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Pod Cast Listings

Workforce Investment Act

“I think with all the amendments combined we are going to see the Independent Living Movement across this country thrive..."

  Shannon Jones reports from the road that at the US Congress, the Senate has introduced the Workforce Investment Act to be reauthorized. This was on Tuesday June twenty-first. The plan from there is for the bill to be marked-up on July thirteenth. Disability advocates, particularly independent living advocates have been working for the past decade to get a portion of WIA (Work Force Investment Act) contained in that is the Rehabilitation Act . That governs all of our independent living programs.

Shannon stated "With the introduction and bipartisan support, that is huge. In the senate we think we have a good chance to correct and amend some of the items within independent living programs that advocates have been working so hard on for the last decade."

The act includes several of the recommendations that the National Council on Independent Living has supported and suggested over the past several years.

One of the main reasons this is seeing some movement is the climate in Washington. Shannon explained, "The talk in Washington, DC is all about jobs, jobs, jobs. That’s exactly what the Workforce Investment Act will do. People with disabilities have continued to fall through the cracks. “

 

Nationwide the unemployment rate is 70% for people with disabilities. Congress is getting the message people with disabilities want to work. This will address and reauthorize the, “outdated infrastructure that hinders job growth.”

In addition to just the infrastructure to create jobs for people with disabilities, “We have long asked for the independent living programs to be moved out of the Rehab Service Administration.” This new bill would create an Independent Living Administration. It would pull the whole programs out and they would be within the Department of Education. The IL administrator would report directly to the Director of Education. This would allow for a greater understanding of the issues and needs of the Independent Living Programs.

The bill addresses some of the budget issues Centers for Independent Living deal with on an annual basis by allowing carryover of part “B” funds into the next year.

The fifth core service is also a part of this bill, access to communities. Centers for independent living in Kansas have always been ahead of the curve on this issue. They have already adopted this service and provide transitional services to people who want to leave institutions.

“I think with all the amendments combined we are going to see the Independent Living Movement across this country thrive. And be able to do what we were meant to do.” Shannon expressed.