House Committee Hears Testimony Supporting Cutler’s Bill to Improve Employment Opportunities for Pennsylvanians with Disabilities
9/15/2016
HARRISBURG – This week, the House Labor and Industry Committee held a hearing on legislation drafted by Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom) and Rep. Dan Miller (D-Mt. Lebanon) to provide competitive employment for individuals with disabilities in the Commonwealth.

House Bill 2130 would move toward employing individuals with disabilities in no less than 7 percent of the overall state workforce. While state agencies would not be required to give preference in hiring people with disabilities, the Office of the Governor would develop a three-year plan for the Employment First Program for review by the General Assembly. An annual report will also be generated using assessment information compiled by state, county and local agencies. Lastly, the bill would create an Employment First State Coordinating Council and an Employment First Oversight Commission.

“We’re doing a good job helping people with disabilities as they earn their education and work toward graduation. I want Pennsylvania to take the next step and integrate these skills after graduation,” Cutler said. “Right now, we’re graduating them to an uncertain future, and that must change.”

About $400 million is dedicated to services for people with disabilities in the Commonwealth with only 5 percent of that funding allocated to the training that would enable them to have jobs. The bill would not require additional funding, but rather a redistribution of money that is already included in the budget. It would be a more efficient use of our limited tax dollars.

During the hearing, committee members heard testimony from a number of individuals who support the legislation, as well as the many benefits it would have for both the Commonwealth and its residents.

“House Bill 2130 means real jobs with real wages at real places for Pennsylvanians with disabilities. Not only is Employment First better for persons with disabilities in terms of integrating and self-sufficiency, it is better for the state,” Peri Jude Radecic, chief executive officer of Disability Rights of Pennsylvania, said. “Every dollar the person with a disability earns is a dollar that he or she will pay taxes on.”

Another testifier, Alex Graysay, explained the many achievements he enjoyed as a result of his two jobs. He shared that traveling to and from his jobs and working to earn his own money has helped him become more independent, even at home.

“The pride that Alex clearly felt as he shared his experiences was undeniable. Hearing how happy he was to spend money that he earned to buy the suit he wore to speak with us was a fantastic reminder of how necessary it is to make Pennsylvania friendlier to people with disabilities who would like to contribute through the work they can do,” Cutler said. “I appreciate everyone taking the time to learn more about how the bill I drafted with Rep. Dan Miller, of Mt. Lebanon, would impact the people living in all of our communities.”

Thirteen states currently have Employment First legislation, and several more states have executive orders.

Representative Bryan Cutler
100th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Alison Evans
717.260.6206
aevans@pahousegop.com
RepCutler.com / Facebook.com/RepBryanCutler
Twitter.com/RepBryanCutler

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