Employment in 2019 – An ANCOR Prediction of Shifts and Trends

Foothold Technology was proud to partner with  American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) on a recent webinar discussing the state of supported employment. Esme Grant Grewal, Vice President of Government Relations at ANCOR wrote this blog providing additional thoughts for the year ahead.

By Esme Grant Grewal, ANCOR Vice President of Government Relations

Throughout 2018 I shared with ANCOR members that I predicted some significant shifts in the arena of employment for people with disabilities. A number of things brought me to this conclusion. We heard from Republican and Democratic leaders on the Hill that they were looking to end the Fair Labor Standards Act’s 14(c) subminimum wage program for people with disabilities while the National Council on Disability in October echoed that sentiment with a formal report. Meanwhile, the Trump Administration was focusing on Medicaid work requirement policies for people without disabilities, they were simultaneously praising Medicaid work programs for people with disabilities, and the Department of Labor was seeking in general the improvement of workforce results for Americans with disabilities with some key speeches on the topic by the Secretary himself.

With all of this build up, 2019 looks to be a possible change making year for employment of people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act, which dramatically changed our infrastructure and culture, still has a lot to do in terms of its impact on employment for people with disabilities. But this could be the year we head firmly in the direction of transformation.

In addition to the clearly directed policy changes and discussions, there has been tremendous creativity to ensure that people with disabilities can work. Transportation is a key barrier to employment and ANCOR has been a leading intellectual and developmental disability voice in support of self-driving vehicle legislation and regulation (we have even asked the car manufacturers in our coalition to assist with reimbursement of self-driving vehicles in the future). Also on the transportation front, we have been following the progress of disability-related car sharing apps to assist folks get to where they need to be in accessible vehicles. We know that community funding is key to programs that enable individuals to have the opportunity to work, so ANCOR has led Money Follows the Person reauthorization discussions and now is engaging in new exciting legislative discussions around the Balancing Incentive Program. We have also had discussions with the Administration about the HCBS Settings Rule and how employment of people with disabilities can be used as a good gauge of the rule’s success.

ANCOR has always been cognizant of the challenges for people with the most significant disabilities to access work and so in line with our work on improved employment outcomes, we work hard to establish that service funding is always preserved for individuals with the goal, but perhaps not always the result, of competitive integrated employment. It seems like 2019 has geared up to address employment of people with disabilities in a variety of ways and we are excited to join with Foothold and be a part of these important conversations and the ultimate change that will occur.

Learn more about Foothold’s partnership with ANCOR here.