California Releases Integrated Employment Plan

Timecards and a time clock

by Andy Jones
May 21, 2017

Disability Rights California and three California agencies released a comprehensive blueprint for assisting people receiving supported employment services with transitioning into the competitive economy.

In December 2014, the California Departments of Education, Rehabilitation, and Developmental Services signed a Memorandum of Understanding, setting a five-year timetable to reform the state’s services.

Under the plan, known as the Competitive Integrated Employment Blueprint, the state will end the practice of placing people with disabilities in segregated work centers, known as sheltered workshops by their critics.

These facilities, which must be licensed by the federal Department of Labor, are allowed to pay sub-minimum wages, based on a more than 80-year-old provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act, enacted when almost no people with disabilities were deemed capable of competing in the regular workforce. The agencies will immediately halt the practice for anyone under age 24.

Among the goals in the 60-page blueprint, the agencies should collaborate to create person-centered plans for each individual, addressing employment barriers at all stages, starting when students are transitioning from school.

They also aim to expand choices for recipients among different work programs, as well as provide expanded participation opportunities.

The blueprint also includes goals for expanding relationship with business partners and a further sharing of training materials and other resources among the agencies and advocates.

“We worked closely with the state to create a plan that allows people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to find meaningful work in the community with fair pay,” said Debra Jorgenson, managing attorney with Disability Rights California, in a news release. “Everyone deserves the opportunity to achieve their employment goals.”

You can read the full blue print and other information about the state’s integrated employment efforts on the California Health and Human Services website.

Disability Rights Washington's video and social media project, Rooted in Rights, produced Bottom Dollars, a documentary about sheltered workshops and subminimum wages for people with disabilities. Bottom Dollars has been screened at over 200 locations across the US and will be screened on July 13 in Seattle. Follow this link to get tickets. If you would like to host a viewing of Bottom Dollars in your community, use this form to send your request to Rooted in Rights.

Disability Rights Washington and Disability Rights California are the designated protection and advocacy agencies in Washington and California, and are members of the National Disability Rights Network.