Advancing Employment First Through Building Legislative Connections By: Ryley Newport, National APSE Public Policy Associate and Tibisay Guzman, NYS APSE Public Policy Liaison
What is APSE? APSE is a 3,000+ growing national non-profit membership organization, founded in 1988. Our members include individuals with disabilities, families, disability professionals, and businesses. APSE has chapters in 37 states and the District of Columbia. Also, we are in the process of developing chapters in Texas, Utah, South Carolina and Rhode Island.
APSE State Chapters • APSE State Chapters are Employment First champions in states focusing on the principle that employment and careers are the expected and preferred outcomes of all publicly funded services for those with disabilities. • State Chapters raise awareness within the business community as to the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities. • State Chapters perform various trainings and Conferences on best practices in Employment First, job development, and CESP exams to improve and build professional excellence. • Many APSE Chapters sponsor Take Your Legislator to Work day and Days on the Hill to advocate for Employment First
APSE Public Policy Liaisons • Roles and Responsibilities: • Serves as a point person to share ideas, experiences and updates from within states (focused primarily on Employment First policy and practice developments); • Attends monthly calls and shares updates from his or her state; • Works collaboratively to develop a “standard” state employment policy agenda that states can customize and start/continue working on within states; and • Ensures that there are timely responses to APSE Advocacy Alerts and that state chapters have a presence in regards to policy developments.
Defining “Employment First” • APSE’s Policy Statement: • “Employment First”: employment in the general workforce as the first and preferred outcome in the provision of publicly funded services for all working age citizens with disabilities, regardless of level of disability.
Employment First Developments • As of January, 45 States have some type of “Employment First” movement led by many of our chapter members • About 3/4 of efforts are directed by state policy units or are legislatively based • About 1/4 of efforts are grassroots based –i.e., outsiders working to influence state policy and practice
Employment First Map
Employment First in New York • Tax Incentives for Businesses – The InspireNY bill was passed to incentivize businesses to hire people with developmental disabilities. Businesses will receive up to $5,000 for hiring each full-time employee and up to $2,500 for hiring each part-time employee. • Integrated Employment Plan - The Legislator response to the OPWDD Draft plan to increase Competitive Employment Opportunities for People with Developmental Disabilities was passed effective April 1, 2014. The response included the directive to OPWDD to present a final plan to the legislators within 180 days of CMS approval of the plan. The enacted Bill (Chapter 60, Part E, S.6914/A. 9205) include strategies to increase competitive employment, job retention, assisting people to transition from a work center environment to competitive employment.
How can you be involved? Ideas to get more involved: • Take Your Legislator to Work Day Campaign • Join a NYS APSE Committee or National APSE Committee • Social Media • Organize a NYS Twitter Chat
• Day on the Hill • Meetings with Legislators • Meet with Governor Cuomo
Take Your Legislator to Work Day • This is a campaign to raise awareness that every adult with a disability can participate in gainful employment and have a meaningful job in the community. • Held every October as part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month • APSE will be holding informational webinars starting in August to prepare people
Why participate in the campaign? • Educate legislators • Show employability of people with disabilities • Raise awareness about the importance of communityintegrated jobs • Strengthen disability advocacy
What does an “average” visit look like? The Take Your Legislator to Work Day is simple! Although visits may be different, we encourage all participants to do the following:
• Provide a 30-45 minute tour of their workplace highlighting where the employee works and the job duties they preform, • Introduce the legislator to the employee’s co-workers and employer, and • Discuss their experience working in a job in the community.
The NGA Initiative • The National Governor Association’s (NGA) Initiative “A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities” • Key NGA Recommendations: • Find and support businesses in their efforts to employ people with disabilities. • Be a model employer by increasing the number of people with disabilities working in state government. • Prepare youth with disabilities for careers that use their full potential, providing employers with a pipeline of skilled workers. • Make the best use of limited resources to advance employment opportunities for people with disabilities. • Make disability employment part of the state workforce development strategy.
How can APSE utilize this new awareness into action? • APSE Chapter Meetings with Governors. • Share the blueprint with Governor Cuomo stating that we are looking forward to implementation. • Ask Governor Cuomo to attend a NYS APSE Chapter event or to make a recorded message in support of Employment First in the state. • Ask the Governor to make a specific commitment to improve the numbers of people with disabilities working in integrated, community based jobs. • Create an Employment First task force • Request a meeting with the relevant cabinet members.
APSE’s Work with Governors • APSE Chapter Meetings with Governors including the governors from : New Mexico, New York, Washington, Illinois, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Alabama, Iowa, New Jersey, Delaware and New Hampshire
Strategies for Governor Meetings • Don’t just ask for general support of employment of people with disabilities • Be clear and specific about what action you are asking for • Specific policy • New piece of legislation/changes to legislation • Opposition to a bill
• Policy advocacy is not a one-time thing – it’s about building relationships over time
New York State APSE Opportunities Join New York State APSE’s Public Policy efforts by joining one of National APSE’s Committees including Students for APSE, the Research Committee or the Conference and Training Committee.
Social Media • Use for: • • • •
Sharing information Publicizing your campaign Expanding your constituency Taking action
• Examples: • Twitter • Facebook
Questions, Comments, Discussion
For more information… Go to www.apse.org or contact Ryley Newport ([email protected]
) or Tibi Guzman ([email protected]