
cited as a top concern and was recommended as a critical priority for
ADD and the ADD network to address. In particular, stakeholders
identified the establishment of ``Employment First'' policy and
strategies across various programs as one of five top goals that should
Much of the ADD network already is working hard to improve
integrated community-based employment opportunities at competitive
wages for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, with
39 P&As, 39 DD Councils and 36 UCEDDs reporting active engagement in
employment activities, such as:
In 11 States, DD Councils and/or UCEDDs (CA, HI, IA, IN,
MD, NM, NC, NV, OR, PA, VT) are actively collaborating with the ID/DD
State agency to develop and improve job access and retention. For
example, in Iowa, the UCEDD assisted the Department of Human Services
to update its Olmstead Plan that includes competitive employment as a
``Strategic Priority.'' The action steps include working in
collaboration with the national State Employment Leadership Network
(SELN) and State agency partners (including the Iowa DD Council,
Department of Education, Iowa Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Services (DVR), Workforce Development, Department for the Blind,
Department of Human Rights) to develop and implement a statewide
competitive employment plan that makes employment in the general
workforce the first priority and expected and preferred outcome in the
provision of publicly funded services. In Oregon, the DD Council
convened a workgroup that developed the Employment First Policy which
was then adopted by the State DD agency and is being implemented
collaboratively with VR.
Through a Medicaid Infrastructure grant provided by the
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Wyoming Employment
Systems Development Project at the UCEDD brought together the various
State agencies, disability groups and business organizations to
determine the most effective means of permitting people with
disabilities to retain their health care benefits after obtaining
employment, working to expand personal assistance services outside the
home for Medicaid recipients seeking employment, and integrating the
various service systems into a single, one-stop source of delivery with
a community focus.
Project SEARCH is a nationally recognized education,
training and internship program leading to integrated competitive
employment for students with significant disabilities. Currently seven
DD Councils (AZ, CO, FL, GA, NY, OH, OK) and three UCEDDs (AZ, IN, NY)
are supporting Project SEARCH. In addition, ADD and ACF are hosting DC-
area Project SEARCH interns in our offices this school year.
The Alaska DD Council implemented the StartUp Alaska
Initiative to increase the self-employment of Alaskans with
disabilities. As a result, 71 individuals were served and 33 launched
their own businesses. Even more importantly, several entities,
including the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Employment
Security Division, the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, the Center
for Human Development and the Center for Economic Development at the
University of Alaska Anchorage, and the University Small Business
Development Centers are implementing policy to sustain best practices
identified through the grant.
Vanderbilt University's ``Project Opportunity'' provides
educational, developmental and employment opportunities within
Vanderbilt University to students with disabilities. Twenty-one of
twenty-eight students have achieved competitive employment at the
University upon completion. The Project also collaborated with The Arc
of Davidson County, the Walmart Foundation and Metro Nashville Public
Schools to use the Project Opportunity model to develop a classroom
housed within the municipal government which then became a model for
the city of Nashville being implemented by Mayor Karl Dean.
UCEDDs and/or DD Councils in 12 States (AL, CA, GA, IA,
KS, MD, MO, NE, NV, OR, SC, UT) are working with State ID/DD agencies
to establish ``employment first'' as a guiding principle in policy and
systems change. Employment first is an approach that is underway in
many States that focuses upon integrated, community-based employment as
the first option and priority goal for individuals with intellectual
and other developmental disabilities. States that have adopted this
approach ensure that vocational rehabilitation, home and community-
based service providers and educational service systems work together
in developing strategies across programs so that individuals with
intellectual and developmental disabilities are supported to access
integrated, community-based employment opportunities.
Approaches to supporting access to integrated employment for people
with intellectual and developmental disabilities vary tremendously
across States. According to The National Report on Employment Services
and Outcomes 2009 published by the Institute for Community Inclusion at
University of Massachusetts Boston, the most important factors that
influence integrated employment include \17\:
\17\ Butterworth, et al. (2010). StateData: The National Report on
Employment Services and Outcomes, 2009. Boston, MA: Institute for
Community Inclusion p. 12.
Approach of the State agencies directing Medicaid services
for people with ID/DD: Medicaid is both a primary source for health
care for individuals with ID/DD and the largest Federal source of
funding for home and community-based services.\18\ State ID/DD agencies
are playing a critical role in determining the direction of the State
and Federal Medicaid investment. In States that have started to address
the need for competitive, integrated employment opportunities for
people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, successful
strategies include flexibility in funding, data collection focused upon
integrated employment, rewards and incentives, and innovative practices
and training. For example, in Oklahoma, an innovative outcome-based
funding approach pays for services based upon the number of hours an
individual works, not the number of service hours provided. In several
localities in Michigan and other States, agencies have established rate
structures that incent integrated employment outcomes.
\18\ Ibid, p. 11.
Approach of the Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs):
As the primary source of day and employment services for people with
intellectual and developmental disabilities, CRPs play a critical role
in providing work opportunities. Currently, only 26 percent of
individuals served by CRPs are working in integrated employment.
Collaboration with State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)
agencies: Collaborative initiatives between VR and ID/DD agencies are
an important element in supporting stronger employment outcomes.
Community-based non-work (CBNW) activities: Participation
in community-based non-work activities supported by home and community-
based waivers and State funds--defined as activities that take place in
the community and do not involve paid employment--has rapidly grown
over the past 15 years, as reported by State ID/DD agencies.\19\
Thirty-eight State ID/DD agencies that reported CBNW services indicated
that that 36.2 percent of those served participated in CBNW activities
in fiscal year 2008, up from 18.7 percent in fiscal year 1999.
\19\ Butterworth, et al. (2010). StateData: The National Report on
Employment Services and Outcomes, 2009. Boston, MA: Institute for
Community Inclusion p. 21.
Direct Support Personnel (DSPs): Competent support staff
often play a key role in the success of people with intellectual and
developmental disabilities on the job.
Individual and family factors: Research has shown that
many individuals with disabilities and their families want to consider
community options, but have concerns about long-term placement and
stability, safety, and the social environment.\20\
\20\ Migliore, A., Grossi, T., Mank, D., Rogan, P. (2008) Why do
Adults with Intellectual Disabilities Work in ShelteredWorkshops?
Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 28(1), 29-40.
Migliore, A., Mank, D., Grossi, T., & Rogan, P. (2007). Integrated
Employment or Sheltered Workshops: Preferences of Adults with
Intellectual Disabilities, Their Families, and Staff. Journal of
Vocational Rehabilitation, 26(1), 5-19.
For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, self-
determination is another important factor in employment outcomes.
Individuals with ID/DD who have the degree of control they desire over
their lives consistent with their capacities, strengths and needs are
more likely to express satisfaction with their individual employment
outcomes. Research suggests that beyond the opportunity to earn wages,
other benefits of integrated employment include expanded social
relationships, higher job satisfaction, improved self-worth,
transferable work skills, and increased self-determination.\21\
Multiple studies indicate that self-determination status is a predictor
of quality of life,\22\ and is positively correlated with improved
employment, independent living, and community inclusion outcomes.\23\
\21\ Mank, D. (2003). Supported Employment Outcomes Across a
Decade: Is There Evidence of Improvement in the Quality of
Implementation? Mental Retardation, 41(3), 188-97.
Murphy, S.T., Rogan, P.M., Handley, M., Kincaid, C., & Royce-Davis,
J. (2002). People's Situations and Perspectives Eight Years After
Workshop Conversion. Mental Retardation, 40(1), 30-40.
\22\ Lachappelle, Y., Wehmeyer, M.L., Haelewyck, M.C., Courbois,
Y., Keith, K.D., Schalock, R., Verdugo, M.A., & Walsh, P.N. (2005) The
Relationship Between Quality of life and Self-Determination: An
International Study. Wehmeyer, M.L. & Schwartz, M. (1998). The
Relationship between Self-Determination and Quality of Life for Adults
with Mental Retardation. Education and Training in Mental Retardation
and Developmental Disabilities, 33, 3-12.
ADD has committed $4 million over 5 years to a consortium of five
University Centers for Excellence on Developmental Disabilities to lead
a self-determination national training initiative, the ``National
Gateway to Self-Determination.'' The purpose of this project is to
enable self-advocates, family members, professionals, agencies, and
University Centers to ``scale-up'' efforts that promote self-
determination throughout the lifespan and thereby positively affect
individual outcomes. One component is a focus on the relationship
between self-determination and employment, as self-determination is an
essential element for enhancing individual control and involvement in
employment, and ultimately job satisfaction and success.\24\ The Self
Determination project is providing training related to self-
determination, developing evidence-based practices, and supporting the
translation of research into practice.
\24\ Association on University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
(2010). National Gateway to Self Determination Training. Silver Spring,
other administration activities
Demonstration projects: Later this year, ADD will be investing over
$2 million in demonstrations related to improving opportunities for
people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to access
competitive, integrated employment. These competitive grants will
challenge applicants to develop and implement innovative public/private
partnerships to improve employment outcomes for individuals with
significant developmental and intellectual disabilities, and ensure
improved access to integrated employment at competitive wages and
benefits for such individuals, with a particular emphasis on assisting
two groups: (1) youth and young adults transitioning from secondary or
postsecondary school into competitive, integrated work, and (2) adults
currently working in non-integrated facility-based supported employment
settings to move to competitive, integrated employment settings. More
details will be available about these funding opportunities later this
Longitudinal Data Collection: Data collection and analysis not only
provides clarity, but as the old adage states, ``What gets measured
gets done, what gets measured and fed back gets done well, and what
gets rewarded gets repeated.'' For over 20 years, ADD has supported the
Institute for Community Inclusion at University of Massachusetts Boston
to collect and analyze data on the nature of day and employment
services for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities;
the Institute's director, Bill Kiernan, will also testify today. This
project has contributed greatly to our Nation's comprehensive
understanding of the factors that influence employment outcomes at
every level--individual, service provider, State and Federal policy
Research shows a correlation between States that are collecting
data from multiple sources, including employment outcome data collected
at the individual level, and higher percentages of individuals in
integrated employment.\25\ Frequent data collection at the individual
level creates regular interaction between the State ID/DD agency and
providers, helps providers take an active role in working towards a
shared goal of increased employment by giving the entities who are
implementing activities a sense of ownership in the goals, provides
information about training and technical assistance needs on a timely
basis, and can be used for better accountability with providers. The
very process of the data collection efforts at the State level helps to
improve employment outcomes in States.\26\
\25\ Hall, A.C., Butterworth, J., Winsor, J., Gilmore, D., &
Metzel, D. (2007). Pushing the Employment Agenda: CaseStudyResearch of
High Performing States in Integrated Employment. Intellectual and
Developmental Disabilities, 45(3), 182-98.
\26\ Butterworth, et al. (2010). StateData: The National Report on
Employment Services and Outcomes, 2009. Boston, MA: Institute for
Community Living Initiative: ADD is an important partner, along
with the Social Security Administration's Office of Employment Support
and Ticket to Work Programs and the CMS Disabled and Elderly Health
Programs Group, in the Community Living Initiative Employment
Workgroup, led by the HHS Office on Disability. The workgroup goals
include the development of options for workers with disabilities and/or
chronic conditions to gain wraparound home and community-based services
and supports to maintain employment, as well as to provide further
clarification to stakeholders on how Federal policy and programs can
help people with disabilities find and maintain competitive employment.
In closing, I leave you with a quote from a woman with a
developmental disability, Ms. Susan Willis, who shared this insight
with ADD as part of our recent listening sessions,
``When meeting someone new, we almost always ask, `What do
you do?' A person's work seems to define who he or she is. It
certainly gives people, especially those with disabilities, a
sense of self-worth and confidence. With employment comes some
level of self-sufficiency, and with that--independent living.
Without a full- or part-time job at reasonable wages, none of
this can be realized.''
The Administration on Developmental Disabilities and the ADD
network are striving to improve opportunities for individuals with
intellectual and developmental disabilities to access competitive
employment in integrated community settings.
Thank you. I am happy to take any questions you may have.
The Chairman. Thank you both very much for your testimony
and for all the good work that you do.
We'll start our rounds of 5-minute questions. I guess to
both of you, I'll start with Ms. Ruttledge. Ms. Lewis said
employment is the expectation. It's what we expect of kids and
expect of people, and it's first priorities.
If our first priority or goal is to make sure that kids
with intellectual disabilities are put into some kind of a
subminimum wage, sheltered workshop, that type of thing, where
they just get there and they never get advanced, they never get
challenged to move on, if that's our first priority, then that
shortchanges a lot of kids, a lot of people. Shouldn't our
first priority and our first goal be to say you need to be in
competitive employment? That's where you need to go. But we
need to start early.
Ms. Ruttledge. Absolutely.
The Chairman. That's why No Child Left Behind, for all of
its faults, had one good thing in it and that was to bring kids
with disabilities along, and we're not going to lose that in
the reauthorization, I can assure you.
Ms. Ruttledge. Thank you.
The Chairman. But, Ms. Ruttledge, how can we get--in high
school, especially--middle school, high school--get our schools
working with VR to get these kids either college-ready or
secondary or career-ready so that they're thinking not about a
low expectation, but the highest expectation? Are the VRs ready
to do this? Can they be implemented to do this? Can they work
into this system? Do they have enough wherewithal to do that?
Ms. Ruttledge. Thank you for that question. Having been the
State director of a voc rehab program for the last 4 years, I
think they are ready, and I think they're demonstrating their
readiness. They're working together with their education
partners at, as you were saying, the middle school level to
identify curriculum, to identify role models in the community
to come in and talk with kids. They're connecting with centers
for independent living to create leadership programs. They're
sharing strategies on how to be able to create work-based
They're really our partners in programs like Project SEARCH
where you have an internship opportunity for an entire academic
year for students with intellectual disabilities who get the
support of a school district, get the support of voc rehab and
get the support of the employer, and we're demonstrating that
that can happen early.
I also think that the bottom line is this needs to come
from the youth themselves, and I think what you're seeing and
what you're hearing across the country are folks saying that's
what I want, that's where I'm going to be. And they're being
able to be successful, because they're seeing themselves in
those roles. They're not seeing themselves in what we would
have expected 10 years ago, 15 years ago. They're seeing
themselves in local stores, in community colleges and in the
communities being successful. And I think that's where it
The Chairman. Very good. Ms. Lewis, do you have any
thoughts on getting VR working with our middle and high schools
to encourage kids with intellectual disabilities--all
disabilities, but we're kind of focusing on intellectual
disabilities here--to have high expectations and high goals and
to work with them to help them achieve that in terms of being
career-ready or college-ready?
That's what we're saying. That's what we're going to put in
ESEA. I want to make sure it applies to all kids, and kids with
Ms. Lewis. Right. As Commissioner Ruttledge indicated, I
think VR is a critical partner. When we have seen the States
where the employment numbers have ticked up for youth with
intellectual disabilities, it is really manifested in a set of
partnerships that involve the school system, VR, and the State
ID/DD agency, because over the long haul, we know that that's
where many of the ongoing supports are going to come from.
I think the other important factor in all of this are the
families themselves. I think that families and the youth and
young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities
need to see those success stories. They need to believe that
this is possible, and one of the issues that we face is we
don't have enough success stories in the community for
individuals to see themselves in those roles and understand
what's possible, and I think that that's something that needs
As Commissioner Ruttledge indicated, I think what we hear
from youth are higher expectations, what IDEA and ADA--we call
that the IDEA/ADA generation--thanks to all of your great
work--have higher expectations and it's incumbent upon us to
make sure that the capacity is in the system to meet those
The Chairman. I think on our next panel we're going to see
some role models.
Ms. Ruttledge. I think so.
Ms. Lewis. I think you do. I think you have some great role
The Chairman. Both from the employer's standpoint and also
from a young person's standpoint.
Ms. Lewis. Absolutely.
The Chairman. Senator Isakson.
Senator Isakson. Thank you, Chairman Harkin. You know I
delivered the opening remarks, but I did not write them. So I
don't take responsibility for the content, but I do have to
repeat one part that I read because it was a troubling
statement and then really ask a question of Ms. Lewis, if I
In this prepared remark, it said,
``As the GAO has repeatedly noted for the better part
of the past decade, efforts from the Federal level are
far too disparate lacking coordination and coherence,
ultimately leading to a confusing mess of inefficient
programs. This stark reality is highlighted yet again
in GAO's list of programs identified as high risk, in
need of reform, a categorization that has been placed
on Federal disability programs since 2003.
``GAO claims these programs are high risk because, as
stated in the report, they are grounded in outmoded
concepts that have not been updated to reflect the
current State of science, medicine, technology and
labor market conditions.''
Whoever wrote that was having a difficult day. But, anyway,
let me ask you this question: What are some of the best
practice models championed by State councils on developmental
disabilities to strengthen and coordinate services to more
individuals to obtain competitive integrative employment?
Ms. Lewis. Well, I appreciate that question because I think
that what we're seeing is this concept of employment first,
literally, the employment-first policy. This is a strategy in
which DD councils and university centers have been very engaged
with State ID/DD agencies, the agencies that are responsible
for Medicaid waivers for individuals with intellectual and
developmental disabilities, as well as vocational
rehabilitation in the school systems, to really prioritize
employment as the first outcome that is expected in the
performance measurement standards that are established, in the
rate restructuring that individual States are going through,
how are we going to prioritize involvement in competitive,
integrated employment as the first priority.
Not to say that we are going to eliminate other options,
but, first and foremost, if someone is receiving publicly
funded services, we are going to say the expectation and the
outcome should, first and foremost, be employment, and that
should be the first consideration in the design of the systems.
For example, in the State of Oregon, the DD council
convened a work group that then developed--the employment first
policy for the State was adopted by the State DD agency as well
as the vocational rehabilitation agency that set a performance
metric of an expectation of an increase in competitive,
integrated employment for individuals with intellectual
disabilities of 5 percent a year. And so it is those very
specific goals and expectations in employment first policy that
will make a difference.
Senator Isakson. Thank you very much. The real Ranking
Member has shown up, but I'm going to keep taking the time
Ms. Ruttledge, in following up on the conversation you were
having with Senator Harkin about real employment and
aspirations for those with developmental disabilities and
intellectual disabilities, to shoot higher than some systems
may--the way I took it is some people's expectations are
actually lowered by the system.
Ms. Ruttledge. Correct.
Senator Isakson. And then I heard a great statement about
examples of people with disabilities who have exceeded. No
criticism directly of either one of you, but I don't think--and
I've done a lot with sheltered workshops, and my wife's a
special education teacher. I chaired the State board of
education, worked on IDEA and helped Senator Harkin on No Child
Left Behind to make sure nobody was left behind.
But I don't think the institutions and the programs of
government do a good enough job of looking for those role
models to give those kids the vision of what they can do.
And I'll just give you one example of what I mean. There's
a special that was done on PBS 3 years ago about a young man
named Brad Cohen, who's the son of a good friend of mine, who
has severe Tourette syndrome, yet he became the teacher of the
year in public education in Georgia teaching reading with
Tourette syndrome, and he now goes all over the country giving
these can-do lectures on what you really can do, many times
interrupted by the effects of Tourette syndrome while he's
delivering the remark.
I think the department should look for ways to find those
examples of people who have beat the odds and have done it,
because, in the end, it's in the heart of the individual and
the will of the parents as to how far they can go. It's not the
institutions of government that will just automatically take
So my statement is I think those role-model examples do far
more to move kids forward with disabilities than any government
mandate they should.
That wasn't a question. It was a statement, but I got his
time, so I took advantage of it. I yield back.
The Chairman. Thank you. And we are joined by Ranking
Member, Senator Enzi.
Your opening statement's already been given, by the way,
Senator Enzi. I realize that, and I appreciate Senator
Isakson doing that so I could be at another hearing at the
first part, too, and I won't have any questions for these two
The Chairman. OK. Well, thank you very much, Senator Enzi.
Sometimes it bears repeating, What are the key factors that
increase the likelihood that young people with disabilities
will be able to become competitively employed? What are those
key factors that we ought to be thinking about?
I'm thinking about it in terms of reauthorization of the
Elementary and Secondary Education Act, but also in terms of
the Rehab Act and all the other things that we've done.
Tell us again what do you think those key factors are, when
you get to young people, encouraging them? Role models. I think
what Senator Isakson is talking about is vitally important.
Ms. Ruttledge. Thank you for that question. From my
experience, from what I've seen, the key factors are--indeed,
it starts with high expectations. It's also developing
opportunities, when the youth is still in school, for
internships, for work experiences, to be able to see and
connect with role models in the community, like the example
that you gave.
I think that another key strategy, and one of the key
factors, is that our personnel who are in schools, in
vocational rehabilitation, in other support agencies need to
know what the state-of-the-art is. They need access to those
practices. They need an expectation that they're going to
translate those practices into what really works in their
classrooms and in their communities.
The Chairman. Yes.
Ms. Ruttledge. They need to have an opportunity to share
those stories that you were saying. I think we have terrific
stories that go on every day and we don't recognize it. And so
I think that those are pieces.
I think that we need to really focus on student
development. We need to provide opportunities for youth with
intellectual disabilities to participate in things like service
learning and to be able to really use their time in school to
develop the skills necessary to be successful in employment.
I think we need to more actively engage with the business
community earlier on. I think that's a key factor. When I was
in Washington, businesses were the biggest supporter of summer
youth work experience, because what they saw was an opportunity
to bring youth with disabilities into their workplace and then
they targeted them the same way Commissioner Lewis was sharing
about how you find those next generation of talent. You find
them when they're still in high school and you develop them,
and you provide opportunities.
I think the last key factor is that we need to be able to
set higher expectations of our system to perform better, and we
need to accept nothing less than an increase in wages, an
increase in hours, an increase in vocational goals that lead to
a career, an increase in those opportunities that create that
work experience while they're still in school that translates
to that competitive, integrated employment. I think those are
some of the key factors.
The Chairman. Very good. Thank you, Ms. Ruttledge. Anything
to add to that, Ms. Lewis?
Ms. Lewis. I think that there are very specific approaches
for individuals that also are critically important. We know
things like job shadowing, peer mentoring, internship
experiences in the high school, person-centered planning for
individuals with intellectual disabilities and really providing
the opportunity for the individual themselves to express what
their interests, passions, dreams and desires are critical,
And then the success stories we've seen, that has been a
common theme, that families and team members across the school
system, the VR system and the DD support systems have engaged
in person-centered planning.
I also think access to postsecondary education as an option
is a critical component of this. When we look at and talk to--
again, anecdotally--families, what we hear is that we're still
getting middle schools and high schools caught up on the
expectations that individuals with intellectual and
developmental disabilities can go to college, and the Higher
Education Opportunity Act has enshrined that in Federal statute
at this point in terms of that opportunity and that
expectation, that individuals with intellectual disabilities
can go to college. And, as I mentioned, that is an area of
great growth, and we know that college experience makes a
tremendous difference in terms of wages.
The Chairman. Thank you both very much. I think those are
both great closing comments, and we appreciate the work you do
and thank you for your testimony today. We'll now move to our
second panel. Thank you both.
On Panel II, we have Joan Evans, Randy Lewis, David Egan
and Dr. William Kiernan. We'll introduce our panelists, but I
will yield first to Senator Enzi for the purpose of introducing
our first panelist. Then I will introduce the rest and then
we'll go through the testimony.
Senator Enzi. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm always pleased
when we have someone from Wyoming on the panel, and we have an
outstanding person from Wyoming who is the director of Wyoming
Workforce Services, and she also serves as the director of the
Carbon County Higher Education Center and has served as the
interim director for the Wyoming Department of Employment.
Thanks for being here.
The Chairman. Next is Randy Lewis, senior vice president of
supply chain and logistics for Walgreens. Mr. Lewis' 19-year-
old son, Austin, is on the autism spectrum.
As a result of his experiences, Mr. Lewis became an
advocate for the employment of other individuals with
disabilities. He began an outreach program through Walgreens
which integrates individuals with disabilities into the
workforce and has an ultimate goal of staffing 10 percent of
Walgreens' distribution center production jobs with people with
Then we have David Egan, a distribution clerk at Booz Allen
Hamilton, responsible for mail and package distribution and
communications at the McLean site.
He has been described as a trail blazer in the competitive
employment of people with intellectual disabilities. He was
selected as the first ever board member of the Down Syndrome
Association of Northern Virginia. He also serves as a board
member of Special Olympics Virginia.
One of Mr. Egan's goals is to achieve an environment where
he and others with intellectual disabilities are empowered to
contribute and become ``one of us and not one among us.''
Last, we welcome Dr. William Kiernan, director of the
Institute for Community Inclusion, research professor in the
Graduate College of Education and the McCormick School of
Policy Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Dr. Kiernan has broad experience developing and
implementing training and model demonstration projects in
integrated employment, inclusive education, recreation
transition and systems change.
Dr. Kiernan holds several national offices in professional
advocacy groups and is past president of the Association of
University Centers on Disabilities and previously served as the
president of the American Association on Intellectual and
Thank you all very much for joining us. Your statements
will be made a part of the record in their entirety, and we'll
start over here with Ms. Evans.
I ask you all to sum up--I know you've got a 5-minute
timer, but if it goes over, I'm not going to bang a gavel or
anything like that. So 5, 6, 7. Once it starts getting 8, 9,
10, 11, I get a little nervous. OK? So please proceed.
STATEMENT OF JOAN K. EVANS, DIRECTOR, WYOMING DEPARTMENT OF
WORKFORCE SERVICES, CHEYENNE, WY
Ms. Evans. Good morning, Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member
Enzi and members of the committee. Thank you for the
opportunity to testify today before you on this very important
My name is Joan Evans. I'm the director of the Wyoming
Department of Workforce Services, and I'm especially grateful
to have this chance to provide and share our experiences from
I have provided written testimony to the committee where
much more detail about our efforts of the agency and our
partners is discussed.
While the overall employment rate hovers near 10 percent,
it is much higher for people with disabilities. In fact, the
unemployment rate for this segment of the population has
remained virtually unchanged, close to 65 percent for virtually
In Wyoming, our rate is slightly better. We have pulled
together our limited resources to give us a 46-percent
unemployment rate for people with disabilities. However, we
recognize that there is still so much work to be done.
In Wyoming, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation falls
under my agency. Over 700 of the 5,300 Wyoming citizens with
disabilities each year successfully complete a training program
or rehab program and enter the workforce with enhanced skills
provided. For every dollar that we spend on rehab services, a
client can earn $11 in taxable income.
I would like to share a couple of examples of what we feel
is success for us in Wyoming. The first would be Healthy
Families Succeed or our job-assist program.
In 2003, the agency formed a public-private partnership
that utilizes data to identify individuals who are tied into
multiple public service programs. The data demonstrated that 42
percent of State and Federal assistance resources are being
used by about 3 percent of individuals.
It was further discovered that 20 percent of these
individuals were vocational rehabilitation clients and could
also benefit from services which include collaboration of State
and Federal services. For example, job training, education,
health care and affordable health insurance.
A second example would be our Wyoming Business Leadership
Network and our recent partnership with Lowe's. A number of our
clients are now entering employment through our two-time
national award-winning Wyoming State affiliate of the U.S.
Business Leadership Network.
Our Wyoming BLN is an employer-led coalition supporting
best practices and promoting employment of people with
disabilities. This past year, another innovative practice of
our Wyoming BLN has been a joint project between the Lowe's
distribution center in Cheyenne and the Wyoming Department of
This pre-hire economic employment grant is part of a State-
funded training program and was used for the first time to
train individuals with disabilities. This training project
takes people with the motivation to work in the warehousing
industry and provides support necessary for them to accomplish
the same production standards as their nondisabled counterparts
as customized to the needs to Lowe's.
Another unique feature is the train-the-trainer model for
management that will build capacity at Lowe's to provide a
long-term diversity program within their company. Lowe's has a
commitment to this program and hopes the interns will be career
And I'd like to share a success story of one of our
participants, Robbie Magill. Robbie is a 34-year-old individual
with Down syndrome who receives services through our Wyoming
Adult Disabilities Waiver program. His mother reports that when
Robbie graduated from high school, even she was unable to see
how he would be able to contribute in the workplace, despite
the fact that she and her daughter had been disability
advocates in the State for many years.
In 2001, Robbie embarked on an entrepreneurial business
venture which ended up closing 5 years later, due to the
economy. He tried several different positions and ultimately
applied for a position in the newly-formed Lowe's project
through the Wyoming BLN.
He was hired as an intern at $12.50 an hour with benefits,
and yesterday Robbie finished his probationary period and will
now be considered for permanent status at Lowe's.
His production rate has gone from 40 percent to 63 percent
in just 3 short months. Robbie was quickly adopted into the
Lowe's family where he is engaging in real work for a real
wage, and the company is discovering the benefits of including
people with disabilities in their diversity initiative. Since
then, Robbie has told his mother that if she doesn't like her
job, she could always come and join the Lowe's family.
Progress is possible. It just takes a coordinated effort
across agencies, the private sector, utilizing people who can
assist others in navigating the system.
In conclusion, our future efforts will include the
formation of a State team with the alliance for full
participation where the goal is to double the employment rate
for individuals with disabilities by the year 2015.
Second, we need to explore disability employment initiative
funding and benefits analysis, followed by further development
and expansion of the Wyoming BLN vocational rehabilitation
partnership, school-to-work transition activities, and,
finally, public education on the benefits of hiring people with
disabilities as will be highlighted in our Governor's Summit on
Workforce Solutions to be held in June.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Evans follows:]
Prepared Statement of Joan K. Evans
Good morning. Chairman Harkin, Ranking Member Enzi and members of
the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify on this
My name is Joan Evans, and I'm the director of the Wyoming
Department of Workforce Services. I am especially grateful to have the
chance to share our experiences in Wyoming.
President Franklin Roosevelt said,
``No country, however rich, can afford the waste of its human
resources. Demoralization caused by vast unemployment is our
greatest extravagance. Morally, it is the greatest menace to
our social order.''
We live in a time of high unemployment, and this is especially true
for people with disabilities. While the overall employment rate hovers
near 10 percent, it is much higher for people with disabilities. In
fact, the unemployment rate for this segment of the population has
remained virtually unchanged at 65 percent for two decades.
In Wyoming, our rate is slightly better, at 52.4 percent
unemployment, as ranked by the University of Massachusetts at Boston
Institute for Community Inclusion. However, we, too, still have a long
way to go. Our rate of employment for persons with cognitive
disabilities is also better than average with 37.1 percent employed in
Wyoming versus 24.4 percent nationally.
Many people need long-term services or care specifically because of
intellectual disabilities. The average lifetime cost for one person
with intellectual disabilities is estimated to be $1,014,000 (in 2003
dollars). It is estimated that the lifetime costs for all people with
intellectual disabilities who were born in 2000 will total $51.2
billion. These costs include both direct and indirect costs. Direct
medical costs, such as doctor visits, prescription drugs and inpatient
hospital stays make up 14 percent of these costs. Direct nonmedical
expenses, such as home modifications and special education, make up 10
percent. Indirect costs, which include the value of lost wages when a
person dies early, cannot work or is limited in the amount or type of
work he or she can do make up 76 percent of the costs.
These estimates do not include other expenses such as hospital
outpatient visits, emergency department visits, residential care, and
family out-of-pocket expenses. The actual economic costs of
intellectual disabilities are, therefore, even higher than what is
I will not recite the many employment challenges facing people with
disabilities, for we know that attitudinal barriers and negative
stereotyping are among them, along with lack of accommodation. Although
there are many challenges that persons with disabilities face as they
look for work, there are also many effective programs and support
services to assist them.
In Wyoming, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation falls under
my agency. I would like to offer some examples of our successes.
wyoming division of vocational rehabilitation
The public Vocational Rehabilitation Program continues to be one of
the most cost-effective programs created by Congress. It enables
individuals with disabilities to find gainful employment and become
In fiscal year 2010, a total of 5,384 Wyoming citizens with
disabilities received a broad array of services from the Division of
Vocational Rehabilitation. More than a third of our clients have a
psychiatric disorder, while one fourth possess orthopedic impairment,
and 18 percent--the third-highest category--have an intellectual or
The number served in 2010 represents a 30 percent increase from 2
years earlier. Of those, 1,372, or 26 percent, were referred to and
received education and training from both in-state and out-of-state
On average, about 700 of these citizens each year successfully
complete a training or rehabilitation program and enter the workforce
with the enhanced skills provided. For every dollar spent on Vocational
Rehabilitation services, a client earns $11 in taxable income.
These individuals are able to secure, regain or retain employment
with estimated annualized earnings in excess of $13 million, and an
estimated reduction in public assistance of more than a million
dollars. Those savings might seem small compared to larger States, but
in a State like Wyoming, with a population of only 563,000, these
savings--and the number of people served and employed--is significant.
A variety of programs within this Division assist individuals with
First, all eligible clients, regardless of their disability, have
full access to a broad array of individualized services. To ensure that
all disability groups have equal access to services, the Division has
focused outreach efforts and staff training to provide services to
individuals with Acquired Brain Injuries (ABI), individuals with
Serious and Persistent Mental Illness (SPMI), veterans with
disabilities, and students with disabilities in transition from school
to the world of work or other post-secondary options.
The Division utilizes its Supported Employment State Grant to
maximize the available services to consumers that are most
significantly disabled. By utilizing these funds, the Division
increases the level of support that the client receives during the
process of locating employment and provides individualized support once
employment is obtained.
A second success story is our Small Business Development Program.
Sales from vending machines throughout Wyoming's State offices have
allowed the Division to create a Small Business Development Fund which
helps clients meet their small business start-up needs. This revenue is
in addition to general Vocational Rehabilitation funding used to meet
basic rehabilitation needs.
Under this program, the Division employs a full-time small business
consultant who works with clients to develop viable small businesses by
completing a business plan and securing funding. The Small Business
Development program has been able to help launch a number of
businesses, from those that fill a small niche to full businesses that
have grown to the point of needing to hire additional staff. The
program also assists clients in determining if a product is eligible
A third area to spotlight is helping students with disabilities
transition from school to work. The Division employs a full-time
Transition Consultant who works to strengthen partnerships between
Vocational Rehabilitation staff and counselors in our high schools. As
a result, we have seen a steady increase in the number of transition
individuals who have applied for services. We are working toward a more
seamless transition between each student's Individualized Education
Plan (IEP) and the Division's Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE)
to prevent any of our clients from missing out on critical services or
becoming lost while navigating between the two systems.
Despite our successes, the increasing costs for medical services
and evaluations, retaining qualified personnel and maintaining consumer
training present mounting challenges to our Vocational Rehabilitation
program. While we have been able to maintain our current level of
services without having to enter into an Order of Selection, we are
aware that other States have done this to meet their funding needs.
Another concern is that we have a limited number of individuals
available to assist persons with disabilities in navigating the various
employment and disability programs. Many citizens are reticent to start
employment or look for employment out of fear that doing so may
jeopardize their disability benefits or affect their eligibility for
other programs. The Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA)
Project provides valuable assistance in working with Social Security
beneficiaries with disabilities on job placement, benefits planning,
and career development. However, Wyoming has only one full-time
employee and two part-time employees covering the entire State and
trying to help more than 15,000 clients who may be eligible for
Vocational Rehabilitation's work programs.
disability determination services
Another area of success in Wyoming is our Disability Determination
Services office, or DDS.
The Wyoming DDS adjudicated, or made a determination of benefits
eligibility, for 4,973 Social Security disability claims during Federal
Fiscal Year 2010 (FFY). Of these, 3,755 were initial claims. This means
that these individuals are at the first level of applying for Social
Security disability benefits. Out of the 3,755 initial claims
adjudicated, 1,877 were determined eligible for Social Security
Disability Insurance (Title II) and/or Supplemental Security Income
(Title XVI). Therefore, these individuals received monetary benefits
and medical benefits which include Medicare and/or Medicaid. The
medical benefits allow these individuals to receive medical treatment
for their impairments.
Intellectual disabilities--78 individuals with the diagnosis of
intellectual disability were determined eligible for Social Security
disability insurance and/or supplemental security income. Four
individuals with the diagnosis of intellectual disability were denied.
Thus, Wyoming DDS had an allowance rate of 95.1 percent for this
Autism or pervasive development disorder--34 individuals with the
diagnosis of autism or pervasive development disorder were determined
eligible for Social Security disability insurance and/or supplemental
security income. Ten individuals with this diagnosis were found
ineligible for social security benefits. DDS had an allowance rate of
77.3 percent for this diagnosis.
Borderline intellectual functioning--21 individuals with the
diagnosis of borderline intellectual functioning were determined
eligible for Social Security disability insurance and/or supplemental
security income. Twenty-five individuals with this diagnosis were found
ineligible for social security benefits. DDS had an allowance rate of
45.7 percent for this diagnosis.
Just recently, the Division received a Commissioner's Citation for
superior customer service to disability applicants and implementing
innovative approaches to improving the disability claims processing for
Federal Fiscal Year 2009. The Division implemented the use of
videoconferencing to conduct mental status examinations throughout the
State, which was the first DDS in the Nation to use video conferencing
for this specific purpose. The Commissioner's Citation is the highest
award that the Social Security Administration can bestow on an
individual, group of individuals, or an organization.
Wyoming DDS also managed to maintain the highest productivity per
work year in the Denver region during FFY 2009.
wyoming department of health developmental disabilities division
The mission of this division is to provide funding and guidance
responsive to the needs of people with disabilities to live, work,
enjoy, and learn in Wyoming communities with their families, friends,
and chosen support service and support providers.
This agency includes several programs:
The Adult DD, Child DD, and ABI Waivers and the State
Respite program assist individuals and their families in obtaining both
natural supports and paid providers to aid individuals in their
communities through either self-directed or traditional service
The Early Intervention and Education Program provides
assistance and oversight to the regional child development centers that
serve young children from birth through 5 years of age with
disabilities and their families across Wyoming.
The Wyoming Life Resource Center is a State-owned facility
that provides state-of-the-art care, learning and job opportunities for
Wyoming residents with significant intellectual and developmental
disabilities, brain injuries and long-term medical and therapeutic
In addition to these functions, the Developmental Disabilities
Division is working with the Alliance for Full Participation to form a
State team that will seek to improve the number of good-paying jobs for
people with disabilities. The Alliance for Full Participation is a
formal partnership of leading organizations serving the developmental
disabilities field that share a common vision to help create a better
and more fulfilling quality of life for people with developmental
This new State Employment Team is formed specifically in response
to the Alliance's challenge to double employment for people with
intellectual and developmental disabilities. Wyoming will join 31
others State teams at a national employment summit this fall.
Tyler--A Success Story In Navigating The System
Understanding the variety and complexities of programs that aim to
help individuals with intellectual disabilities can be a challenge.
Tyler, who has an intellectual disability, struggled to find steady
income and a positive work environment.
``There were frustrations with paid services early on, and agencies
were not very helpful,'' his mother, Jeanie Hede, said. ``The services
and systems were fragmented. They deterred progress. People on
caseloads seemed to be just a number, a case.''
After a few unsuccessful job placements, Tyler and his parents
turned to a family friend for help. The mother of a friend of Tyler's
worked at the State Department of Health's Wyoming Life Resource
Center, which is Wyoming's only intermediate care facility for people
with intellectual disabilities. Through his friend, Tyler landed a
part-time job at the Resource Center performing janitorial duties and
helping some residents with aquatic therapy. He proved his skills as a
hardworking direct-care worker with the residents and he was made a
permanent part-time employee. He was put through training and was
eventually offered a full-time position.
The family was excited for Tyler to become a full-time employee but
concerned that he would lose his Social Security income, Medicaid
health insurance and the supported living services through the Adult
Developmental Disabilities waiver that helped him live independently in
his own apartment. After learning about the Medicaid Buy-in options,
known as Employed Individuals with Disabilities, or EID in Wyoming, the
family decided that Tyler should accept the full-time position, enroll
in EID and pay the premium to keep Medicaid and waiver services for
some support in the home.
Today, Tyler continues to succeed at his job and in his long-term
life goals. He recently received his 5-year employee service award from
the Wyoming Department of Health. He loves his job and looks forward to
work each day because ``it makes me feel good to help other people,''
According to his mother, Jeanie, ``Success didn't come through an
agency for Tyler.'' He needed an advocate to be a ``mover and shaker .
. . to explore connections and make the search personal.''
``The personal approach with a possible employer made an enormous
difference,'' she said. She believes that all people with ID searching
for employment need an advocate, someone to use a personal approach to
create ``more buy-in from the potential employer.''
Tyler got married last summer and moved from his apartment into a
house with a big back yard. He wants to start a side business making
leather gun holsters to earn a little extra income for the family.
With support and guidance from his mother and his wife, Tyler
decided to quit the Adult DD Waiver and EID program in the summer of
2010 and accept the health insurance and benefits that come with his
job at the Resource Center. He is no longer using any Federal or State
programs to help him with routine life activities and models a strong
work ethic that the Center wants to instill in other employees. When he
needs help with day-to-day activities such as budgeting, paying bills
or arranging his benefits or insurance, he now turns to his wife and
his mother for some assistance.
``But mostly,'' he says cheerfully, ``I am doing everything on my
wyoming business leadership network
A number of our clients are now entering employment through a state
affiliate of a national disability organization known as the US
Business Leadership Network, which represents more than 5,000
employers. The USBLN recognizes and supports best practices in the
employment and advancement of people with disabilities and preparing
youth and students with disabilities for the workplace.
The Wyoming Business Leadership Network is affiliated with the
national BLN. In 2009 and 2010, it won two national awards from the US
Business Leadership Network for development of its statewide network.
For the past 15 years, the Wyoming BLN and the State Division of
Vocational Rehabilitation have partnered to help employers navigate the
myriad of traditional service provider systems, which often operate in
silos. Employers often give up because they don't understand the
bureaucratic maze of systems and various uses of terminology. The BLN
engages business in a non-threatening way and provides disability
expertise for them, which is something the business world generally
perceives as difficult to understand. The BLN is partially funded
through contracts with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and
The BLN also operates a youth mentoring program aimed at engaging
businesses in eight school districts in Wyoming. Youths with
disabilities are a particularly fragile group--among the most at-risk
of the at-risk groups. A 2004 Harris survey reports that students with
disabilities are twice as likely to drop out of school compared to
their non-disabled counterparts. The Wyoming Department of Education
reports that 50 percent of the incarcerated youth have a disability.
Years ago a business executive in Wyoming challenged our BLN to
make sure that we were giving youth with disabilities exposure and
connections to the real world of work. As a result of this employer
challenge, the Wyoming BLN developed a program called MentorABILITY.
This program solely uses employers from our State network to teach soft
skills and mentor Wyoming's youth with disabilities to prepare them for
the world of work once they graduate from high school. Since this is a
hands-on experience, it engages youth and helps them to see the
benefits of finishing their high school education, thus addressing
those who might have initially dropped out of school. The MentorABILITY
program bridges the business-education gap by directly involving
businesses in the classroom.
Partnership With Lowe's
This past year another innovative practice of Wyoming's Business
Leadership Network has been a joint project between the Lowe's
Distribution Center in Cheyenne and the Wyoming Department of Workforce
Services, which offered a State grant to launch a paid Corporate
Training Program for individuals with disabilities. This Pre-hire
Economic Employment grant is part of a State-funded training program
and was used for the first time to train people with disabilities.
This project takes people with the motivation to work in the
warehousing industry and provides a training program to get them up and
running at the same production standards as their non-disabled
counterparts. The training was customized to the specific needs of
Lowe's. Twelve individuals are currently being trained to work at a
starting wage of $12.50 per hour with benefits including health
insurance, which is a major concern for people with disabilities.
Another unique feature is the train-the-trainer model for management
that will build capacity at Lowe's to provide a long-term diversity
program within their company. Lowe's has a commitment to this program
with the hopes that these interns will land long-term careers within
Robbie Magill--A Lowe's Success Story
Robbie Magill is a 34-year-old man with Down syndrome who receives
services through the Wyoming Adult Disabilities Waiver program. His
mother, Diane Magill, reports that when Robbie graduated from high
school even she was unable to see how he could contribute in the
workplace. Both Diane and her daughter, Brenda Oswald, have been
disability advocates in the State of Wyoming for years. Despite their
knowledge and experience in the field, they were unsatisfied with the
traditional routes to employment for Robbie. In 2001, they embarked on
beginning an entrepreneurial business with Robbie through a grant from
the National Down Syndrome Society to start his own video business.
Robbie has an amazing ability to work with electronic equipment and
is forever assisting others with their TVs, computers and the like.
Brenda and Diane hired a trainer for Robbie to assist him in learning
the video production business. In a short time he was filming, editing
and producing videos for various organizations in Wyoming.
Unfortunately, the economy slowed down and they realized that Robbie's
business would have to call it quits.
Five years later, after closing his business and trying a couple of
different professions, Robbie applied for a position with the newly
formed Lowe's project through the Business Leadership Network last fall
and was hired as an intern at $12.50 per hour. Robbie began his work on
December 1, 2010, and started working in the Appliances Department. He
then found an opening in a different department at Lowe's, where he
trained at Induction (Bulk) delivery. On March 1 Robbie will have
finished his probationary period and will become a permanent Lowe's
In his short time at Lowe's, he has gone from a 40 percent
production rate to 63 percent in just 3 short months. He has learned
complex tasks like recording off-standard time. His accuracy is
excellent as well. One issue has been how slowly he walks to his
station. The Lowe's Distribution Center is a huge facility, so Robbie
and his trainer have been working on transportation issues within the
Robbie is a charming man and was quickly adopted into the Lowe's
family. He has plenty of friends on the floor and he has helped to make
a positive difference in the workplace culture at Lowe's. The company
is quickly discovering the benefits of including people with
disabilities in their diversity initiative.
Robbie can't believe how motivated he is to come to work each day
and how different his attitude is. The fact that he is engaged in real
work, for a real wage and in a place where he feels accepted is
spilling over into other areas of his life. Robbie recently became
engaged and is looking forward to starting his own family. He and his
fiance are saving up for a honeymoon in Hawaii. It is interesting that
he has the same dreams and aspirations that his non-disabled co-workers
Since then, Robbie has told his mother that if she doesn't like her
job she could always come and join the Lowe's family. That's what we
call success in Wyoming.
Progress is possible. It just takes a coordinated effort across
agencies and the private sector, utilizing people who can assist others
in navigating the system.
healthy families succeed/job assist
Another effort that is showing very promising results is a project
that uses data to identify and help individuals who face employment
issues and are using multiple public service programs. Until the
formation of a public-private partnership in our State in 2003, this
group of individuals was very difficult to find and hard to serve
because they were often customers of several different agencies--
agencies that weren't aware that they were dealing with the same
clients. It was an inefficient use of public dollars and not adequately
helping these individuals with their needs and moving them off public
The project, known as Healthy Families Succeed, was led by the
Governor's Office, seven State agencies and HCMS Group Inc., a health
information company. Healthy Families Succeed began with the creation
of an integrated database called the Wyoming Health Information Network
(WHIN). The directors of the seven agencies (including myself )
contribute de-identified data to the database, guide the analytics
produced, and oversee implementation of the program. Healthy Families
Succeed was designed in response to the data finding that 3 percent of
the individuals were using 42 percent of State and Federal assistance
resources. It was clear that a concentrated effort to help this
particular group could make a significant difference both in improving
their quality of life and reducing use of public resources.
It was further determined there were four critical needs within our
system that hindered this effort, including the need for:
Better coordination of State and Federal services to fit
family specific needs;
Access to job training and education;
Better coordination of primary medical/mental health care,
Affordable and accessible health insurance for working
The goal was to help these families create personal plans to move
toward self-sufficiency, addressing the issues tailored to the family
Healthy Families Succeed was built with a phased approach, as we
learned the important factors in the lives of Wyoming residents who are
receiving assistance. The first phase, known as HealthAssist, focused
on the health of the individuals. The second phase, known as JobAssist,
focused on developing job skills while coordinating housing,
transportation, education and other support services. The third phase
(named Wyoming Healthy Frontiers) began late last year with the
creation of a State-legislated pilot project providing health insurance
coverage to the uninsured.
Once potential participants were identified through WHIN (those who
were using two or more State services), 298 families in two counties
were asked if they wanted to volunteer for a pilot program in which
they would receive free assistance from job coordinators, advanced
practice nurse and pharmacist clinicians who would provide intensive
counseling to them and their families. As it turned out, 20 percent
were also using Vocational Rehabilitation services--so there was a
strong component involving individuals with disabilities.
Initial results from Healthy Families Succeed are encouraging. The
pilot group of families, after 24 months, had improved stability,
health and self-sufficiency, and the costs to the public decreased by
$1,943 per person. Additionally, 80 percent of the volunteer families
re-enrolled in the program. More than 50 clients are now enrolled in
advanced education and job certificated programs.
Here are some other findings:
The rate of employment increased from 33 percent at
enrollment to 55 percent after 1 year.
The rate of education completion increased from 24 percent
to 44 percent.
The rate of those who were either employed or undertaking
education went from 43 percent at enrollment to 73 percent 1 year after
Self-reported self-sufficiency increased by 38.5 percent.
Household earnings increased by 26.6 percent and take-home
earnings increased by 52.5 percent.
Healthy Families Succeed won an Innovations in Government award in
2009 from the Council of State Governments.
The next steps currently under way are to expand Healthy Families
Succeed statewide and implement the Wyoming Healthy Frontiers pilot
In conclusion, we can point to some programs, projects and
initiatives that are working. These include:
1. Collaboration of Effort--which may be easier in Wyoming because
of our small population;
2. Leveraging our Resources--Business Leadership Network, public-
private partnerships, State-funded training programs (Lowe's); and
3. Benefit Assessment--Social Security Disability.
Future efforts by our agency will include:
1. Involvement on the State Employment Team's work with the
Alliance for Full Participation;
2. Explore information on the Disability Employment Initiative
through the U.S. Department of Labor to improve access for individuals
receiving Social Security at our one-stop centers;
3. Creating additional partnerships with businesses, the Wyoming
Business Leadership Network and Vocational Rehabilitation using State
4. Continue development of youth School-to-Work transition; and
5. Continued awareness education, including a focus on people with
disabilities at our annual Governor's Summit on Workforce Solutions.
We hope our success stories provide a framework for building on a
national discussion of ways we can help those Americans who are facing
more than ordinary challenges in a most extraordinary economy.
The Chairman. Thank you very much, Ms. Evans, and I'll turn
to Randy Lewis.
Mr. Lewis, we've never met, but yesterday, in preparing for
this hearing, one of my staff handed me a CD, a compact disc,
from Walgreens. So last night, when I was finished, about 6
o'clock, I put that in my computer and I watched the NBC
Nightly News, clicked on that, and I hadn't seen that, and I
clicked on the ABC News and watched that.
Then I clicked on something called your speech to WERC. I
don't know who WERC is, but I have to tell you, that 10- or 12-
minute speech blew me away.
If any of you have not seen it, you ought to take a look at
it. As I said, I don't know Mr. Lewis. I've never met him
before, but I have to tell you, that 10 or 12 minutes was just
mind boggling. What you have done with Walgreens and your
approach and what you've shown as possible is nothing short of
astounding. I just want to thank you for your great leadership.
I'd say to any of you, if you haven't seen that segment, I
commend it to you highly. Isn't it about 10 minutes?
Mr. Lewis. It may be a little longer, but thank you.
The Chairman. Well, I don't know. Whatever it was, I was so
engrossed, I didn't watch the time, I was so engrossed by it.
But welcome and please proceed and tell us about what you've
done with Walgreens.
STATEMENT OF J. RANDOLPH LEWIS, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF SUPPLY
CHAIN AND LOGISTICS, WALGREEN CO., DEERFIELD, IL
Mr. Lewis. As you said, my name is Randy Lewis. I'm senior
vice president with Walgreens. My responsibilities include our
logistics network and 20 distribution centers which service our
7,500 stores across the country.
In 2003, we began planning a new type of distribution
center with two objectives. We wanted it to be world class in
terms of automation and efficiency and we wanted to have an
inclusive workforce one-third of which would be composed of
people with disabilities, and we wanted a sustainable model for
other employers; that is, people with disabilities and without
disabilities working side-by-side performing the same jobs,
earning the same pay, held to the same standards.
The first of these centers opened 4 years ago in Anderson,
SC, where almost 40 percent of our team members have a
disability. The second of these opened in Connecticut 2 years
ago. Almost 50 percent have a disability. These are our most
efficient centers in the history of our company, and they're
being driven by team members who prove every day that an
inclusive workforce is safe, dependable and high performing.
And we've rolled this out, extended this nationwide to all
20 of our distribution centers where we now employ over 850
people with disabilities, almost 10 percent of our workforce,
and we recently doubled that goal to 20 percent.
And we've extended this into our stores. Last year, in
Dallas-Fort Worth, we started a pilot with our partners to find
and train people with disabilities to fill 10 percent of our
new store-opening positions, and we hope to begin to roll this
out next year.
Now, no doubt this has changed people's lives, people like
Thomas, who can have multiple seizures a day, who came to me in
Connecticut and said he'd been looking for a job for 17 years
without luck, or Darryl, a 50-something man with mental
retardation who took his first paycheck home and came back the
next day and asked a supervisor why his mom had cried when he
showed her the check, or Angie, our terrific HR manager in
Anderson who has cerebral palsy, who made straight A's as an
undergraduate and, in graduate school, had over 30 interviews,
but not a single job offer, or Don, our customer-service
representative in Connecticut who is deaf, who we hired not
because of the paradigms we knew she would break, but because
she was the best person for the job. And on and on and on, and
we are fortunate to have them.
We have been astounded by the impact it's had on the rest
of us. We've had to learn to treat each person as an
individual, something we talk about in business, but often fall
short of in practice. We've come to realize that disability is
just a matter of degree, that we all share some level of
brokenness, that we are more alike than we are different and
that there is no them, just us.
And in discovering the completeness in others, we've
discovered it in ourselves. We've learned that the satisfaction
of our own success does not compare to the job of making others
successful. This has made us better stewards of our work. More
importantly, it's made us better parents, better spouses,
better citizens. It's made us better people.
And we found this to be a movement of attraction, not
coercion. When we met with our Dallas-Fort Worth store managers
and asked them who would volunteer their store to be a training
store, we hoped for 10 volunteers. Thirty-eight volunteered on
the spot. And without prompting and not to be outdone, our
Houston store managers launched their own initiative without
even being asked.
But, no doubt, we employers need help. Firstly, we need
help to overcome the fear that hiring people, hiring and
employing people with disabilities will make us less
competitive, that we'll make mistakes and be punished for it or
that this will take too much effort, and we need help in
finding and training people with disabilities for positions in
Now, for our part, we have opened our doors to other
businesses, including our competitors, so that they may
experience firsthand what an inclusive workplace can be. We
conduct tours. We host workshops and boot camps, and we share
learnings. Many have come and many have launched their own
initiatives, companies like Lowe's, Best Buy, AT&T, Clark
Shoes, GlaxoSmithKline, and we hope there are others.
So I come today to you with handwritten invitations from
our team members in Hartford, CT, to come visit and see for
yourselves that what we speak of today is not some distant
dream. It is reality. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Lewis follows:]
Prepared Statement of J. Randolph Lewis
Chairman Harkin, Ranking Member Enzi, thank you for the opportunity
to testify today on behalf of employment opportunities for people with
disabilities--including the remarkable women and men who enrich the
Walgreens workforce and contribute to our service to families and
My name is Randy Lewis, and I am senior vice president of Supply
Chain and Logistics at Walgreens. In this role, I am responsible for
the logistics network that serves our 7,600 stores in all 50 States,
the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. This includes 17
distribution centers, which employ nearly 10,000 full-time employees.
Walgreens is committed to offering and enhancing employment
opportunities for people with disabilities. This commitment goes
further than simply complying with our legal obligations under the
Americans with Disabilities Act, and I appreciate the chance to
describe our experience at Walgreens. As I will discuss, we've learned
that broadening our workforce by employing people with disabilities is
not only the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense
and has benefits that reverberate across our company and culture.
the walgreens experience
Our experience began in 2003, when we were planning for a new-
generation distribution center in Anderson, SC. Our objectives were
straightforward: First, to build a center that was more productive than
any we had ever built, with a new foundation of systems, machines and
processes. Second, we wanted to have an inclusive environment where
one-third of the workforce was made up of people with disabilities who
might not otherwise have a job. But we also wanted a sustainable
business model--an inclusive workplace where people with and without
disabilities work side-by-side, earning the same pay, doing the same
jobs and held to the same productivity and other workplace standards.
In the months preceding the opening of our Anderson distribution
center in 2007, we worked with local agencies to train and attract
people with disabilities for employment at the facility. Anderson was
the first facility of its kind to employ a significant number of people
with disabilities. Today, nearly 40 percent of the facility's workforce
has a physical or cognitive disability, exceeding our goal.
Two years later we opened an identical distribution center in
Windsor, CT, with the same design and workforce inclusion elements in
mind. Similar to Anderson, employees with disabilities have been
trained to work side-by-side with other team members--with the same
productivity goals, earning the same pay. And like Anderson, nearly 40
percent of the workforce is composed of people with disabilities.
Shortly after opening our Anderson distribution center, we quickly
learned that employing people with disabilities did not require all the
technology and automation associated with our new design, and that it
was applicable to all 17 of our distribution centers across the United
States and Puerto Rico. In late 2007, we set a goal to fill 10 percent
of the jobs at our distribution centers with people who have
disabilities--or about 1,000 in all--by 2010. At the end of 2010, we
had hired 850 employees with disclosed disabilities. We continue to
move forward aggressively, and this past summer our front-line managers
set a new goal to continue increasing the hiring of people with
disabilities at our distribution centers by seeking to double our
percentage over the coming years.
I say, without equivocation, that our expectations for hiring
people with disabilities have been exceeded. We're now broadening our
job opportunities for people with disabilities beyond our distribution
centers. Last year we launched a pilot program in the Dallas/Ft. Worth
area to hire people with disabilities for a significant number of
service clerk openings at stores in the area. What led to this new
pilot was a partnership between the Texas State vocational
rehabilitation agency and our distribution center near Dallas that
resulted in a successful spin-off training program for our stores in
the area. Stores volunteer to work with local agencies in training
candidates for store positions with the objective of employing them in
one of our community stores. This pilot has proven to be successful and
we will be rolling this out across the country in 2012.
Our experience illustrates the benefits of working in partnership
with local organizations that serve people with disabilities. In fact,
we have found that the variety of partnerships we have with State,
county and non-profit agencies are crucial to our efforts to employ
people with disabilities--they provide the tools and expertise to help
those individuals succeed. Perhaps the success of our employees with
disabilities will encourage service agencies and their supporters to
focus on competitive employment opportunities and success.
We hope our efforts can open doors for people with disabilities in
other businesses. So far, we have partnered with other companies such
as Sears, Best Buy and Lowe's, which have since launched their own
initiatives. We have thrown our doors open to other businesses that
have interest in employing people with disabilities--we are happy to
share what we've learned and our experiences. We have conducted tours
and hosted ``boot camps'' where company managers can gain actual hands-
on experience in an inclusive work environment. And this includes our
competitors. The success of our employees with disabilities is too
important not to share with other companies and interested parties.
what we have learned
To help other businesses benefit from our experience, and perhaps
help efforts by policymakers to encourage employment of people with
disabilities, let me walk through the most important lessons Walgreens
has learned--and assumptions and biases we have shattered--as we
pursued our commitment.
First, the biggest challenge was making the decision. We knew there
would be obstacles and mistakes along the way. Will this work? Will we
find qualified people? Can we train them to be productive and succeed
in our work environment? What about the impact on other employees? Will
it affect costs and productivity overall? Fear of the unknown and the
risk of failure can be the toughest barriers in business, especially
when people's lives and livelihoods are involved. Nobody wants to be
blamed for good intentions with faulty outcomes. We knew that if we had
to answer every ``what if '' before proceeding, we would never get
started. So we decided to learn and adjust as we moved forward. In our
experience, if businesses can garner the courage to cross the line and
hire people with disabilities, then they will discover the same
benefits we have.
Second, good partners are key. We found great partners in the
community who could help us find and train potential employees. In
Anderson, we worked with the Anderson County Special Needs and
Disability Board who opened up and staffed a training center a year
ahead of our opening to ensure that we had a pool of qualified
candidates. In Connecticut, we worked with the State vocational
rehabilitation agency, which coordinated across various providers to
bring forth candidates and train them in our training center within the
distribution center. In working across the United States, we learned
that all potential partners are not the same in terms of resources,
focus, the access to pool of candidates, energy and approach. The
availability and our assessment of partners' abilities, resources and
commitment weighed heavily in our site selection.
Third, we didn't have to create a lot of special accommodations to
employ people with disabilities. We have been just as successful in
employing people with disabilities at distribution centers without the
most advanced technology like Anderson. It turned out that most of the
steps we took to make work easier and more productive for people with
disabilities made work easier and more productive for all employees. We
have found that most of the special accommodations for people with
disabilities cost less than $25 and is money spent wisely to result in
a successful employee. For instance, one team member with obsessive-
compulsive disorder was failing to make the productivity standard
because he was fixated on how he was opening the box rather than on the
number of boxes he was completing. Providing a simple card with the
number of squares representing the number of boxes that he should
complete each hour helped shift his focus, resulting in his success.
Fourth, we found that the ``build-it-and-they-will-come'' approach
is not good enough. In other words, having an inclusive work
environment, an accommodating workplace, and a welcoming attitude may
be insufficient to attract people with disabilities to your workforce.
Businesses may not have access to these potential employees because
they're unaware of the service agencies or partnership opportunities.
Or local agencies may not know about your commitment, they may not make
employment a priority, or they do not have the resources to help their
clients join the workforce and succeed there. Some people with
disabilities who self-advocate may give up trying to find a job after
facing repeated disappointment. We had to work harder than we expected
to find applicants and work with partners to get them the necessary
preparation and job training.
Fifth, we discovered we had our own invisible walls, including how
we defined jobs, and how we interpreted laws and regulations. For
example, would we risk violating workplace safety rules if we have a
forklift driver who is hearing impaired? Would we risk violating equal
opportunity protections if we advertise openly that we were seeking
people with disabilities (without equal mention of other groups)?
Sometimes the rules designed to protect people can seem like barriers
to helping people.
Sixth, we underestimated the abilities of people with disabilities.
We were told, and part of us believed as most people do, that people
with disabilities could not work overtime . . . that certain people
could not do certain jobs . . . that ``they'' could not adapt to new
jobs and situations . . . and ``they'' could not perform time-
sensitive, fast-paced, high-quality work.
We found these generalizations to be false. Our employees with
disabilities showed that they can be successful in highly competitive
environments and triumph over these biases every day. These are
terrific employees and they meet and exceed the same performance
requirements for all employees.
Seventh, for us and for those businesses we have partnered with,
this is a movement of attraction not coercion. That is, we have had no
problem in finding employees who want to be part of this effort. During
our planning phase, as it became known throughout the company I
received countless calls from employees in other areas offering their
help. I can think of no better illustration than Monica Hall, who I met
during my first visit to our Connecticut distribution center. She told
me that she had been an assistant manager in one of our stores in
Wisconsin when she heard of our plans to open in Connecticut. She
uprooted and moved her entire family to Connecticut to be part of it.
When we asked our Dallas/Ft. Worth store managers for volunteers to
serve as advocates and training stores, we hoped for 10 but got 38
volunteers on the spot.
Finally, it has changed us for the better. In our commitment to
employing people with disabilities, great performance was something we
hoped for. We have gotten it. We have been rewarded with a safe,
dependable and productive workforce.
Along the way, we discovered another, more intangible but powerful
benefit. That is the impact our commitment to employing people with
disabilities has had on our work environment and on each one of us.
As you walk through these buildings, there is a sense of teamwork,
common purpose and mutual respect unlike we had ever experienced. We
set out to change the workplace but instead found that we were the ones
who were changed.
We learned that working with people with disabilities requires that
we view each person as an individual whose gifts may not be readily
apparent. Treating each person as an individual is something we in
business talk about, but fall short in actual practice. We have found
that in making people with disabilities successful, it requires us to
be so. As a result, we become better managers and leaders and we all
More importantly, no matter how different we seem, we are more
alike than we are different. In going through the effort to unleash
each person's gifts, we have discovered the completeness in all of us.
There is no ``them'' and ``us.'' For those directly involved, it is as
if we have been awakened from our slumber of self. The satisfaction of
our own success does not compare to the satisfaction of making those
around us successful. This has made us better stewards of our work. And
more importantly, better parents, better spouses, better citizens and
barriers to address
The committee has asked me to describe some of the barriers to
employing people with disabilities. I'm not a policymaker, but in our
experience, three areas may be worth examining:
Regulations that are designed to help or protect people
may hinder the hiring of people with disabilities, perhaps some
accommodations could be made to allow companies to pursue these hires
without risking sanction.
People with disabilities who want jobs, and companies
committed to hiring them, would benefit if additional resources were
made available to help potential employees succeed in the workforce.
Increased flexibility, access and funding for job coaches for long-term
support for the organizations with whom we partner, or other mechanisms
to use our own employees for job coaches for individuals, would be
helpful in breaking down barriers.
If the ``fear factor'' is deterring companies from
expanding their hiring of people with disabilities, they might benefit
from a national summit to share knowledge and information, practices
that work, and problem-solving among companies, service providers,
local, State and Federal agencies, non-profit and advocacy
organizations, and researchers and academics. Walgreens would be happy
to help and participate.
In fact, this morning I would like to present the committee with an
invitation signed by our employees at our Anderson, SC, and Windsor,
CT, distribution centers to come and visit them, see their work in
action, and ask any questions you'd like. They'll tell their story much
better than I can.
For many of our employees with disabilities, Walgreens is their
first full-time job. We've seen first-hand the improvements in their
lives as they earn and receive recognition for a job well-done and
build relationships with other team members. The stories are too
numerous to mention them all here, but a few stand out for me:
The man who has multiple seizures daily who came up to me
and said that he had been unsuccessfully looking for a full-time job
for 17 years until he was given a chance at our Connecticut site;
The man in his 50s with cognitive disability who had never
held a job, who showed his aging mother his first paycheck, and the
next day asked his supervisor why she had cried;
Our gifted HR manager who made straight A's in both
undergraduate and graduate school, mailed out 400 resumes, got 30
interviews but not a single job offer;
The hearing-impaired customer service representative who
we hired not because of the paradigms we knew she would break, but
because she was the best candidate.
I do not minimize the extraordinary challenges facing people with
disabilities in joining the workforce. They may not have access to
transportation, they may have difficulty with the application process,
they may not interview well, they may not learn in the way we teach or
along the same timeline as we are accustomed, and so on.
But the toughest challenge of all is when people with disabilities
are seen as ``them'' and not as ``us.'' A job can change that. A job is
more than a paycheck; it is a source of dignity. The workplace can be a
productive and fulfilling place--a place where people with disabilities
transform their lives from the margins to the mainstream, and can be
seen as the valuable and complete people they are.
Walgreens is fortunate to have made the commitment to invest in
employing people with disabilities, people who make such an enormous
contribution to our company, customers and community, and who succeed
in pursuing their dreams and careers. And for those who have been
directly involved, it has provided more meaning and satisfaction than
we ever would have dreamed.
Thank you for the opportunity to tell our story.
The Chairman. Thank you very much, Mr. Lewis. Again, I said
I watched that presentation and what you've done there is just
nothing short of miraculous.
Do we have a vote going on now? We just have one vote. Why
don't we take a break right here. Mr. Egan, when we come back,
we'll start with you. So we'll just run over and come back.
Shouldn't take us more than 10 minutes or 12 minutes, something
like that. So we'll just recess for about 10 minutes, be right
back. Thank you.
The Chairman. Sorry to break up all these animated
conversations that are going on around here, but the committee
will resume its sitting.
And I just recognize Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers
who is here from Washington State. Representative, if you would
like to come up and join us, just come up and join us here.
Just sit anywhere you'd like Representative McMorris
Rodgers: I've never done this before. Oh, come on. I know you
are a great advocate, a great advocate, and we've been together
on things in the past. I'm turning to Mr. Egan now, but do I
understand that Mr. Egan's brother worked for you or something?
Mr. Rodgers. That's true.
The Chairman. Ah, very good.
Well, Mr. Egan, welcome to the committee. I have read your
testimony. It's great testimony. And all the things you've
done, again, you're a role model. No doubt about that. So
please, if you could sum it up and please proceed, Mr. Egan.
STATEMENT OF DAVID EGAN, BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON EMPLOYEE, SPECIAL
OLYMPICS ATHLETE AND GLOBAL MESSENGER, FORMER BOARD MEMBER OF
SPECIAL OLYMPICS VIRGINIA (SOVA), BOARD MEMBER OF THE DOWN
SYNDROME ASSOCIATION OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA (DSANV), BOARD MEMBER
OF THE DOWN SYNDROME AFFILIATES IN ACTION (DSAIA), McLEAN, VA
Mr. Egan. Thank you.
Good morning, Senator Harkin and members of the committee.
Thank you for inviting me to testify at this important hearing.
My name is David Egan and I want to tell you about my
career and what it means to me. I have been an employee of Booz
Allen Hamilton for 15 years.
Employment of people with intellectual disabilities is a
small business decision and a social responsibility. This is a
familiar topic for Senator Harkin, who, many years ago,
employed Dan Piper, an individual with Down syndrome to work at
his district office in Iowa.
Chairman Harkin is a pioneer in the employment of people
with intellectual disabilities, and I was honored to be the
first one to receive the Dan Piper Award.
The Chairman. Very good. Congratulations.
Mr. Egan. Thank you.
I'm going to talk about my job, how I got started, how it
works and how people with disabilities can succeed on the job.
My goal is to discuss how to promote the competitive, inclusive
employment in our communities.
I want to be one of us and not one among us. What does that
mean? That means I'm accepted in a group. It means that people
respect me. They have expectations and they believe in me. It
means that people acknowledge that I have skills and that I can
contribute to the goals of a business.
Let me tell you how it all started for me and why I'm able
to succeed. It did not all happen suddenly. It took many years
to prepare. All through my journey, there are very special
people--my family--one of them, my mom, is behind me--my
neighbors, friends, teachers, coaches and mentors who made a
difference in my life. It takes a team, and they all helped me
Inclusion starts at home. In my family, I was taught that
work is part of life.
It was hard for me to accept the fact that I have Down
syndrome, but it became easier when I discovered that I was not
alone. I know that I have a disability, just like many others
in this world, but my disability does not get in the way when I
train and compete in Special Olympics sports. It is not an
obstacle when I learn and perform. It is not a barrier when I
take the bus to go to work, when I earn my paycheck every 2
weeks. My disability is not an obstacle, and I can think of all
the things that I can do.
Transition from school to work started for me with an
internship as a clerk in the distribution center during the
summer of my junior year in high school. The internship did not
include transportation. My family and I discussed our options
and my mom started training me on taking the bus to work. I
have now successfully been taking the bus now for the past 15
My first supervisor was great. She took it upon herself to
teach me everything there was to know about being a clerk in
the distribution center. She believed in me. She wanted me to
fit in, and after the summer internship, she asked me if I
wanted to stay and become a staff employee.
She taught me how to fill out my time sheet and establish a
routine for the day. I learned to use the computer systems and
follow the instructions ensuring that clients get their
packages. I also learned to work in the supply room when I had
I am treated like all other employees. I receive benefits,
time off and an annual 360-degree assessment. Like everyone
else, I go to compulsory training and participate in all-hands
meetings and corporate events. The company cares about my
personal and professional development.
I also made many friends at work and one of them is Greg, a
senior employee in the distribution center who knows me well
and has been my role model for the past 15 years. He truly
cares about me and gives me guidance.
At Booz Allen, everyone, from the senior managers to most
junior employees, help each other succeed. I feel like I am
part of a team.
My company offers me more than a job. It is a career. The
CEO of Booz Allen Hamilton, Dr. Shrader, has stated,
``Work provides more than a paycheck. It brings
dignity and community. When businesses open job
opportunities to men and women with disabilities,
everyone benefits--the individual, the company and
society at large.''
My firm is special, not just because they employ me, but
because they help me succeed, and they also support the causes
that are important to me, like Special Olympics and the Down
Syndrome Association and The Arc. They encourage me to
volunteer and be a national advocate for people with
I enjoy my after-work activities in the community as an
advocate promoting awareness that we are capable people.
Inclusion also means that I have to give back to the
community. When I was 12 years old, I was dreaming of winning
the race in Special Olympics. I still like the competitions and
want to win many races, but, now, I dare to dream about
changing the way people think of us, changing the perceptions,
opening doors for people to shine and overcome their
disabilities, not only in sports, but in the workplace and at
all levels of our society.
Mrs. Shriver, the founder of Special Olympics, believed in
human dignity and inclusion. In her address at the 1987 World
Games in Indiana, she said to the athletes,
``You are the stars and the world is watching you. By
your presence, you send a message to every village,
every city and every Nation. You send a message of hope
and a message of victory. The right to play on any
playing field, you have earned it. The right to study
in any school, you have earned it. The right to hold a
job, you have earned it. The right to be anyone's
neighbor, you have earned it.''
She has inspired people around the globe to become
believers and follow in her footsteps.
Our oath in Special Olympics goes like this: Let me win.
And if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt. And each
and every one repeat with me: Let me win.
All. Let me win.
Mr. Egan. And if I cannot win----
All. And if I cannot win----
Mr. Egan [continuing]. Let me be brave in the attempt.
All. [continuing]. Let me be brave in the attempt.
We need to change the world together, and we are. It is my
role to demonstrate abilities, and it is our role, as a team,
in this room, to make this happen.
Now, I want to ask all of you do you want to dare to dream
and imagine the possibilities? Dream with me of a world where
people are respected and encouraged to succeed, a world where
people with intellectual disabilities are fully accepted and
have great friendships.
In summary, our goal is to make sure that all people with
intellectual disabilities can launch successful careers. To
achieve that goal, we need strong family and community
supports, good education and social skills, internships during
high school and seamless transition from school to work showing
that we can achieve, because people have high expectations and
value our contributions. We need mentors in the workplace,
supervisors who are willing to take a risk and invest some time
to teach us new skills to help us learn.
This is what it means to have an inclusive workforce. This
is how we fulfill our social responsibility, and it makes a
good investment. And our Nation, and the world, will be a
better place for all of us--and you will not regret it--a place
where people with intellectual disabilities do not have to hide
and are fully accepted.
Thank you. Thank you all.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Egan follows:]
Prepared Statement of David Egan
(1) Good morning Senator Harkin and members of the committee. Thank
you for inviting me to testify at this important hearing. My name is
David Egan and I want to tell you about my career and what it means to
me. I have been an employee of Booz Allen Hamilton for 15 years and I
believe that improving the employment opportunities for people with
intellectual disabilities is a smart business decision and a social
(2) Employment of people with intellectual disabilities is a
familiar topic for Senator Harkin who many years ago employed Dan
Piper, an individual with Down syndrome to work at his district office
in Iowa. Chairman Harkin is a pioneer in the employment of people with
intellectual disabilities and I was honored to be the first recipient
of the Dan Piper Award. I met the Piper family then and feel a special
bond with Dan and the chairman as his mom told me that we had a lot in
(3) I am here to tell you my story but I am also here to be the
voice of many who are seeking to be valued members of our society. I am
going to talk about my job; how I got started; how it works; and how
people with disabilities can succeed on the job. My goal is to discuss
how to promote competitive, inclusive employment in our communities.
(4) I want to be ``One of us and not one among us.'' What does that
mean? That means that I am accepted in a group. It means that people
respect me. They don't ignore me. They ask for my opinion. They have
expectations. They believe in me. It means that people acknowledge that
I have skills, I am valued and that I contribute to the goals of a
(5) People with intellectual disabilities have dreams; we want to
be included; we want to be a part of the community. We want employers
to hire us and we want to be useful members of our society; because, we
want to show OUR ABILITIES and to contribute to the goals of the
businesses we work for.
(6) Let me tell you how it all started for me and why I am able to
succeed. It did not all happen suddenly. It took many years to prepare.
All through my journey, there were very special people: my family,
neighbors, friends, teachers, coaches and mentors who made a difference
in my life; It takes a TEAM. They all helped me overcome obstacles.
(7) Inclusion starts at home. In my family, I was taught that work
is part of life. Early on, I helped with family chores and I was not
excused because of my disability. On the contrary, I engaged in all of
the activities: the fun ones and not so fun.
(8) It was hard for me to accept the fact that I have Down
syndrome, but it became easier when I discovered that I was not alone.
I know that I have a disability just like many others in this world (9)
but my disability does not get in the way when I train and compete in
Special Olympics sports. It is not an obstacle when I learn and
perform; (10) it is not a barrier when I take the bus to go to work;
when I earn my paycheck every 2 weeks. My disability is not an
obstacle; I think of all the things that I CAN DO.
(11) Transition from school to work started for me in high school
with an internship at the WildLife Federation and then at the Davis
Center vocational training. However, the best internship was with Booz
Allen and Hamilton.
(12) I started as a clerk in the Distribution Center during the
summer of my junior year. There was a program called the ``BRIDGES
program'' sponsored by the Marriott Foundation to encourage employers
to have interns with intellectual disabilities to try working and
exploring job opportunities. That was a great experience.
(13) In June 1996, the high school called my mom to ask if I was
willing to intern at BAH during that summer. However, there was one
condition: I had to be able to get to work on my own. The internship
did not include transportation. My family and I discussed our options
and my mom started training me on taking the bus to work. She went with
me a few times showing me how people get on and off and that I
understood some basic security in crossing the roads and making sure I
knew where to take the bus and where to get off. It took a week and
then I was completely on my own throughout the summer. I have taken the
bus now for the past 15 years.
(14) My first supervisor, Felicia was great. She took it upon
herself to teach me everything there was to know about being a clerk in
the Distribution Center. She believed in me. She wanted me to fit in
and after the summer internship, she asked me if I wanted to stay and
become a staff employee.
(15) The Fairfax County public school sent a job coach to help out,
but that did not work out too well. Felicia did not want to have a
middle person to show me the ropes. She taught me how to fill out my
timesheet and establish a routine for the day.
(16) Later in my career, I had another supervisor, Showanda who
preferred to have a job coach from Service Source to teach me new
skills. I learned to use the computer systems (VIPER) and follow the
instructions of a manifest, ensuring that clients get their packages. I
also learned to work in the supply room when I had down time.
(17) I am treated like other employees at BAH. I receive benefits,
time off, and an annual 360 degrees assessment like everyone else. I go
to compulsory training and participate in All Hands meetings, and
corporate events. The company cares about my personal and professional
(18) I also made many friends at BAH. And one of them is Greg, a
senior employee in the Distribution Center who knows me well and has
been my role model for the past 15 years. He truly cares about me and
gives me guidance. At BAH, everyone from the senior managers to the
most junior employees help each other succeed. I feel that I am part of
the team. BAH offers me more than a job, it is a career. (18)
(19) The CEO, Dr. Shrader, has stated:
``Work provides more than a paycheck. It brings dignity and
community. When businesses open job opportunities to men and
women with disabilities, everyone benefits--the individual, the
company and society at large.''
(20) My firm is special, not just because they employ me but
because they help me succeed. They support the causes that are
important to me, SO, DSANV, ARC and the VA Alliance. They encourage me
to volunteer and be an advocate for people with intellectual
(21) I enjoy my after work activities in the community as an
advocate promoting awareness that we are capable people. As a Board
Member of Special Olympics Virginia, I put forward a motion requesting
that SOVA hires a person with intellectual disability on their staff.
It is economically hard but the right thing to do and I am proud to say
that SOVA now hired a person with disability on their staff. Inclusion
also means that I have to give back to the community.
(22) When I was 12, I was dreaming of winning the race in Special
Olympics. (I still like the competition and want to win many races.)
But now, I dare to dream about changing the way people think of us,
changing the perceptions, opening doors for people with disabilities to
shine and overcome the disabilities not only on the court but in the
workplace and at all levels of our society.
(23) Now I want to ask all of you. Do you want to Dare to dream and
Imagine the PossABILITIES? Dream with me of a world where people are
respected and encouraged to succeed: a world where people with
intellectual disabilities are fully accepted and have great friends. We
need to change the world and we are. It is my role to demonstrate
abilities and it is OUR ROLE as a team to make it happen.
(24) Adults with intellectual disabilities can be successful. We
have a message to share, a message of hope, a message of determination
to succeed and reach full potential. Slow learning and unique problems
that we have are not barriers to success.
(25) They may be obstacles but they can be overcome with open
hearts and minds. We are able to succeed if given the right motivation
and placed in an accepting environment that helps us thrive.
(26) Employing people with intellectual disabilities is a smart
business decision and a social responsibility.
(27) In summary, our goal is to make sure that all people with
intellectual disabilities can launch successful careers. To achieve
that goal, we need strong family and community support, good education
and social skills, internships during high school and a seamless
transition from school to work showing that WE CAN achieve because
people have high expectations and value our contributions. We need
mentors in the workplace, supervisors who are willing to take a risk
and invest some time to teach us new skills and help us learn. This is
what it means to have an inclusive workforce. This is how we fulfill
our social responsibility and make a good investment. Our Nation and
the world will be a better place for all of us: a place where people
with disabilities do not have to hide and are fully accepted.
First I want to thank Chairman Harkin and the members of the
committee for dedicating a full hearing on a topic that is dear to me:
Improving Employment Opportunities for People with Intellectual
This is also a familiar topic for Senator Harkin who many years ago
employed Dan Piper, an individual with Down syndrome to work at his
district office in Iowa. Chairman Harkin is a pioneer in the employment
of people with intellectual disabilities and I was honored to be the
first recipient of the Dan Piper Award. I met the Piper family then,
and have felt a special bond to Dan and the Chairman ever since. I
believe that we all share a lot in common with our outlooks and values.
I am here to tell you my story, but I am also here to be the voice
of many who are seeking to be valued members of our society. I will
tell you how it all started and why I am able to succeed. I will also
share some thoughts on the challenges that affect people with
intellectual disabilities; and furthermore, some strategies and
recommendations to overcome those challenges.
My journey to employment took many years of preparation. All
through the years, there were very special people: my family,
neighbors, friends, teachers, coaches and mentors who made a difference
in my life; it takes a TEAM. They all helped me overcome obstacles.
Adults with intellectual disabilities can be successful employees.
I and many others like me have demonstrated that we can contribute in
the workplace. However, there is a lot more that we can do to make it
easier for people with intellectual disabilities to showcase their
abilities. A lot more needs to be done so that people like me are not
confined in institutions and limited to working in sheltered workshops.
When people are successfully employed, they contribute to the well-
being of our society rather than becoming a burden.
Preparation for work and inclusion starts at home. In my family, I
was taught that work is part of life. Early on, I helped and I continue
to help with family chores. I was not excused because of my disability.
On the contrary, I engaged in all of the activities: the fun ones and
the not so fun. It is with family, school, and community that the ball
got rolling. I learned then that I was in charge of my attitude, and I
am in charge of my life.
When I was younger, it was hard for me to accept the fact that I
have Down syndrome, but it became easier when I discovered that I was
not alone. I know that I have a disability just like many others in
this world, but my disability does not get in the way when I train and
compete in Special Olympics sports. It is not an obstacle when I learn
and perform; it is not a barrier when I take the bus to go to work,
when I earn my paycheck every 2 weeks. My disability is not an
obstacle; I think of all the things that I CAN DO.
I started learning about work in high school with an internship at
the Wild Life Federation, and later at the Davis Center, a vocational
training program. However, the best internship was with Booz Allen
Hamilton. I started at Booz Allen Hamilton when I was a junior in High
School as a clerk in the Distribution Center. There was a program
called the ``BRIDGES program,'' sponsored by the Marriott Foundation to
encourage employers to have interns with intellectual disabilities to
try working and exploring job opportunities.
In 1996, the high school called my mom to ask if I was willing to
intern at Booz Allen Hamilton that summer. However, there was one
condition: I had to be able to get to work on my own. The internship
did not include transportation. My family and I discussed our options
and my mom started training me on taking the bus to work. She went with
me a few times showing me how people get on and off. She made sure I
understood some basic security in crossing the roads and that I knew
where to take the bus and where to get off. It took a week and then I
was completely on my own. I have been taking the bus now for the past
My first supervisor, Felicia, was great. She took it upon herself
to teach me everything there was to know about being a clerk in the
Distribution Center. She believed in me. She wanted me to fit in and
after the summer internship, she asked me if I wanted to stay with the
company and become a staff employee. The Fairfax County public school
system sent a job coach to help out, but that did not work out too
well. Felicia did not want to have a middle person to show me the
ropes. She taught me how to fill out my timesheet and establish a
routine for the day.
Later in my career, I had another supervisor, Showanda who
preferred to have a job coach from Service Source to teach me new
skills. I learned to use the computer systems and follow the
instructions of a manifest, ensuring that clients receive their
packages. I also learned to work in the supply room when I had
I am treated like other employees at Booz Allen Hamilton. I receive
benefits, time off, and an annual 360 degree assessment like everyone
else. I go to compulsory training, participate in all-hands meetings,
and attend corporate events. The company cares about my personal and
I have also made many friends at Booz Allen Hamilton. One of them
is Greg, a senior employee in the Distribution Center who knows me well
and has been my role model for the past 15 years. He truly cares about
me and gives me guidance. At Booz Allen Hamilton, everyone from the
senior managers to the most junior employees help each other succeed. I
feel that I am part of the team. Booz Allen Hamilton offers me more
than a job, it offers me a career.
The CEO, Dr. Shrader, has stated,
``Work provides more than a paycheck. It brings dignity and
community. When businesses open job opportunities to men and
women with disabilities, everyone benefits--the individual, the
company, and society at large.''
My firm is special, not just because they employ me but because
they help me succeed as an individual. In addition, they support causes
that are important to me. They encourage me to volunteer and be an
advocate for people with intellectual disabilities.
I enjoy my after work activities in the community: I was selected
to be the first self-advocate serving as a board member for the Down
Syndrome Association for northern Virginia (DSANV) and then last year,
I was also elected to be the first self-advocate on the Board of the
Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action (DSAIA). These associations are
important because they create awareness and provide support to parents,
families, children, and adults with Down syndrome. It is like an
extended family where we care about each other and make sure that all
members reach their full potential.
The DSANV this year has worked on the following issues:
1. Learning Program--Our work in teaching both students and parents
and educators about strategies and effective ways of helping
individuals with Down syndrome learn and grow.
2. The ABLE Act--This is critical legislation for individuals with
Down syndrome to live a full life, just like any other individual. The
bill will allow individuals with disabilities and their families the
opportunity to save money to help pay for things like education,
housing, travel, community supports, and training, without
disqualifying them from critical benefits such as Medicaid. These needs
are critical to both employment and community inclusion. This bill will
reach out and support more than just individuals with Down syndrome. It
will end discrimination in the area of tax-sheltered accounts and allow
for every family to save effectively for their children. I hope that
you Senators will look into this bill and help see it to a successful
3. Outreach into the Hispanic community--This is an important
initiative in helping the Hispanic population advocate for their rights
within the Down syndrome community.
4. Employment--We are surveying the current status of employment
and making sure individuals with Down syndrome have access to jobs and
also opportunities to find their dream jobs.
My other extended family is Special Olympics. I am an athlete, a
Global Messenger, and an advocate. I want to promote awareness and show
that people with intellectual disabilities can be capable and
productive people. Special Olympics at the local, State, national, and
international level is instrumental in building confidence in athletes.
The mission of Special Olympics is to provide opportunities for young
and old to shine in competition, building an environment for families
to celebrate the successes of their sons and daughters. That mission
has not changed in the past 40 years since Eunice Kennedy Shriver
founded the movement. She believed in people and her message is a
message of hope, human dignity and inclusion. In her address at the
1987 World Games in Indiana, she said to the athletes:
`` You are the stars, and the world is watching you.
By your presence, you send a message to every village, every
city, and every na-
You send a message of hope and a message of victory.
The right to play on any playing field, you have earned it.
The right to study in any school, you have earned it.
The right to hold a job, you have earned it.
The right to be anyone's neighbor, you have earned it.''
She has inspired people around the globe to become believers and
follow in her footsteps. Her message is a message of hope and
opportunity. Our oath is: ``Let me win, if I cannot win, let me be
brave in the attempt.''
Special Olympics programs are great promoters of inclusion, with
programs like Healthy Athletes, Young Athletes, Unified Sports, Global
Messengers, and Best Buddies. All of these programs help us, the
athletes, to set objectives and work towards achieving simple and big
As a former board member of Special Olympics Virginia, I put
forward a motion requesting that SOVA hires a person with intellectual
disability on their staff. It was economically hard, but the right
thing to do, and I am proud to say that SOVA has now hired a person
with a disability on their staff. Special Olympics means a lot to
myself, my siblings, my family, and so many others.
I started competing at age 8. While I learned to swim in my
neighborhood pool with my sisters, I only gained confidence when I
joined Special Olympics. I also learned to play on a team when I
started playing basketball and I had to pass the ball rather than run
with it. I enjoy many sports, I used to do speed skating, track and
field, but now I play soccer, basketball, and enjoy softball with my
brother on a unified team Special Olympic team. Special Olympics also
connects me to the world. I was very lucky to participate in the
international Global Congress events in the Netherlands in 2000 and in
Morocco in 2010.
I learned that people in the world have more in common than we
think. When I was younger, I was dreaming of winning every race in
Special Olympics (I still like the competition and want to win many
races). But now, I dare to dream about changing the way people think of
people with intellectual disabilities, changing perceptions, opening
doors for people with disabilities to shine and overcome their
disabilities, not only on the court but in the workplace and at all
levels of our society.
Now I want to ask all of you. Do you want to dare to dream and
imagine the possABILITIES? Dream with me of a world where people are
respected and encouraged to succeed, a world where people with
intellectual disabilities are fully accepted and have great friends. We
need to change the world and we are. It is my role to demonstrate
abilities and it is OUR ROLE as a team to make it happen.
Some successful strategies that will help promoting and
implementing competitive integrated work settings include starting
early in the educational system to mainstream students and offer them
internships in high school and then during vocational training. Give
employers incentives for employing people with intellectual
disabilities. Expand public transportation or other means of
transportation, as many cannot depend on family or friends to get to
work on a regular basis.
The barriers to employing people with intellectual disabilities are
rooted in perceptions and stereotypes. Our group of adults range in
capabilities like the general population, and therefore not all of us
need to be in sheltered workshops or enclaves with full supervision.
These environments are needed but not sufficient. If families are
exposed to healthy and safe employment settings, they will be willing
to take a risk like my family did and work in the competitive
mainstream work environment.
Another barrier has to do with the concern that employers have with
the cost of accommodations. However, many adults with intellectual
disabilities do not have expensive accommodation needs, but rather need
a mentor and a supportive supervisor. We understand the routine and
adjust to it quite well.
The policy conclusion needed is to encourage employers to hire more
people with intellectual disabilities and one-size-does-not-fit-all,
but there are many jobs that fit both the needs of the employee and the
employer. I strongly believe that it is a good business decision and a
social responsibility. It is an important investment that grows.
Adults with intellectual disabilities can be successful. We have a
message to share, a message of hope, a message of determination to
succeed and reach our full potential. Slow learning and unique problems
that we have are not barriers to success. There may be challenges
ahead, but they can be overcome with open hearts and minds.
Adding us to the roster is not enough; you need to INCLUDE us in
all aspects of the business. We are determined to succeed and reach our
full potential. Our passion, persistence and patience will make us walk
the path, to overcome the obstacles in the journey, and to forge new
paths for people with intellectual disabilities.
We, the people with intellectual disabilities, have a place in
society and in the workforce; we serve, we contribute, we are reliable,
caring, consistent, and predictable. Those among us with Down syndrome
can lead normal lives with the help and support of family and
community. We are able to learn if taught with patience. We are able to
succeed if given the right motivation and placed in an accepting
environment that helps us thrive. Include us in all aspects of life, in
your plans and in your decisions, and you will not regret it. Then our
Nation and the world will be a better place for all of us: a place
where people with disabilities do not have to hide and are fully
accepted. We need help, but not pity. We hope that we are valued and
treated with dignity.
In summary, our goal is to make sure that all people with
intellectual disabilities can launch successful careers according to
their potential. To achieve that goal, we need strong family and
community support, good education, social skill development,
internships during high school, and a seamless transition from school
to work, which will show that WE CAN achieve success and make valuable
contributions. More effective public transportation would make it
easier for individuals to be self-sufficient in getting to work on a
daily basis. We also need mentors in the workplace, supervisors who are
willing to take a risk and invest some time to teach us new skills and
help us learn. This is what it means to have an inclusive workforce.
This is how we fulfill our social responsibility and make a good
investment. Our Nation and the world will be a better place for all of
us: a place where people with disabilities do not have to hide and are
fully valued and accepted.
The Chairman. Took our breath away. That was a great
testimony. Thank you very, very much. I have to say, I noticed
Mr. Lewis listening very closely to that. I hope he's not
planning a corporate raid on Booz Hamilton now.
Dr. Kiernan, welcome again. Thank you for all you've done
in the past, and your statement will be made a part of the
record. Please proceed, Dr. Kiernan.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM E. KIERNAN, Ph.D., DIRECTOR AND RESEARCH
PROFESSOR, INSTITUTE FOR COMMUNITY INCLUSION, UNIVERSITY CENTER
ON DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS
BOSTON AND CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL, BOSTON, MA
Mr. Kiernan. Thank you very much. It's quite a challenge to
follow my three colleagues on the panel here. I'm feeling
somewhat daunted about the task, but, in fact, what I want to
do is thank the committee for focusing on this issue and for
continuing the investment in expanding employment opportunities
for persons with disabilities.
As you can see, the room is full, and many people are
engaged. We all believe that this is the challenge that's ahead
of us and one that we will take on.
I'd like to refer to my report for the documentation of the
data that we presented, but highlight three points that I think
are important, one of which is expectations. We've talked a lot
about expectations, and I'm wondering whose expectations we're
When the National Longitudinal Survey surveyed students
with disabilities as to their expectation as they were
transitioning from school to work, fully 86 percent of those
students said, ``yes, I expect to work.''
In another survey, 63 percent of individuals who were
currently in sheltered employment had an expectation that they
would go to work. So the expectation exists. The delivery and
the promise is our responsibility.
Additionally, I would like to share a little bit of an
observation on some of the workforce. As we look at current
unemployment rates today, they can be somewhat daunting to us,
and, in fact, the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Boston
published a report just recently noting that 10 percent more
people were available in the labor market than there were jobs
The Federal Reserve's forecast--now, we know there are
always risks in forecasts, but their forecast is that there'll
be 15 percent more jobs than there are workers in 2018, and the
largest portion of the workforce at that point will be
individuals over the age of 55. What significance does that
In order to maintain productivity in the workforce there
are accommodations that we've naturally made for the older
worker that will be in some ways an asset to persons with
disabilities that will allow them greater access in the
workplace. Universal design will become a strategy that will
facilitate access to jobs.
And the third piece that I will share with you is that
there is tremendous variability in State systems. We have been
collecting for many years the data on employment outcomes for
persons with developmental disabilities nationally, since 1988.
Employment rates across the States range from 4.5 percent
to 65 percent. What does that tell us? It tells us that there
are some really significant islands of excellence that exist
within the States. It's up to us to capture those and to make
them go to scale, so that we can demonstrate that things can be
Let me switch and move to the area that I think my written
testimony had spent a fair amount of time on, and those were
the area of practices. And there are three areas that I'd like
to highlight, for practical considerations.
One is for those youth who are transitioning and moving
from school into adult life, and there are certainly some
effective practices that were initiated by Higher Education Act
that looked at postsecondary opportunities for students with
intellectual disabilities. While just starting, it is a program
initiative that has significant promise in demonstrating that
students with intellectual disabilities can participate in 2-
and 4-year schools. The think
college.net Web page documents 250 such programs.
Additionally, the opportunities to capitalize upon the
Edward M. Kennedy legislation that establishes national service
as an opportunity for persons with disabilities and AmeriCorps
as being a chance for people to develop some skills around
employment, receive a stipend and then also be eligible for an
educational allotment, an experience that will basically build
those soft skills that lead to success in employment.
For those individuals who are currently employed in
industries and segregated settings, it's up to us to provide
opportunities to offer training and technical assistance, so
that the providers that are offering those services can convert
their programs and facilitate movement of those individuals out
of those programs and into employment. Many of the programs are
interested in making that happen.
And the last element that I'll mention is for the worker
who's already employed, the areas of emphasis around increasing
earnings and increasing hours worked.
There are some policy considerations that Senator Enzi
noted in his introductory statement that I would like to
highlight. One is clearly the passage of the Workforce
Investment Act and the opportunities that are available in that
through the Rehab Act and transition as a focus in rehab, and
clearly the youth services under the Employment and Training
Administration has internship programs for youth.
The second area is looking at national service and the
expansion of the areas we talk about as a possibility for part
of the transition experience for youth into adult.
The third area is an increased FMAP, an expansion of the
reimbursement from the Center for Medicaid and Medicare
Services, CMS, that would allow programs to be reimbursed at a
higher rate for those individuals who are in employment.
Clearly, the indication of success in these efforts will be
that it will reduce expenditures over time by rewarding and
encouraging placement employment efforts by the State
developmental disabilities agencies.
Let me just highlight one other area that I think is really
important, Employment First. Twenty of the State developmental
disability agencies partner with the State employment
leadership network of the Institute for Community Inclusion.
The National Association of State Directors of Developmental
Disabilities Services has been working for over 5 years in
defining what Employment First is.
It's placing the emphasis on employment as the desired
outcome, of the presumption that people can work as opposed to
they cannot work, and the desired outcome is competitive,
integrated employment. That means wages paid by the employer at
or above the minimum or prevailing wage rate, allocation of
benefits, the opportunities for interaction for persons with
disabilities with coworkers who are not disabled, the chance
for advancement and employment on a full-time basis.
My goal is not terribly different than Mrs. Shriver's goal
that you quoted at the opening of this hearing. I think our
challenge is to have the labor-force participation rate for
persons with and without disabilities be the same. That rate is
currently 71.9 percent of the workforce. That should be our
goal for persons with disabilities as well. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Kiernan follows:]
Prepared Statement of William E. Kiernan, Ph.D.
Chairman Harkin, Ranking Member Enzi and distinguished members of
the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. I am
William E. Kiernan, Ph.D., Research Professor and Director of the
Institute for Community Inclusion, a University Center for Excellence
in Developmental Disabilities located jointly at the University of
Massachusetts Boston and Children's Hospital Boston.
The ICI is one of 67 such centers that make up the Network of
University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities and are
part of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD).
Our center has worked extensively in supporting the employment of
persons with disabilities and has been involved in supporting
postsecondary opportunities for youth with developmental disabilities
under the work of the Consortium to Enhance Postsecondary Education for
Individuals with Developmental Disabilities funded by the
Administration on Developmental Disabilities, expanding employment
options for persons with disabilities served by State public Vocational
Rehabilitation and Developmental Disability agencies in several States
and enhancing the capacity of the local One-Stop Career Centers
supported by the Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIBs) of the State
Departments of Labor. I am pleased and honored to have been asked to
comment on the identification of successful strategies to increase
workplace participation for persons with developmental disabilities and
to explore barriers that may limit those opportunities.
I have organized my verbal presentation around the three questions
that were sent to me by the committee. Additionally, I am submitting
written testimony including some more specific suggestions as to areas
where policy as well as practice changes could be made to support
increased workforce participation by persons with developmental
disabilities of all ages.
I would like to begin my written presentation with a brief overview
of employment status of persons with disabilities nationally and
consider some of the challenges and opportunities that can influence
the workforce participation of these individuals. Following this I will
address each of the committee's questions.
current status of employment of persons with disabilities
Over the past decade it has become more apparent that there will be
a shortage of workers to meet employer demands. Even given the current
economic downturn, with the declining birth rate as well as the aging
of the current workforce, most industries are realizing that their
growth will more likely be limited in the long term by the declining
labor supply and not the economy in general. A recent report published
by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (November 2010) notes that in the
New England region while there are 10 percent more workers than there
are positions to fill in 2010, there will be 15 percent more jobs to
fill than workers available in 2018. About one third of these jobs will
be entry level or lower skilled jobs, those that would be suitable for
young workers or workers without considerable employment experiences
such as persons with developmental disabilities. These positions can
serve as the gateway to career development for persons with
disabilities in the coming years.
The aging of the workforce will also be a factor in the employment
of persons with disabilities in the future. By the year 2018 the cohort
of workers over the age of 55 will increase to 23.9 percent of total
workforce, the largest single age group in the labor market.
Additionally, in that same time period there will be more than 50.9
million jobs either replaced or created with the vast majority, two
thirds replacement positions, creating an excess of demand over supply
for the workforce of 2018 (http://www.bls.gov/oco/
oco2003.htm#Labor%20Force). The service occupations will have a
replacement need in excess of 7.6 million in this 10-year period. While
it is difficult to predict the level of acquired disability resulting
for the normal aging process, the older workforce will mandate that
employers look to accommodations for these workers to both maintain
productivity as well as maintain a workforce in general. The
accommodations that will most likely be effective will be those that
will also have applicability to persons with intellectual and
Interesting enough the approaches to supporting the current older
worker as well as the re-engagement of the retired older worker are
more similar than dissimilar to those utilized in accessing the
untapped labor pool of workers with disabilities. Workplace
modifications and accommodations that are universally applicable to the
diverse workforce of today, older workers, workers with disabilities
and immigrant workers, offer promise for employers to have a qualified
workforce in the coming years.
However, when considering the workforce of today and the current
impact of the recession there are some considerable areas of concern
that must be addressed. Despite the somewhat more optimistic projection
of the future that were just presented, there are populations where the
labor force participation rate is and has been quite low as in the case
of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities where 8 out
of 10 are not in the labor market. Coupling the apparent declining
labor supply with the low labor force participation rate for persons
with disabilities (nationally 34.9 percent of working age adults with
any disability and 23.9 percent with a cognitive disability were
employed in 2009 compared to 71.9 percent for working age adults
without a disability as reported by the American Community Survey),
there are some clear inconsistencies in both expectation and perception
of this current and potential labor resource.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the unemployment rate
for people with disabilities, meaning those who are not working and are
actively seeking work, for December 2010 at 14 percent compared with 9
percent for people without a disability. Additionally, during the same
period only 21 percent of all adults with disabilities participated in
the labor force as compared with 69 percent of the non-disabled
population (December 2010 Current Population Survey). Correspondingly,
for those individuals with disabilities who are employed their earnings
are considerably less than the earnings for persons without
disabilities. According to the 2009 American Community Survey, on
average people with any disability earned 30 percent less from work
annually than average amount earned by people in the general population
and people with a cognitive disability earned less than half what the
general population earned from working.
In considering the impact of unemployment for all persons, the
consequence is often a life in poverty. Again as noted in the American
Community Survey (2009), only 13.4 percent of those persons without a
disability live in households below the poverty threshold while 26.5
percent of those having any type of disability live below the poverty
threshold. For persons with intellectual disabilities who are receiving
SSI that percentage rises to 42.3 percent living below the poverty
threshold. Data collected by the Institute for Community Inclusion at
the University of Massachusetts Boston in its annual data collection
report (StateData: the National Report on Employment Services and
Outcomes 2009) estimates only one in five persons with intellectual and
developmental disabilities served by the State Developmental
Disabilities agencies received integrated employment services in 2009
(N = 114,004) (Butterworth, Smith, Hall, Migliore & Winsor, Winter,
2011). Close to 80 percent were served in facility-based and non-work
settings (Butterworth et al., 2011). There has yet to be a year since
the start of this data collection effort in 1988 that more persons with
developmental disabilities have been served in competitive integrated
employment than sheltered and non-work settings. In fact, the
percentage of persons with intellectual and development disabilities in
competitive integrated employment served by State Developmental
Disability agencies has shown a decline over the past 10 years (from
24.7 percent in 2001 to 20.3 percent in 2009). In line with the
stagnant growth in the percentage of persons with developmental
disabilities served in integrated employment, those States able to
report the allocation of funds for day and employment programs noted a
reduction in the percentage of total funds allocated to integrated
employment from 2001 (16.6 percent) to 2008 (11.6 percent), a 30
There has been considerable discussion about the status of earnings
and wage payments for persons in competitive integrated employment as
well as sheltered employment. Data on earnings collected in 27 States
through the National Core Indicators project (NCI, 2008-9) report that
the average weekly earnings of those consumers served in facility-based
work settings was $29.00 per week while for those in competitive
integrated employment the average weekly earnings were nearly 4.0 times
that, or about $111.00 per week. Those individuals with developmental
disabilities served in supported individual and group placement
earnings were somewhat less at $97.00 and $69.00 respectively. It
should be noted that most work about 15 to 17 hours per week.
When considering the rates of labor force participation nationally,
the percentage reported has the effect of masking the variances that
exist across States. The ICI data collection of State Developmental
Disability agencies has consistently shown great variability from State
to State when reporting the percentage of persons served in integrated
employment, from 4.5 percent to 86 percent at an individual State
level. This variability is reflective of how States have embraced the
concepts of employment and the priority that is placed in policies,
procedures and practices within an individual State. It should also be
noted that this variability across States is not just within the State
Developmental Disability agencies but also the Vocational
Rehabilitation agencies even though the Vocational Rehabilitation
system has a strong national base legislatively and programmatically.
challenges and opportunities
Over a period of several years when the focus was on care and
protection the expectations of the public were that the goal of any
service was to support and ``hold from harm'' persons with
disabilities. With the emergence of the self-advocacy movement and the
growing emphasis upon self determination and consumer-directed
services, there is an increasing interest in hearing what persons with
disabilities are expecting for themselves. In a number of studies it is
clear that persons with disabilities are anticipating that they will
work and want to work. Data from the National Longitudinal Transition
Study (NLTS2) note that 86 percent of students with disabilities who
are of transition age definitely believe that they will work in their
adult years. When adding in those that feel they will ``probably work''
that percentage moves to 96 percent.
Similar research findings (Migliore, Grossi, Mank & Rogan, 2008)
report that for those individuals who were in sheltered workshop
settings 63 percent indicated that they would prefer to be employed
outside of the workshop. Again when adding in those who thought they
might want to work outside of the workshop that percentage moves to 74
percent. In contrast to these data, 8 out of 10 staff employed in
facility-based programs felt that such programs are needed for persons
who have difficulty or are unable to maintain employment (Inge, Wehman,
Revell, Erickson, Butterworth & Gilmore, 2009). These inconsistencies
between expectations and perceptions challenge programs to maintain a
``presumption of employability'' for all persons served and also to
have a sharper focus on competitive integrated employment as the
primary or preferred outcome. This lack of focus on employment was
noted in research conducted by the ICI when reporting how employment
staff was spending their time on the job. The predominance of their
time (more than two thirds) was spent in workshop supports, non-work
supports and travel with slightly more than 1 percent spent in job
development. This time allocation can be reflective of the lack of
emphasis on employment as the goal for those served in many sheltered
workshop settings (now frequently referred to community rehabilitation
While the message from consumers with disabilities is clear,
practices seem to be inconsistent with that message; persons with
disabilities are expecting to work, those that are exiting school as
well as those in sheltered setting, yet many of our practices and plans
do not reflect these wishes. As will be seen later, the adoption of
practices such as ``employment first'' and the expectation that
competitive integrated employment is the primary or preferred outcome
are strategies that States are beginning to embrace more aggressively
as they plan supports and provide services to and with persons with
The inconsistencies noted above have led many State Developmental
Disability agencies to consider adopting an employment first policy.
This policy is an outgrowth of the State Employment Leadership Network
(SELN) efforts with its 20 State members. For many States the adoption
of employment first comes with a change in the way that they provide or
purchase services and supports, their relationship to service providers
and their development of policies and procedures that presume that
employment is the primary or preferred outcome.
Employment first has evolved over the past 5 or more years and has
been defined as:
. . . policies, procedures and practices that embrace the
presumption of employability focusing resources and efforts on
supporting access to and maintenance of integrated employment
by persons with disabilities, including those with the most
Employment first has a set of guiding principles (see Attachment A)
that provide a broad framework for States and organizations that seek
to embrace employment. It should be noted that employment first is a
gateway to employment but that the outcome of employment first is
increased labor force participation rates for persons with disabilities
such that they are earning wages in a competitive integrated employment
setting. Competitive integrated employment, as an outcome, reflects
is compensated by the company at the minimum or
provides similar benefits to all,
occurs where the employee with a disability interacts
or has the opportunity to interact continuously with non-
provides opportunities for advancement, and
is preferably full-time.
The adoption of employment first as the guiding strategy and
competitive integrated employment as the primary or preferred outcome
at a State level will require that State agencies be clear about what
types of services they are seeking to purchase or provide for their
consumers, that the current service providers are prepared to seek and
support persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in
finding and maintaining employment and that the documentation of the
services provided is consistent with the principle and guidelines
associated with employment first. Changes in expectations, practices
and outcomes measured are essential if we are to see an increase in the
level of labor force participation for persons with intellectual and
The following section will address some of the successful
strategies for implementing competitive integrated employment, consider
some of the barriers that exist for persons with disabilities and also
some of the policies that should and could be considered to see an
increase in the labor force participation rates for persons with
Question 1. What are successful strategies for implementation of
competitive integrated work settings for persons with intellectual
Answer 1. In considering some of the successful strategies for
implementing competitive integrated work for persons with intellectual
disabilities it is useful to look at persons with disabilities who are
transitioning from school to work and adult life, those who are
currently in sheltered employment or facility-based non-work settings
and those that are employed in typical work settings but could be
considered as underemployed.
A. Transition From School to Postsecondary Options and Employment
In the past 5 years there has been a considerable increase in the
level of effort in supporting students to move from school to
employment. Research for more than three decades has shown that those
students who have an employment or work experience while in school are
more likely to be engaged in work after they leave school (Hasazi,
Gordon & Roe, 1985). Studies have documented that work experiences and
internship experiences have served to provide students with solid
experience in the area of developing the soft skills to employment as
well as developing a better understanding of their role in the
workplace upon graduation. More recently there has been a recognition
that there is a need to be more expansive in our perception of
transition and to consider that the final years of eligibility for
students with intellectual and developmental disabilities can be more
dynamic including the continuation of learning in postsecondary
settings such as 2- and 4-year institutions of higher education (Grigal
& Dwyre, 2010).
The growing recognition that students with intellectual
disabilities can learn from and effectively participate in
postsecondary settings as part of their transition process has led to
considerable interest in several States in engaging Institutions of
Higher Education in offering courses and learning experiences in these
academic settings either as part of or after the completion of their
eligibility for IDEA (Grigal, Hart, & Migliore, 2010). Over a 15-year
period the percentage of students with intellectual and developmental
disabilities in postsecondary settings has increased from 8 to 28
percent (Newman et al., 2010). In 2010, the Higher Education
Opportunity Act funded 27 model demonstration programs serving students
with intellectual disabilities in postsecondary settings in 24
different States. There are some emerging data that are indicating that
for those students with intellectual and developmental disabilities who
participated in postsecondary education there was a greater labor force
participation rate upon leaving the setting (Migliore, Butterworth &
Hart, 2009). Additionally the earnings of those students with
intellectual and developmental disabilities who participated in these
programs were 73 percent greater than those youth who did not
participate in postsecondary education (Migliore et al., 2009).
This early effort while showing some promise has also shown that
the expectation for student with intellectual and developmental
disabilities are more likely to be considered for sheltered and non-
work programs by schools in their transition years. The NLTS wave 4
data using 520 students with intellectual and developmental
disabilities reports that the most frequent employment goal was
competitive (46 percent) followed closely by supported employment (45
percent) and then sheltered employment (33 percent four times greater
than other students with disabilities) and only 25 percent considering
postsecondary education. Additionally, 73 percent of parents in a study
conducted by Griffin, McMillan and Hodapp (2010) reported a lack of
information or guidance from schools about postsecondary education for
their children. Training of secondary and transition personnel about
options for postsecondary is important (Grigal, Hart & Migliore, 2010).
There are some brighter signs that postsecondary education is
becoming more established with more than 250 Institutions of Higher
Education in 37 States reporting that they offer programs for student
with intellectual and developmental disabilities. More than half of
these are in 4-year schools with about 38 percent in 2-year
institutions and the remainder in vocational technical schools. The
Think College Web site www.thinkcollege.net, a site that reports on
activities for students with intellectual and developmental
disabilities in postsecondary settings, averages over 5,000 hits a
month and serves as a clearinghouse for postsecondary education-related
In addition to the postsecondary options in transition there is an
opportunity to reorganize the final 4 years of education for students
with intellectual and developmental disabilities capitalizing upon the
resource that exist in Education, Labor, National Service and
Vocational Rehabilitation. With the anticipated passage of WIA,
transition from school to employment and adult life will become a core
area of responsibility for the public Vocational Rehabilitation system.
The additional stimulus monies available to several State agencies
(Education, Labor and the public Vocational Rehabilitation Agency) were
focused, in part, upon the youth population and assuring that these
youth enter and remain in the workforce. These highly focused resources
are of short duration but are of sufficient magnitude that they can
significantly impact how transition from school to work and adult life
is addressed in selected communities. Though the stimulus money is of
limited duration, the issue of transition is not and the additional
resources through the Workforce Investment Act, the Rehabilitation Act,
the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America law (expanding volunteer services
and service leading to employment) and the recently published Higher
Education Act regulations (creating opportunities for students with
intellectual disabilities to complete their entitlement to education in
a postsecondary setting) can become part of an expanded strategy for
establishing a comprehensive transition service at the State level.
As was noted earlier there is clear evidence to show that students
with disabilities who have an employment experience in school are more
likely to be employed in their adult years. Additionally, with the
focus on youth in WIA and the addition of transition from school to
employment and adult life, now part of the Rehabilitation Act, there is
a significant opportunity to revise the way services and supports are
provided to youth with disabilities as they exit school. The
integration of service leading to employment (the Edward M. Kennedy
National Service law), the options for completing education entitlement
services for some youth with disabilities in a community college,
college or university setting, the use of training resource through
community colleges can all serve as a platform to revise the transition
process so that students with disabilities upon exiting school are
directed toward employment and not non-work options in their adult
years. One of the relative strengths of WIA has been the percentage of
young people with disabilities utilizing the WIA funded youth services
and better integration of such services with transition activities
would be of major benefit.
Partnership agreements including schools, the public Vocational
Rehabilitation agency, One Stops, Community Colleges, Universities and
community rehabilitation providers can lead to a more robust transition
planning process and the development of programs and services that link
postsecondary settings with community colleges and volunteer services
that may lead to employment for youth with disabilities.
B. For Those in Sheltered Settings or in Non-work Programs
The primary day and employment delivery system in most States is
the Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP). These programs are
typically not for profit entities that frequently provide a range of
services and supports to persons with disabilities. Many of these CRPs
offer employment and training services including non-work facility-
based and community-based services as well as sheltered employment and
integrated employment (see Appendix B for definition of these terms).
The ICI has for more than 20 years collected data on the employment
services and supports provided to persons with intellectual and
developmental disabilities nationally. These data show that on average
the CRPs serve somewhat over 170 (67 percent serving less than 200
individuals) persons with disabilities with most (about 80 percent)
persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (Inge et al.,
2009). About one in five persons served are in integrated employment
settings with the remainder in facility-based work and non-work as well
as community-based non-work settings (Butterworth et al., 2011). In a
current study of CRPs nationally, the ICI has identified a potential
list of 12,307 CRPs and has randomly selected 4,000 to survey. Of this
number and as a result of our initial outreach it has been determined
that about 25 percent of the original list are programs that no longer
exist or are not providing employment services. Given this, we are
anticipating that there are about 9,250 CRPs nationally. Once this
study is completed, in several months, added details of the nature of
CRPs and the services and outcomes provided will be available.
The primary purchaser of the CRP services is the State
Developmental Disability agency. In response to the interest on the
part of the State DD agencies to see an increase in the number of
persons served entering integrated employment many States are adopting
the guiding principles of employment first. Twenty State DD agencies
now belong to the State Employment Leadership Network (SELN), a joint
program of the ICI and the National Association of State Directors of
Developmental Disability Services (NASDDDS). This annual membership
organization allows the 20 member States to focus their interests and
learn from each other as to effective policies, procedures and
practices that each of the members is doing that might be able to be
adopted by a member State. The training and technical assistance
provided by ICI and NASDDDS as well as the policy efforts are focused
around increasing the labor force participation rates for persons
served by the State DD system.
As a result of the SELN activities over the past 6 years, a number
of practices have been identified that support increased employment
emphasis at the State level. Through the provision of technical
assistance to the CRPs more effective services leading to competitive
integrated employment are being encouraged. Other efforts of the SELN
address issues of State policies and contractual language that should
be adopted to encourage changes in the provision of services by CRPs.
SELN has adopted a framework for employment including: (1) mission and
goals, (2) identification of champions for employment at the State and
local levels, (3) funding mechanisms and contracts with providers
emphasizing employment as the preferred outcome, (4) training and
technical assistance, (5) collaboration and outreach to other
employment and training stakeholders, (6) flexibility in use of funds
and (7) data collection and reporting (Hall, Butterworth, Winsor,
Gilmore, Metzel, 2007). It is adherence to these seven areas that has
assisted the member State in moving toward a more concentrated focus on
employment as the primary or preferred outcome for the clients served.
Several States are now changing the outcomes of the services that
they are purchasing and expecting that the contractors (in most
instances CRPs) will be able to provide services to clients that will
lead to integrated employment and not a continuation of facility-based
work and non-work services. States are offering training and technical
assistance to these providers to change the way that they have been
offering services and assisting the programs to convert their services
to meet the contractual interests of the State DD agency. In addition
to the training and TA offered some States are exploring incentives and
differential reimbursement structures for competitive integrated
employment outcomes. What is apparent is that the clearer the message
about the outcomes the clearer the realization of the desired outcome.
C. Those in Employment but not Full-Time or Needing to Change
As the data have shown for those individuals who are in competitive
integrated employment the earnings while at or above the minimum wage
are often low in total as the number of hours worked is in the 15-hour
per week range typically. There is a growing interest in encouraging
accessing jobs that are closer to full-time and also supporting job
advancement for persons who are currently served in competitive
integrated employment. Job placement for many persons with intellectual
and developmental disabilities is not the end of a process but the
beginning of the career. There will be occasions when assistance will
be needed to advance in a job, increase hours, change jobs, adapt to
workplace changes in tasks or structures or just for a job change. The
strategy for accessing those services should not be a reapplication but
rather a continuation of services and supports without interruption or
delay. For those individuals who are eligible for Vocational
Rehabilitation services postemployment services would be available
immediately and prior to the time of crisis. For those in the DD system
similar services should be available. Such services may be able to be
funded through waivers, State resources, VR or employment and training
resources. The need for rapid response and immediate support is
As in the case of the pathway to employment being facilitated by
postsecondary opportunities this same pathway may be an avenue to job
advancement for persons with intellectual and developmental
disabilities. Postsecondary options can be self-funded, funded though
VR or even funded through the place of employment. These options should
be considered as we look at how to support the individual with a
disability in developing his or her career path.
Question 2. Barriers to Employment: What are the barriers to
employment for persons with disabilities?
Answer 2. The barriers to employment can be systemic in nature and/
or unique to the individual. As has been noted earlier there are some
clear indications that the current high unemployment rates have made
the employment of persons with disabilities more challenging. What has
also been noted is that the national demographics are all pointing to a
shortage of workers in the coming decade.
One of the systemic barriers to employment is the strategies that
have and continue to be utilized to find jobs for persons with
disabilities. While studies have documented that the family and friend
network is a very effective strategy in finding employment for persons
without disabilities, this network is not utilized as often for persons
with disabilities. Additionally, with the massive changes in technology
the advertisement of job openings is more often through the Internet
than word of mouth or print. The capacity to search electronically all
Web pages and create lists of job openings sorted by knowledge, skills
and abilities is already in use in some labor sectors. The reliance on
cold calls, personal network and print searches are no longer the
primary ways that employers utilize to identify or reach potential
employees, they are using the Internet and on-line job systems. It is
crucial that the job developmental efforts of the employment and
training systems (public and private) embrace the technology that
exists and more aggressively match individual interests and skills to
labor market demands.
There are a number of other barriers to employment that according
to Migliore et al., 2009) can be grouped into seven categories: (1)
long-term placement, (2) safety, (3) work skills, (4) social
environment, (5) transportation, (6) agency support, (7) disability
benefits and (8) systems of service. This list outlines many of the
challenges that persons with intellectual and developmental
disabilities face when considering employment. However, it should also
be noted, as was stated earlier, expectation can play a significant
role in employment. For some individuals the expectation of employment
as a realistic outcome, particularly those who are responsible to the
transition process and the employment and training activities, can
seriously impact employment outcomes. Other challenges are the limited
expertise among staff in schools and CRPs in understanding effective
practices in identifying employment options, making job matches and
supporting individuals using natural supports as much as possible.
There is a considerable training and technical assistance effort that
is needed at both the school and adult service levels.
As noted by Migliore, et al., 2008 some of the concerns about
safety and consistency in work schedules are among the top tier of
concerns for families. In certain families where both parents are
working or in those settings where the individual with intellectual and
developmental disabilities is residing in a community residence there
are concerns about working second shifts, part-time employment and job
transition that can cause providers to discourage employment. Parental
concerns about harassment, bulling and risks to independent travel can
all raise concerns and apprehensions on the part of families. Another
major concern is the loss of friends and the apprehension about meeting
new people and making new friends for persons with disabilities when
Some of the more systemic concerns include work skills and the
perception that the tasks will be too difficult. Often when there is a
problem with the skills and tasks required this is reflective of an
inadequate job match. When job accommodations and job modifications are
made seldom is the level of work skills an issue for persons with a
disability in the work setting. In some instances there may be
occasions when job tasks will change or new technology or procedures
are introduced and as a result there will be some need for training and
retraining but in many instances this can be accomplished by the
company and in others with the assistance of an employment training
A common concern involves transportation and the lack of adequate
transportation for persons with intellectual and developmental
disabilities to get to employment. A number of studies have considered
this barrier and while it is present do not feel that this was a
primary concern for many (West, Revell & Wehman, 1998). Often the issue
of transportation is the identification of local resources, either
public or private that can assist. In some instances the issue of
transportation may restrict some job areas but this appears to be less
of a challenge for those in urban and suburban areas.
Agency support reflects both a lack of flexibility in providing
necessary supports as well as limitations in the skill level of the
personnel who are to provide supports. There have been a number of
studies identifying the level of expertise of staff in the employment
support areas. As was noted earlier, for many there is not a great deal
of time spent in the job development process and many staff feel
uncomfortable in being the sole source of support for the consumer in a
work setting. This issue is tied more to the lack of skills training
expertise on the part of the staff as opposed to availability of staff
The fear of loss of benefits has been often raised by staff,
families and consumers. While there are a number of work incentives
that are available (Plans for Achieving Self Sufficiency [PASS],
Impairment Related Work Expenses [IRWE], 1619(a) and 1619(b)) not all
of these apply to all SSA beneficiaries. The inconsistency in SSDI and
SSI benefits and incentives has long served to make the decision to
consider employment complex for many. In addition to the cash and
health care benefits, concerns about loss of housing, food stamps and
other benefits must be dealt with. The attempt to utilize benefits
counselors has begun to address some of these concerns but there
remains a great deal of misunderstanding of the availability of
benefits and the impact that earnings will have on individual benefits.
Question 3. What policy conclusions should we make toward the goal
of increasing employment?
Answer 3. Policy considerations are necessary not only at the
Federal level but the State and local levels as well. The following
offer some suggestions as to policy changes that could be considered
that would enhance the labor force participation by persons with
A. At the Federal Level
With the passage of the Workforce Investment Act and
correspondingly the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, the role of
transition for students with disabilities will clearly be a focus for
VR. The emphasis on facilitating the movement of students with
disabilities into employment and away from sheltered work or non-work
programs will be reinforced by the decision more than 10 years ago by
VR to not count sheltered employed as an outcome for the rehabilitation
system. The engagement of VR in the schools and the creating of a more
effective relationship between VR and schools will be essential as VR
assumes more of the responsibility for transition. Identification of
effective collaborations between VR and education and the development
of model demonstration to replicate those practices in a select number
of States will be an effective way of scaling up the VR role in the
Both youth and adults with developmental disabilities can benefit
from the programs available through the U.S. Department of Labor,
Employment and Training Administration. The considerable investment in
youth services through summer employment and part-time work while in
school can play a central role in providing youth with intellectual and
developmental disabilities an opportunity to have a real work
experience. Such an experience can offer a chance for the student to
develop more specific work interest and a better understanding of how
he or she relates to co-workers and managers in a real work setting.
For the adult with intellectual and developmental disabilities having
access to the resources at the One Stop can offer a link to labor
market information and job openings that may not be available through
other programs. The involvement of the youth with One Stops can also be
part of the transition process from school to work. Data show that
youth with disabilities who participate in ETA youth programs perform
as well as youth without disabilities. Increasing the access to and
enrollment in these programs by youth with intellectual and
developmental disabilities can serve to expand employment options for
While the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has
its primary focus national service and volunteerism, with the passage
of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America law, the opportunities for
national services have expanded considerably. CNCS has and continues to
support increased access to national service by persons with
disabilities through the National Service Inclusion Project at the
Institute for Community Inclusion. A second project, Next STEP,
supported by CNCS, is demonstrating how national service can be a
pathway to employment for persons with disabilities. The opportunities
to learn through national service are many. The skills acquired through
national services match what research tells us are factors that
contribute to success in employment for persons with disabilities.
National service can and should be an option for those students who are
transitioning from school to employments as well.
The State Developmental Disabilities agencies have relied heavily
upon the reimbursement for services provided through the Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Through the use of waivers States
have been able to encourage the development of supported employment
services for persons served through the State DD systems. Some States
have aggressively embraced the presumption of employability and the
adoptions of policies, procedures and practices that reflect that
employment should be the focus of the services offered to all
consumers. The challenge in many States is the need to create
additional incentives for the community rehabilitation providers to
focus more attention and effort on assisting persons with intellectual
and developmental disabilities in entering and remaining in employment.
Through an enhanced reimbursement rate to State agencies reflecting an
increased rate of reimbursement for persons who are served in
integrated employment, initial data are showing that considerable
savings to the State as well as CMS can be realized over a 10-year
period for one individual served ($42,000 for the State and $18,000 for
CMS per individual over a 10-year period--see Appendix C). Incentives
provided to States through an enhanced Federal Financial Participation
rate can yield increased employment rates as well as savings to both
the State and CMS.
Continue to dedicate resources in Higher Education that will
support the accessing of postsecondary education leading to employment
by students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In 2010
the U.S. DOE funded 27 model demonstration programs and a national
technical assistance center involving 24 States as part of the
development and expansion of postsecondary education for students with
intellectual disabilities (authorized by the Amendments in the Higher
Education Opportunities Act (HEOA) of 2008). Such a nascent program
must be clearly identified, developed and not merged into a larger
program as proposed by the President's budget. Should this attempt to
increase the postsecondary opportunities for students with intellectual
and developmental disabilities be placed within a larger program the
focus of the program on students with intellectual disabilities will
most assuredly be lost.
This effort has also been supported by the Administration on
Developmental Disabilities in their support of Think College, a project
that provided mini-grants to University Centers on Excellence in
Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) to support State level strategic
planning, development and implementation of postsecondary education
options. Ongoing and cross agency support of this effort and an
identification of Institutions of Higher Education currently or
interested in supporting postsecondary options for students with
intellectual and developmental disabilities supports a more
comprehensive transition as well as work preparation effort for these
Consistency with Social Security Work Incentives and streamlining
the Ticket to Work incentives: There are clear inconsistencies at the
Federal level regarding the expectation of persons with disabilities to
become part of the labor force in their adult years. Some of these are
reflective of the eligibility determination processes for Social
Security Benefits as well as health care benefits. The criteria for
eligibility for cash and health care benefits are closely tied to the
documentation that the applicant is not able to work and will not be
able to work over an extended or perpetual period of time. Once the
determination of eligibility for benefits is made, it is highly
unlikely that individuals with disabilities will consider work given
that the consequence to having earnings above Substantial Gainful
Activity (SGA) may or are perceived to place those benefits in
While SSA has attempted to support return or entry to work for
beneficiaries, the complexity of rules relating to benefits for the
individual are considerable. Compounding this fact is that there are
different rules for those on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and
those on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Many attempts
have been made to have the use of work incentives and the rules that
guide their use be consistent across all beneficiaries. Such a policy
change would create a great deal more incentive for the SSDI
beneficiary to consider return to work. The role of the Ticket, a
concept with merit but again complex in its implementation, should also
be streamlined so that providers and others interested in supporting
the return to work for persons with disabilities could benefit from the
payments available through the ticket.
B. At the State Level
Not all policy change will occur at the Federal level. At the State
level there is a clear need to have a consistent message that there
must be a presumption that persons with disabilities can work. States
are now developing policies, procedures and practices that place the
focus of services and supports on employment first and that the
services and programs provided should have as their primary or
preferred outcome competitive integrated employment. The end result of
employment first will be an increase in the labor force participation
rate for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities
having wages that are at or above the minimum wage, benefits that are
consistent with other workers in the place of employment, provide
opportunities for interaction on a continuous basis with co-workers
without disabilities, have a potential for advancement and employed
preferably full-time. The adoption of the employment first guidelines
at the State level will influence the nature of the services purchased
by the State DD agency and also send a clear message to the provider
system as to what outcomes are desired. As was noted earlier changes in
reimbursement rates, reporting requirements and data collection can
serve to reinforce the States adoption of employment first as the base
of its practices and programs.
For many States the delivery system for day and employment services
is the not-for-profit community-based organizations, typically referred
to as community rehabilitation providers. Many offer a range of
services and are seeking ways to increase the employment rates for the
persons served. Currently for those in facility-based programs, earning
is extremely limited. In States that have been successful in adopting
employment first or a similar policy they have also coupled this effort
with supports for training and technical assistance to these providers.
For some CRPs the adopting of an employment focus is a considerable
change in the way that they do business. For those interested in
changing or converting their service from a facility-based service to
an employment and training service leading to placement in a
competitive integrated jobs, training of staff, changes in practices
and development of new staff roles and areas of emphasis is essential.
Resources at the Federal level to support program conversions can
facilitate the adoption of employment first polices and assist the
provider system in changing how they provide services.
An area for considerable change at the State and local level is in
the area of transition from school to employment and or postsecondary
education to employment. For many students the final years of school
are often colored by watching classmates graduate, continuing the same
or similar curricula and little discussion about roles in adult life
including community living and employment. The process of transition
must be one that involves many resources, begins early and builds upon
the inclusive educational experiences that many students with
disabilities have now in school. The period between the adult
eligibility for services and the educational entitlement to services is
often a time of concern for both the student and the family. The
redefining of the final 4 years of entitlement to include options that
prepare the student to enter the workforce may include an experience in
a more age-appropriate postsecondary setting, real work and or
volunteer experiences and a focus on developing some employment and job
skills while in school; in the summer and also in the transition years.
Transition should be viewed as a multiyear planning and learning
process, one in which the student will gain more experience about
employment, independence and also experience a sense of accomplishment.
As was noted many students who are nearing the end of their high school
experiences are anticipating entry into the labor market. The
preparation for this should be a restructuring of the transition
planning and implementation process so that resources at the
postsecondary level (2- and 4-year institutions of higher education as
well as technical schools), national service and part-time employment
can be part to the learning and serve as the gateway into employment.
The goal of transition should not be into a non-work or segregated
setting but, as the student has experienced, an inclusive setting that
has the option for employment, earnings and social inclusion as the end
of the transition effort.
As was noted in Commissioner Lewis testimony ``what gets measured
gets done, what gets measured and fed back gets done well, and what
gets rewarded gets repeated.'' Data collection at the State level can
serve as both a way of documenting progress as well as providing
information to consumers, families, State agencies and others about the
outcomes of programs that are serving persons with intellectual and
developmental disabilities. Data collection is essential to documenting
and measuring change and also identifying practices that are effective.
It is crucial that States be able to document outcomes of services and
to report on the rates of labor force participation by persons with
intellectual and developmental disabilities served at the local, State
and national levels.
What is clear in a number of studies noted in this testimony as
well as in other studies is a critical need to train staff in the
schools to be more effective at transition planning and in the
community rehabilitation providers regarding strategies for job
development, job analysis, job modifications and on-site supports. The
level of skill in the personnel who are charged with identifying,
accessing and supporting persons with intellectual and developmental
disabilities is limited. Most pre-service training efforts at the
teacher preparation levels do not address issues of transition and
transition planning and in the adult services most job development and
employment training specialists have little if any initial or on-going
training. If we are to be successful in supporting persons with
disabilities in accessing and maintaining employment then staff skill
level must be increased. Training in transition planning and transition
services for educators should be incorporated into pre-service training
as well as professional development training for educators at the
secondary levels. Some States are identifying transition training
competencies and moving toward certification or credentialing in
transition planning for educators.
At the community rehabilitation provider level, training of staff
at a State and program level is essential in the areas of job
development, job assessments, employment customization and job
supports. The pending development of a College of Employment Supports
that will parallel the College of Direct Support Professionals at the
end of this year will serve to increase the capacity of staff in
community rehabilitation programs who are charged with assisting
persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in entering
employment. This training should be considered as a service that is
supported through training monies in Vocational Rehabilitation, DOL
Employment and Training, the Administration on Developmental
Disabilities and CMS.
Engaging employers in both the training and hiring processes, while
not a public policy issue, can be an effective way of addressing both
the employer's future workforce needs as well as to access the natural
environment of the workplace for training. Employers can serve as a
training resource offering internship and apprenticeship options for
persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Utilizing the
natural setting of the workplace as a training environment can create a
very strong training experience for persons with disabilities.
Employers in many industries have used the natural setting as a
training environment through apprentice and internship opportunities
for persons without disabilities. Similar strategies can be used to
train persons with disabilities in natural work settings.
Technology has played a role in facilitating a stronger match
between a job and an individual with a disability. Technology from a
labor market perspective is playing a more central role in job
development and applicant and employer matching. The traditional
approaches of job development, identification of labor market needs and
linking clients to a potential job has been highly labor intensive and
not reflective of the way employers seek employees. The use of a real-
time demand data system will create immediate matches of the knowledge,
skills and abilities (KSA) of the job applicant to the KSAs as
presented in the job postings. The capacity to identify all job
openings in a designated area (local, sub-state, State, regional or
national) on a daily basis will assure that the industry demands are
current. The ability to sort experiences, interests and preferences of
the clients served and the matching of those to the needs on the demand
side has not been done to date. The development of the strategies as
well as the implementation guidelines, policies and practices can be
done on a national level and will facilitate adoption at local, State
and national levels and thereby streamline the job development process
for providers and persons with disabilities.
The challenges are many as are the opportunities but it is clear
that our expectations and practices need to be realigned and the
approaches to supporting persons with intellectual and developmental
disabilities, and for that fact all persons with disabilities, will
yield gains not only for the individual and the public sector but the
employer as well. The changes in the labor market in the next decade
offer a significant opportunity for persons with disabilities to take
their rightful place as employees and contributing members to society
in the same proportions as do those without disabilities.
____. Occupational outlook handbook, 2010-11 edition. Bureau of Labor
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(2011). StateData: The National Report on Employment Services and
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overview of national research. Plenary session, State of the Art
Conference, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.
Grigal, M., & Dwyre, A. (2010). Employment Activities and Outcomes of
College-Based Transition Programs for Students with Intellectual
Disabilities. Think College Insight Brief, Issue No. 3. Boston, MA:
Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts
Hall, A.C., Butterworth, J., Winsor, J., Gilmore, D. & Metzel, D.
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STAT. 3078 (2008) Individuals with Disabilities Education
Improvement Act of 2004, PL 108-446, 20 U.S.C. Sec. Sec. 1400 et
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Gilmore, D.S. (2009). Survey results from a national survey of
community rehabilitation providers holding special wage
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intellectual disabilities work in sheltered workshops? Journal of
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Modestino, A. (November 2010). Mismatch in the labor market: Measuring
the supply of and demand for skilled labor in New England. New
England Public Policy Center Research Report 10-2, Federal Reserve
Bank of Boston.
Rix, S. (February 2011). Unemployment down but overall job growth
remains anemic. AARP Public Policy Institute. Washington, DC.
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to supported employment: A continuing challenge to the VR service
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Attachment.--Appendix A: Employment First Guiding Principles
Employment first has evolved over the past 5 or more years and has
been defined as:
. . . policies, procedures and practices that embrace the
presumption of employability focusing resources and efforts on
supporting access to and maintenance of integrated employment
by persons with disabilities, including those with the most
appendix a: employment first principles
Employment First: is a service delivery strategy regarding the use
of public funding for persons with disabilities, including persons with
the most significant disabilities, which effectuates on a systemic
basis the principles set out below. The strategy supports the primary
or preferred employment outcome of competitive, integrated employment
for persons with disabilities including those with the most significant
disabilities. The strategy includes the issuance and implementation of
policies, practices, and procedures promulgated through Federal and
State statutes, regulations, and/or operational procedures, including
policies, practices, and procedures requiring that systems have a
statutory responsibility to provide services that align their
reimbursement practices, policies and guidance to incentivize,
encourage and fund services and supports that lead to competitive,
The Employment First strategy shall be implemented consistent with
the following principles:
1. Disability is a natural part of the human experience that in no
way diminishes the right of individuals with disabilities, including
individuals with the most significant disabilities, to achieve the four
goals of disability policy--equality of opportunity, full
participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency.
2. Self-determination and informed consumer choice are essential
elements in all programs and service options.
3. Work for pay (employment) is a valued activity both for
individuals and society. Employment provides both tangible and
intangible benefits. Employment helps people achieve independence and
economic self-sufficiency. Employment also gives people purpose,
dignity, self-esteem, and a sense of accomplishment and pride.
4. Work is physical or mental effort directed toward production of
goods, the provision of services, or the accomplishment of a goal.
5. All individuals, including individuals with the most significant
disabilities, should enjoy every opportunity to be employed in the
workforce, pursue careers, and engage actively in the economic
6. Individuals with disabilities, including individuals with the
most significant disabilities, should be empowered to attain the
highest possible wage with benefits and be employed in the most
integrated setting appropriate, consistent with their interests,
strengths, priorities, abilities, and capabilities.
7. Individuals with disabilities, including individuals with the
most significant disabilities, should enjoy a presumption that they can
achieve competitive, integrated employment with appropriate services
8. Employment-related training services and supports should be
provided to assist individuals with the most significant disabilities
to become employed with a priority for competitive, integrated
9. Based on information from the employment marketplace,
employment-related training services and supports should target areas
of present and future workforce growth. Input from employers is
critical to effectively direct employment-related training and
10. Service providers are expected to use best, promising, emerging
practices with respect to the provision of employment-related services
11. Technical assistance should be available to service providers
for the purpose of expanding and improving their capacity to provide
supported employment, customized employment, and other services and
supports that will enhance opportunities for competitive, integrated
employment consistent with best, promising and emerging practices.
12. Supports should be provided for as long as needed with a focus
on use of natural occurring supports as much as possible.
13. There is a need for a seamless system of services, supports and
funding involving all agencies responsible to provide services if we
are to increase options for competitive, integrated employment. The
seamless system must include the establishment of infrastructures and
resource allocation (staff time and funding) that reflect the
preference for competitive, integrated employment.
14. Exploitation of workers with disabilities is abhorrent and
workers should enjoy meaningful and effective protections against
Appendix B: Definitions of Day and Employment Services
Integrated employment services are provided in a community setting
and involve paid employment of the participant. Specifically integrated
employment includes: competitive employment, individual-supported
employment, group-supported employment, and self-employment supports.
Competitive- and individual-supported employment refers to
individuals who work in an individual job, typically as an employee of
the community business.
Group-supported employment refers to groups of individuals
who work in integrated job settings typically as part of an enclave or
mobile work crew. In general group supported employment applies only
for group sizes of eight or fewer.
Self-employment refers to small business ownership that is
controlled or owned by the individual. It would not include a business
that is owned by an organization or provider.
Community-based non-work includes all services that are focused on
supporting people with disabilities to access community activities in
settings where most people do not have disabilities and does not
involve paid employment of the participant.
Activities include general community participation,
volunteer experiences, or using community recreation and leisure
resources. The majority of an individual's time is spent in the
This service category is often referred to as Community
Integration or Community Participation Services.
Facility-based work includes all employment services which occur in
a setting where the majority of employees have a disability.
These activities occur in settings where continuous job-
related supports and supervision are provided to all workers with
This service category is typically referred to as a
Sheltered Workshop, Work Activity Center, or Extended Employment
Facility-based non-work includes all services that are located in a
setting where the majority of participants have a disability and does
not involve paid employment of the participant.
These activities include but are not limited to:
psychosocial skills development, activities of daily living,
recreation, and/or professional therapies (e.g., occupational,
physical, and speech therapies). Individuals may participate in
community activities, but the majority of an individual's time is spent
in the program setting.
Continuous supports and supervision are provided to all
participants with disabilities.
This service category is also referred to as Day Activity, Day
Habilitation, and Medical Day Care programs.
Appendix C: Cost Savings
implication of enhanced ffp rate for integrated employment outcomes
The following outlines possible implication for an enhanced Federal
Financial Participation rate of 90 percent of costs incurred for States
as consumers enter and remain in integrated employment as opposed to
the annual estimated 50 percent FFP. There are a number of simple
assumptions made for purposes of illustration. These assumptions
include: (1) the average cost of facility-based employment on an annual
basis is $10,000 (no adjustment taken for annual increases in this
figure) and (2) there is on average a $2,000 annual reduction in the
cost of supporting an individual consumer in integrated employment
until this reduction reaches a minimum of $2,000 annually. There are no
estimates made on the return on investment (ROI) through taxes paid or
reduction in Social Security payments as a result of earnings. These
measures will clearly increase the net savings in public resource
should they be included. The totals presented reflect the savings per
Facility Employment Cost Savings
Years Based annual Annual Costs \1\
costs \3\ \2\
1........................... $10,000 $10,000 $0
2........................... 10,000 8,000 2,000
3........................... 10,000 6,000 4,000
4........................... 10,000 4,000 6,000
5........................... 10,000 2,000 8,000
Sub totals................ 50,000 30,000 20,000
CMS (90 percent FFP for IE 25,000 27,000 (2,000)
State....................... 25,000 3,000 22,000
6........................... 10,000 2,000 8,000
7........................... 10,000 2,000 8,000
8........................... 10,000 2,000 8,000
9........................... 10,000 2,000 8,000
10.......................... 10,000 2,000 8,000
Sub totals................ 50,000 10,000 40,000
CMS (50 percent FFP)........ 25,000 5,000 20,000
State....................... 25,000 5,000 20,000
10 Yr Total................. 100,000 40,000 60,000
CMS......................... 50,000 32,000 18,000
State....................... 50,000 8,000 42,000
\1\ Amount of reduction in costs between costs of integrated employment
and facility-based employment based on one individual entering and
remaining in integrated competitive employment.
\2\ Total costs to CMS and States utilizing a 90 percent FFP rate. This
rate is used for years 1 thru 5 only. The regular FFP rate (estimated
on average to be 50 percent) is utilized in years 6 through 10.
\3\ Average annual costs of facility-based employment with no enhanced
FFP rate. No annual adjustment in costs from year to year are taken
The Chairman. Thank you. I think that's a good summation,
Dr. Kiernan, and maybe I'll start with you, sir, 5-minute
Oh, I'm sorry. Did you have to preside?
Senator Franken. Mr. Chairman, I just have to preside at
noon, so I think I'm good.
The Chairman. Well, OK.
Senator Franken. I think if you did 5 and the Ranking
Member did 5 and----
The Chairman. You're next.
Senator Franken. I did 5----
The Chairman. You'd be OK. All right. Fine. We'll move
ahead that way then. I was ready to yield to you my time right
now, but that's OK.
Senator Franken. Want me to take it? I'll take it.
The Chairman. You know, you better take it, because you've
got to get over and preside.
Senator Franken. Let's talk about--some more about whether
I should take it.
The Chairman. Oh, OK.
For 5 minutes.
Senator Franken. You know, I have to admit, I had three
hearings happening at one time, and last night, Mr. Egan, I
read your testimony and I had to be here. In reading it last
night, it was spectacular, and then in hearing and seeing you
give it, equally spectacular. And so I just had to be here.
It seems like one of the big issues here is the difference
between sheltered workshops and competitive, integrated
employment, and I guess I'll open it for everyone, but I wanted
to ask you, Mr. Egan, because you're the one--you're in a fully
competitive, integrated employment situation, as you testified
A couple of months ago, I visited a community
rehabilitation program in Minnesota called AccessAbility, and I
was just blown away by the positive energy from people in the
room who were happy to have a job. They were in what I call a
Do you have strong opinions on--and then I'll open it to
everyone, but I'd like to ask you first, Mr. Egan. Do you think
that by being in a competitive, integrated employment that you
just get a lot more out of it?
Mr. Egan. I could say that I do get a lot out of it. And if
you really do see the people behind me are probably the real
examples of why this is very important to them because it
provides opportunity for them and to grow within the company
and to hold a job.
Senator Franken. And, clearly, you have done that and you
have moved up and you are evaluated along with everybody else,
you're brought into meetings.
Your mentor, tell me about him a little bit.
Mr. Egan. Well, in my talk, I mentioned--his name is Greg
and he has been quite a bit of a role model for me. I know
there are many others like him, but what strikes me the most is
that he doesn't mind joking around with me a little, so I don't
It really shows that--when you have an individual working
in a corporate company, you want to make sure that there's
someone there that can offer guidance and support.
Senator Franken. And someone joking around with you shows
that he respects your sense of humor, that he says that you get
what I'm saying.
Mr. Egan. Absolutely. He's not here, but I can tell you
he's probably hearing this hearing about now.
Senator Franken. And would you say he's funny? When he's
joking around with you, is he funny?
Mr. Egan. Is this for the record?
Senator Franken. Yes. No. We'll strike it.
Mr. Egan. Thank you.
Senator Franken. OK. You don't have to answer on that one.
Mr. Kiernan, do you think his mentor is funny? No.
When I went to this setting, the sheltered workshop, I was
blown away by the positive atmosphere, and what I read was only
a third of people with cognitive disabilities are employed.
Obviously, we want to get as many employment opportunities as
we can. Is there a place for sheltered workshops or do you
believe that all employment should be in competitive,
Mr. Kiernan. Let me answer it in a couple of ways for you.
As we talked about regarding Employment First, there should be
a presumption of employability for everyone. And so the
presumption is that, in fact, everybody can work, and I think
that's the starting point. That's the sense of expectation that
we had talked about before.
In the longer term, would we have people who are in
sheltered employment? One of the things that--and I think Mr.
Egan had commented on it--the advantages for him are the
advantages of not just necessarily getting a paycheck, but also
having the opportunity to have friends and interactions and
have, frankly, the interactions that he just had with you and
the sparring back and forth, but having a set of relationships
and associations, that's what we're looking for within the
competitive labor market.
What we would find is that the difference in earnings, for
the most part, between those folks in segregated or sheltered
employment and those folks in competitive, integrated
employment is fourfold. Those are data from the National Core
Indicators that show that, in fact, there's much more of an
opportunity for people to earn more money, to be more part of
the social fabric.
Now, I haven't answered your very specific question: Is
there a place for sheltered workshops in the long-term?
The State of Washington was the State that, in fact, is
demonstrating that 65 percent of the people who are served by
that State agency are in integrated employment, and their focus
was really on getting to that goal by facilitating and helping
the providers move to a point that they offered those services
and they allowed people to advance and to move into employment.
So their strategy, which is a sound strategy, was to take
the system and move it forward. How they did that was by
changing some of the contractual language that they use and
saying, ``This is what we want to purchase.'' These are the
types of expectations. What we talked about before. This is
what the students who are coming out and graduating from school
are asking for, I fully expect a job.
This is what 63 percent of the participants in the study
who worked in workshops are saying, ``I expect to go to work.''
And so that's what we're seeing--go for those expectations, can
Now, the other question is that the older worker in the
workforce is really changing the way the industry is supporting
workers in general and maintaining productivity. Some of the
strategies that are used to support people with intellectual
disabilities in the workplace are the same strategies or very
similar strategies that are used to support the older worker.
So is it a foreign place to do that? No, it's not really.
In fact, for many industries--I'm sure that Randy Lewis would
probably be able to support this in his experiences with the
diversity of workers who are in the workplace--the expectations
are that a victory would be when the labor force participation
rate for people is the same, which is 71.9 percent.
The Chairman. Thank you.
Senator Franken. OK. Mr. Chairman, thank you for letting me
go first. I really appreciate it, and thank you to the Ranking
Member as well, Senator Enzi.
The Chairman. Senator Enzi.
Senator Enzi. Well, I want to thank everybody on this panel
for serving and Mr. Egan for stealing the show.
Mr. Egan. Well, what can I say.
Senator Enzi. You were an outstanding witness, but we do
have somebody on the panel from Wyoming, so I've got to direct
some questions that way--and just recently the governor signed
a bill that consolidated the Department of Employment and the
Workforce Services and Ms. Evans has been made the head of
Can you tell me a little bit about how this consolidation
will make it a little more user-friendly for individuals with
Ms. Evans. Thank you, Senator Enzi. That's an excellent
question, and, yes, we're going through many changes in Wyoming
combining our Department of Employment and our Department of
The goal here is to be accessible to our constituents, and
there is confusion, and that carries over into our disabled
population. How do you actually access the services?
We have just recently reorganized the agency to really
serve two main purposes, clients and businesses on one hand and
compliance on the other. And so how can we separate those
services so that they can be integrated and work together even
within our own agency? And I think there's much important work
that can be done even within our own agencies at a very
grassroots level to make our services accessible.
For instance, our Vocational Rehabilitation Division will
now work exceptionally close with our Employment Services
Division and with our Unemployment Insurance Benefits Division,
so that their policies, their procedures they overlap, they
understand what each other do, so clients don't have to know,
Oh, I bet I qualify for these services. I should go here. You
can go anywhere and then we can direct you to the place that
you need to be.
That approach, I think, will really serve all clients, not
only our clients who are challenged with a disability. I think
we will see some very significant results from this effort.
Senator Enzi. I think with your background that you're the
perfect person to coordinate all of that, too. So I do think
it'll make a significant difference.
Can you tell me a little bit about the partnership that you
helped form with Lowe's?
Ms. Evans. Absolutely. This is an example of really
leveraging resources from the public and the private sector.
We're using our relationship with our U.S. BLN affiliate, the
Wyoming BLN, that receives partial funding through our
Vocational Rehabilitation Division and also accessing a State-
funded program called the Workforce Development Training Fund,
which our legislature put into place to support businesses
either to train employees before they're actually hired, which
we call pre-hire, or for incumbent-worker training for
employees who just need to upgrade their skills.
This particular pool of money was our pre-hire money and it
was used to support the training and services on site at the
Lowe's distribution center. So there's actually an individual
that's working on site at Lowe's to not only work with the
individuals who are selected to be employed through this
program, but then, as I mentioned, be trained--train the
trainer. In other words, train employees at Lowe's to be able
to problem solve long-term.
So as issues come up--and Mr. Egan mentioned having that
support there on site through a mentor or some form. And so
these train-the-trainer programs will enable individuals to
problem solve long after that specific job coach or the person
that's funded through the grant program is gone, and I think
that's the key to providing some long-term mechanism to support
the employment into the future.
Senator Enzi. Thank you, and I will have questions for all
of you. I'll have to submit some of them in writing because of
the amount of time that we have.
Mr. Lewis, I want to thank you for your presentation and
the efforts you've made with your company to get them to do
more, and I like your goal of 20 percent inclusion in
employment. Can you share some of the challenges with that and
any Federal law or regulation that interferes with what you're
trying to do?
Mr. Lewis. Well, I wouldn't pretend to be an expert on
policy. I think that's--Our job is to open up opportunities.
But what I see in our business community is fear and sometimes
it's well-intentioned laws and policies that tend to get in the
Can I hire a deaf person to run a forklift? Some people
interpret regs to say I cannot do that. Can I advertise that
I'm actually looking for people with disabilities? Can we do
that without discriminating against other groups? Can I say we
want to hire 20 percent? Is that a quota? On and on and on.
I think what happens is people inside companies, people who
go into human resources, people who go into law for altruistic
motives, to help other people, find themselves in a position to
see the risk in hiring people with disabilities. So some of the
things that we put out there with well intention are
misinterpreted and get in the way.
But, on the other hand, what businesses need--on the
positive, the acts of commission, I think, public policy can
engender is help us find candidates, help us train candidates,
because businesses first see, Gee whiz, I can't spend a penny
more to hire a person with a disability if it costs me more to
train them, if it costs me more to find them.
Most employers have the attitude, I'm open if they'll just
come. I will build this field of dreams and I'll be completely
open, and then they wonder why nobody shows up.
There are invisible walls that we have built around our
companies whether it be filling out the applications, whether
it be access to be able to get there at work during hours that
we need people to work or off shifts or how people interview
or--well, on and on and on, but the biggest fear is people with
disabilities can't do the job, and we've got to set examples of
Now, I will comment on the sheltered workshop. I'm kind of
like the pastor who is asked by his parishioner, ``Is tithing
10 percent of gross or net?'' And I'm like that pastor who
There's lots of emotion around the sheltered workshops. I
think there's a place for sheltered workshops, just like I
think there is for employment in businesses like ours. I think
there are people who are in sheltered workshops who would work
very well out there in the commercial world and we need to help
them get there.
But if it comes to a choice for my son sitting at home by
himself or being in a sheltered workshop, it's an easy
decision. It's not an either/or.
The Chairman. Well, I thank all of you for your expertise,
and we'll be calling on that a lot more so that we can get this
right as soon as possible. Thank you.
I think Senator Blumenthal has to leave also shortly, so
I'll recognize Senator Blumenthal.
Statement of Senator Blumenthal
Senator Blumenthal. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and
I particularly want to thank the Chairman and the Ranking
Member, Senator Enzi, for their leadership on this issue, and I
look forward to working on the reauthorization of the Workforce
Investment Act and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
as expected in this Congress.
I don't need to reemphasize--and I won't because I'm really
here to listen to you--the importance of this issue, and
especially its importance at a time of economic stress when
higher unemployment rates exist among folks with disabilities.
I want to thank all of you for being here, but particularly
Mr. Egan, and I was going to ask you whether you think Senator
Franken is funny. But since he's gone I won't ask you to answer
The Chairman. Make that for the record, too.
Senator Blumenthal. But I want to thank you for being here,
sir, and for the model that you've provided to so many others.
I join Senator Franken in saying that your testimony is
spectacular. But as powerful as it is, I also found
extraordinarily powerful the testimony that Mr. Lewis offered.
In reading it, I am just tremendously impressed by the
lessons that you offer to other employers. I want to thank you
for the distribution center that you have in Windsor, CT, which
has employed 40 percent of its workforce with people with
And I was especially impressed by the line in your
testimony that reads,
``It turned out that most of the steps we took to
make work easier and more productive for people with
disabilities made work easier and more productive for
and that the special accommodations, as you called them, for
people with disabilities, for the most part, cost less than
$25, and, as you say, is money spent wisely to result in a
So my question to you is--and speaking to the other
employers of the world--if they cared nothing about the
humanitarian or the moral issues here, and they said to you, It
was very powerful testimony, but my shareholders care only
about the economics, what would you say to them?
Mr. Lewis. Strictly speaking from the hard-line capitalist
view of enriching our shareholders, I would say we have proof
that it's dependable, safe and high performing, and it's an
But also talking to the capitalist side that we are also
citizens and our shareholders want us to be responsible to our
communities. So this is a win/win. This is not an either/or
situation either. And they will benefit.
I will tell you that we have developed the best management.
In those buildings with the highest percent of people with
disabilities is our best management we have in our company,
because they are forced to deal with people as individuals.
That has made them better managers and more effective leaders.
Senator Blumenthal. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman. Thank you very much, Senator Blumenthal.
Mr. Lewis, Senator Blumenthal just touched on the fact that
it costs about $25 per employee to do an adaptation. When we
drafted the Americans With Disabilities Act, there is a portion
in there that provides that employers are to provide reasonable
accommodations. Then we wrote report language to lay out what
we meant by reasonable accommodations.
And then we provided--and not too many people know this--we
provided a tax credit of up to $5,000 for any business that has
to make a modification to a workplace or to a site to
accommodate accessibility for employment of people with
disabilities. Not too many people know that that's still in
there, the $5,000 tax. So when you say $25, that's really a
I think it was Dr. Kiernan who said that many of the
modifications that need to be made for people with intellectual
disabilities, maybe physical disabilities, are the same that
might apply to older workers. And so, in that context, I'm
just, again, looking for your views on whether or not we need
to do more in terms of this accessibility or do employers just
need to look to you and to other examples of what needs to be
It doesn't seem like there are many resources out there for
an employer--especially a small employer. You're a big
employer, but a small employer--to really know what they can do
and what they can access in terms of making modifications.
Could you just talk a little bit about whatever kind of
modifications you had to make or continue to have to make?
Mr. Lewis. Well, I would give us a grade of maybe a B^,
maybe a C+ as far as accessibility, after seeing some of the
things that are being done in universal design.
We started out with trying just to make it easier for
everybody. That means we limited the reach, so you didn't have
to reach so far, that you didn't have to reach so high, that we
had adjustable work surfaces. We eliminated the words on the
screens and replaced those with graphics.
I would say that we probably could do better for people who
have challenges with sight or people that are limited in
wheelchairs. We could have done better on that. And that's
something we've learned.
As far as your comment about knowing that there are tax
credits, I think you are exactly right. People don't know, and
so they put up that idea, I'm going to have to make all these
accommodations. The deaf people are going to be asking for
these special screens that I can't afford, and on and on. It
becomes a defense mechanism against the hiring.
But I think the accommodations that are outlined in the ADA
are very good. They've made us better. Certainly, we're more
accessible, and it's moved us in the right direction. I think
we can go further.
The Chairman. Mr. Egan, looking back, when you first
started into the workforce, tell us a little bit about that. I
mean, what did your parents think about that? I mean, how did
they feel about you going out to integrated workforce and
getting into the competitive employment? What was that like
when you were a younger--You're a young man now, but when you
were really young, what was that like for you at that point in
Mr. Egan. Well, I could tell you that it started very early
in my childhood development, when I had to do family chores
around the house, and because of that I was not excused because
of my disability. On the contrary, that also would help you in
the long run when you're looking for jobs at how to be hired or
The Chairman. So your parents were very encouraging to you.
Mr. Egan. Absolutely they were. And I think that's what all
parents need to do--for their sons and daughters to do the same
The Chairman. I think what I'm looking at here is the
expectation of employment. And getting that we kind of come
back to the sheltered workshop issue. I think Mr. Lewis is
right. It's not either/or.
But there's a movement out among the disability community,
and sometimes they're way ahead of us policymakers. And that is
to change the presumption about employment--to change the
presumption from that of, Well, you have a disability. We have
low expectations. You'll just be fortunate if you can get into
a sheltered workshop. We have to change that expectation to
saying, Wait a minute. Everybody's got some kind of disability.
Nobody can do everything. What are your abilities? How do we
build on those abilities?
And the expectation is that you're going to enter the
workforce. You're going to enter that competitive workforce out
there. So we want to build our education system around that in
our elementary and secondary education so that kids with
disabilities have that expectation.
Now, I'll be honest with you, I'll bear a little bit here
that I've wrestled with this myself because people said,
``Well, Harkin, you might be setting people up to fail if you
set expectations too high and people can't get there.''
Well, I said, ``You know, kids are the same.'' I was just
saying that to Senator Enzi--I said, ``Kids are the same. I
don't care whether they're disabled or not, sometimes they need
a good swift kick in the rear,'' you know, and they need to be
pushed on or they will tend to seek the lowest kind of common
And so that's why I think not setting up kids to fail, but
setting them up with the confidence they need and the assurance
that they can achieve better things. Everyone can achieve a
little bit more. Everybody can do something a little bit
better. And I think we have failed in our education system and
in our career opportunities to really provide that kind of
stimulation to young people with disabilities.
So the disability community is moving on this. What's up to
us as policymakers is to figure out how we do it on the
education side--How we figure into our education system and
other systems a connection to make sure that kids with
disabilities have all of the basics that they need either for
career or college, and then to build into our VR system and
others a connection with the schools for this kind of training.
Then we have to build with the private sector. We have to get
the private sector really involved in this. And thank God we
have some great leaders out there in the private sector moving
ahead on this.
This fall, beginning this October, Dr. Kiernan, beginning
this October, states--any State that wants to implement the
Olmstead Decision--I don't need to tell you all what that is,
the Olmstead Decision--to provide for supportive services for
people with disabilities will get a 6-percent bump-up in their
I am predicting that a lot of States are going to do that.
First of all, they have a constitutional obligation to
implement Olmstead, except this court carved out and said,
however, ``if you can't afford to do it, we don't expect you to
Well, now, with this 6-percent bump-up in FMAP, I think
States will have a lot of encouragement now to really implement
Olmstead, which means that a lot of people with disabilities
now are going to have much higher expectations, not only in
their living, but in getting to work and getting jobs. I think
we have to start getting ready for that.
That's going to happen this October, and so that's why I
feel strongly about both in ESEA reauthorization, and in WIA
that we think about this and we try to implement policies that
will get these kids ready and young people ready for
competitive employment and for retraining.
We have a lot of people coming into living arrangements
where they may have been in an institution and they're going to
come out of that institution and they're not going to be
content to sit around. They want to go out and do things. They
want to do things like Mr. Egan's doing, and so we have to have
the retraining, voc rehab retraining for people like that also.
To me, this is the challenge for us, and that's why I
wanted to have this hearing, to kind of get the ball rolling on
this to figure out what we, as policymakers, need to do to make
the environment better for the private sector to know that
they're going to have young people who are ready for
competitive employment or people who have been retrained, who
are now coming out of institutions that will be living on their
own in integrated settings because of what's happening in
October--in the private sector--to know that we're implementing
those policies and to let the disability community know that
we're moving ahead on a policy basis to make sure that that
education and training is there. So that's really kind of where
I didn't mean to go on so long, but I just thought that it
was important for everyone to know here what's happening this
October and what's going to happen in the year after and the
year after when more and more people are going to be having
access to community-based supports, supportive services.
And I think one of our witnesses, maybe the first one, said
that even with the costs of supportive services, we had
positive economics outcomes, even with supportive services,
that for every dollar invested, we got back, I think, $1.46 or
something like that, even with supportive services.
Many times, people who want to work--and I don't know--I
didn't see this on your presentation that I watched on the CD,
Mr. Lewis, but a lot of people with disabilities can go to
work, but they may need something in the middle of the day.
They may need something where they need some support or
something during the day, but if they don't have that, they
I've often told the story about my nephew, who's
quadriplegic, but he has a nurse in the morning who gets him
ready to go to work and then a nurse at night takes care of
him, and that's all well and good. He got injured in the
military, and the VA picks up those costs, but how about people
that weren't injured in the military? So without those
supportive services he couldn't work. And there are a lot of
people that can't work without some supportive service that's
I don't know if you have those kind of things in Walgreens
or not, Mr. Lewis, where people who may need something during
the day, may need a little bit of time off, maybe need someone
to come in and help them with something during the day, if you
have that kind of a situation that's confronted you.
Mr. Lewis. I suspect--I can't cite a specific example, but
I know that if that were needed, we would try to accommodate
that. That was part of the thing going in, how could we have a
sustainable model and do this? All people are different.
There's a saying in the autism community that says once you've
seen one person with autism, you've seen one person with
The Chairman. That's right.
Mr. Lewis. And that extends to all disabilities.
The Chairman. Exactly. Exactly.
Mr. Egan. Senator, I'd like to add one comment to that.
The Chairman. Yes.
Mr. Egan. When I first started, I started in the Bridges
Marriott Program Foundation that provides internships. So my
question to you is where are the internships involved in that
The Chairman. Good point. We need both private-sector
internships and more internships around here, too, perhaps. Is
that what you're saying?
Mr. Egan. Yes. Corporate companies could also step forward
and hire interns then.
The Chairman. Very good.
Mr. Egan. It's very rewarding.
The Chairman. Thank you.
Ms. Evans, I didn't get a chance to quiz you, but
congratulations, and Wyoming is sort of a stellar example of
getting people with disabilities employed. I think you are one
of the top in the Nation, if I'm not mistaken, and so we look
closely at what you're doing in Wyoming. Congratulations on
Dr. Kiernan, thank you again for all of your work in the
past and giving us the data and the information we need.
Mr. Egan, it's been a delight having you here. Thank you
very much for what you've added to this hearing and what you've
added to our knowledge base.
Mr. Lewis, I thank you for a great example of what you've
done with Walgreens. We've just got to get you Xeroxed or
Mr. Egan. Maybe that could be a good company to hire people
The Chairman. That's right. Exactly.
Well, if there's nothing else--Do any of you have anything
else to add? The record will stay open for 10 days for other
comments or questions from other Senators who could not be
here, and, with that, the committee will stand adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 12:14 p.m., the hearing was adjourned.]