March 18, 2022, the United States Department of Education’s (USDOE) Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) announced an initiative that is “aimed at increasing access for people with disabilities to jobs that pay good wages.”
According to a press release distributed by USDOE, the initiative, Subminimum Wage to Competitive Integrated Employment (SWTCIE), “is the largest discretionary grant administered by RSA, with $167 million available to State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies and their partners” and “will award grants to as many as 18 State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies and their partners that will create employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The jobs will be in critical need areas, including home and community-based services, the arts, or transportation and related industries. In addition, applicants may submit proposals in other areas that will transition individuals from subminimum wage employment to competitive integrated employment.”
U.S. Rep. Robert Scott, chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, stated, “The subminimum wage for workers with disabilities is a relic of a time when people with disabilities were viewed as unable to work and lacked federal protections. It is long past time that we help phase out the subminimum wage for people with disabilities and expand access to fulfilling employment and economic self-sufficiency. We must continue working to ensure every American can succeed and earn a fair wage.”
Although the Notice Inviting Applications won’t be published to the Federal Register until March 21, 2022, the unpublished version is available for previewing.
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