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Campaign for What Works Urges Legislators to Back Jobs for Young People With Disabilities – SB200, HB400

Part-time, Summer Jobs Vital for Success after High School

HARRISBURG – The Campaign for What Works (C4WW) today urged members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to join 50 of their colleagues and support legislation designed to ensure young people with disabilities are better prepared to work after they finish high school.

Josie Badger of Pittsburgh, campaign manager for #IWantToWork state campaign, an initiative of C4WW, thanked Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Luzerne and Rep. Mauree Gingerich, R-Lebanon, for taking the lead as the prime sponsors of SB 200 and HB 400. Sen. Baker and Rep. Gingerich chair the Senate and House committees on Labor and Industry, respectively.

When signed into law the bills will ensure young people with disabilities get part-time and summer jobs, and receive job coaching and placement services beginning at age 15 from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. SB 200 is already cosponsored by a majority of the 50-member Senate, including the leadership of both caucuses.

“These bills are vital to help Pennsylvanias teenagers with disabilities get the support they need to access jobs, increasing their opportunities and the likelihood that they will enjoy a lifetime of employment,” Badger said. An initiative of the Campaign for What Works, #IWantToWorkis a social media campaign managed by young people with disabilities on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

“With Pennsylvanias declining unemployment rate and our growing workforce shortage crisis, young adults with disabilities want to work, deserve to work, and our employers need them to work,” said Badger, who lives with cerebral palsy and is a disabilities education expert at the University of Pittsburgh. She earned a Ph.D. in healthcare ethics from Duquesne University.

Approval of the legislation will:

  • Ensure that job preparation and placement services for young people with disabilities begin at age 15 in high school. It makes no sense to wait until just before graduation to provide job coaching and placement help.
  • Ensure Pennsylvania truly becomes an Employment First state by funding and creating opportunities for young people with disabilities to be part  of fully integrated work environment
  • Ensure full state and federal funding for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. $2.5 million in state funding would ensure $10 million in matching federal funds to fully support job preparation and placement services to young people with disabilities in high school. That’s a $4 return on every $1 invested by Pennsylvania.

 About#IWantToWork is an initiative of the Campaign for What Works. The Campaign for What Works builds non-partisan coalitions to support effective human services for Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens. It is a voice for common-sense solutions that work for consumers, providers, and taxpayers.

To see our one-pager about why Pennsylvanians with disabilities want to work, deserve to work, and why employers need them to work, click here.