People with Disabilities to Counteract Workforce Shortage and Receive Fair Pay, Cutler Says
HARRISBURG – Because of a bipartisan, bicameral effort from the General Assembly, legislation authored by Reps. Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) and Dan Miller (D-Allegheny) to benefit individuals with disabilities and Commonwealth businesses has been signed into law.

House Bill 1641, now Act 36, promotes competitive integrated employment for all individuals with a disability who are eligible to work under state or federal law. Because of the bill, employment services and opportunities will be offered to anyone who receives publically funded services.

“People with disabilities have skills from which businesses can benefit. In fact, those capabilities are particularly needed given Pennsylvania’s workforce shortage. This new law addresses two significant problems, which I am thankful Gov. Tom Wolf recognized,” Cutler said.

“Across our Commonwealth today, too many people with disabilities spend their days working in segregated facilities,” said Mensch. “Enactment of the Employment First Act will provide people with disabilities the opportunity to work at competitive wages in a wide range of jobs.”

It also calls for state agencies to have a goal to employ individuals with disabilities in at least 7 percent of the overall state workforce. It, however, would not require state agencies to give preference in hiring to people with disabilities.

The act also creates an oversight commission, with people who have disabilities making up more than half of its members, that would set measurable goals for improving the percentage of workers with disabilities in Pennsylvania. The commission would also issue an annual progress report.

Because Commonwealth agencies would be required to shift priorities within existing budgets, additional state funding is unnecessary.

“Rep. Miller and I have worked together on this issue for years. I thank him for his dedication to improving the lives of those with disabilities and the state’s workforce shortage. Together – with the help of many advocacy groups and Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24), who offered a companion bill in the Senate – we were able to get this bill over the finish line,” Cutler added.

Representative Bryan Cutler
100th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Alison Evans
717.260.6206 /  /

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