H.R. 509: TEAM-Employment Act of 2013

113th Congress, 2013–2015. Text as of Feb 05, 2013 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO and Cato Institute Deepbills

I

113th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 509

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 5, 2013

(for himself and Mrs. McMorris Rodgers) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce

A BILL

To amend the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to authorize grants for the transition of youths with significant disabilities to adulthood, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Transition toward Excellence, Achievement, and Mobility through Employment Act of 2013 or TEAM-Employment Act of 2013 .

2.

Findings and purposes

(a)

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

Disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way should diminish the opportunity of citizens with disabilities, including individuals with the most significant disabilities, for full participation in society (including school, work, family, social engagement, interpersonal relationships, and community), independent living, and economic self sufficiency.

(2)

Self-determination and informed choice are essential elements in all program and service options.

(3)

Work for pay (employment) is a valued activity both for individuals and society. Employment provides both tangible and intangible benefits. Employment helps people achieve independence and economic self-sufficiency. Employment also gives people purpose, dignity, self-esteem, and a sense of accomplishment and pride as well as an ability to contribute to society as a whole.

(4)

Individuals with disabilities, including those with the most significant disabilities, should enjoy a presumption that they can achieve integrated employment with appropriate services and supports.

(5)

More than 30 years of research and experience demonstrates that all youth, including youth with disabilities, achieve better outcomes when they have access to—

(A)

high-quality standards-based education in an inclusive setting;

(B)

information about career options and exposure to the world of work, including structured internships;

(C)

participation in post-secondary education;

(D)

opportunities to develop social, civic, and leadership skills;

(E)

strong connections to caring adults;

(F)

safe places to interact with their peers; and

(G)

support services and specific accommodations to allow them to become independent adults.

(6)

The diverse and complex needs of today’s youth cannot be met by one’s family, school district, government program, or private organization acting alone. The successful transition of all youth to adulthood and a productive, independent, self-sufficient life demands coordination and collaboration across agencies, along with an integrated services approach to serving youth at the Federal, State, and local levels.

(b)

Purposes

The purposes of this Act are the following:

(1)

To create a systemic focus on cultivating the high expectations for youth with significant disabilities to transition successfully into adulthood and be able to work in integrated employment, earn a liveable wage, and live independently in integrated communities through public policies that advance equality of opportunity, informed choice, employment first principles, and economic self-sufficiency.

(2)

To promote innovative strategies to foster academic, professional, and social inclusion, and the solidification of long-term services and supports required to ensure full integration into the society (including school, work, family, social engagement, interpersonal relationships, and community living).

(3)

To better define and coordinate specific services related to the effective transition of youth with significant disabilities.

(4)

To eliminate barriers and provide incentives for multiple stakeholders to collaborate and improve transition services for youth with significant disabilities.

(5)

To create a holistic system across multiple Federal, State, and local public entities promoting employment first strategies and the successful transition of youth with significant disabilities into adulthood through strengthened coordination among and between public entities, including the alignment of planning processes, implementation systems, and funding streams.

(6)

To align, enhance, and improve performance and accountability measures among public entities involved in the transition of youth with significant disabilities into adulthood.

(7)

To provide financial incentives to States to align their planning processes across and within public entities involved in transitioning, strengthen and coordinate regulations to ensure cross-agency emphasis on the promotion of employment first policies and practices, and re­balance resources toward an employment first paradigm to focus on the preferred outcomes of advancing integrated employment, economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and community participation for youth and adults with significant disabilities.

(8)

To ensure proper level of professional development training of publicly financed service delivery professionals involved in the transition of youth with significant disabilities into adulthood on evidence-based promising practices.

3.

Definitions

(a)

Assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs

Section 7(2) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 705(2)) is amended—

(1)

in subparagraph (B)

(A)

in clause (iii), by striking and at the end;

(B)

in clause (iv), by adding and at the end; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following new clause:

(v)

uses, to the maximum extent possible, information obtained from experiences in integrated employment settings in the community and other integrated community settings, and does not include information from assessments of experiences in sheltered workshops and similar segregated settings;

; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

Such term shall be based on the presumption that the individual is capable of attaining post-secondary education, integrated employment, or both.

.

(b)

Supported employment

Section 7(35) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 705(35)) is amended—

(1)

in subparagraph (A), by striking , or employment in integrated work settings in which individuals are working toward competitive work and inserting or integrated employment; and

(2)

by striking subparagraph (B) and inserting the following new subparagraph:

(B)

Minimum compensation and other requirements

Such term includes placement in individual integrated employment settings and not in enclave or segregated settings, at the greater of minimum or competitive wages that are paid for by the employer, with benefits comparable to benefits of other employees.

.

(c)

Supported employment services

Section 7(36) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 705(36)) is amended—

(1)

in subparagraph (B), by striking and at the end;

(2)

in subparagraph (C)

(A)

by striking 18 months and inserting 48 months; and

(B)

by striking the period at the end and inserting a semicolon; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following new subparagraphs:

(D)

maximize integration of the individual within the workplace, with emphasis on facilitating the use of existing natural supports supplemented as necessary with staff supports paid for through funds authorized by the designated State unit; and

(E)

allow for activities related to customized employment, or a set of activities implemented during the search for employment leading to an integrated employment outcome for an individual with a disability, which includes a negotiated relationship with an employer that focuses on unmet needs and other specific value-added to employers rather than open, demand job slots; and a process of discovery, job seeker exploration, development of descriptive profile documents, individualized employment planning, development of innovative representation materials, completion of an employer needs analysis, job negotiation and representation by a job developer as determined by the individual.

.

(d)

Transition services

Section 7(37) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 705(37)) is amended—

(1)

by striking The term and inserting the following:

(A)

In general

The term

;

(2)

by inserting and customized employment after supported employment;

(3)

by inserting , asset development services after adult services;

(4)

by striking The coordinated set of activities and inserting the following:

(B)

Coordinated set of activities

The coordinated set of activities

;

(5)

by striking objectives, and inserting the following: objectives; school-based preparatory experiences, career preparation, and integrated work-based learning experiences (inclusive of in-school, after school and work experiences outside the traditional school setting where other youth without disabilities are engaged in similar activities); youth development and leadership; connecting activities; training in self-advocacy, self-determination skills, and peer mentoring; family involvement and supports;; and

(6)

by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

(C)

Rule of construction

Such term does not include the use of facility-based employment and activity settings, such as sheltered workshops, day habilitation centers, and enclave work settings. Additionally, the coordinated set of activities should lead to the attainment of at least one of the following outcomes: post-secondary education, long-term integrated employment (including supported employment or customized employment), asset development, independent living, and community participation.

.

(e)

Other definitions

Section 7 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 705) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:

(40)

Asset development

The term asset development means a strategy to assist low-income workers and job seekers, including individuals with disabilities, move toward economic security and greater financial self-sufficiency through income preservation, effective money and credit management, the pursuit of post-secondary education, the purchase of a home, business startup and growth, and the setting aside of resources for longer-term needs and retirement.

(41)

Asset development services

The term asset development services means services relating to asset development, including services such as financial education, tax filing assistance and access to beneficial tax credits and other provisions, and use of social security work incentives and individual development accounts (IDAs) and coordination with other savings programs, including family self-sufficiency programs, college savings accounts, and home and small business ownership assistance.

(42)

Integrated employment

The term integrated employment means work compensated at the greater of minimum wage or competitive wages with related employment benefits, occurring in a typical work setting where the employee with the disability interacts or has the opportunity to interact continuously with non-disabled co-workers, has an opportunity for advancement and mobility, and is preferably engaged in full-time employment.

.

4.

Demonstration and training programs

(a)

In general

Section 303(b)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 773(b)(1)) is amended by adding at the end the following new sentence: The Commissioner may provide up to 10 grants to or enter into 10 contracts with (or a combination thereof, not to exceed a total of 10 grants and contracts) eligible entities under this subsection during a fiscal year. A grant provided or contract entered into under this subsection shall be provided or entered into, as the case may be, for a period of five years. An eligible entity may not receive more than one grant or enter into more than one contract during a five-year period..

(b)

Effective date

The amendment made by subsection (a) takes effect on the date of the enactment of this Act and applies with respect to grants provided under section 303(b) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 for fiscal years beginning on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

5.

Grants for transition of youths with significant disabilities to adulthood

(a)

In general

Title III of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 771 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

307.

Grants for transition of youths with significant disabilities to adulthood

(a)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Braided funding

The term braided funding means a resource utilization strategy to maximize the efficient access and use of existing resources through the coordination, sequencing, and integration of available funding from multiple public agencies and private sources.

(2)

Customized employment

The term customized employment means a set of strategies implemented during the search for employment leading to an integrated employment outcome for an individual with a disability, which includes the following components:

(A)

A negotiated relationship with an employer that focuses on unmet needs and other specific value-added to the employer rather than open, demand job slots.

(B)

A process of discovery, job seeker exploration, development of descriptive profile documents, individualized employment planning, innovative representation materials, employer needs analysis, and representation by a job developer.

(3)

Employment first

The term employment first

(A)

means a delivery model of publicly financed supports for individuals with disabilities, including individuals with significant disabilities and individuals with the most significant disabilities, that effectuates on a systemic basis the presumption of integrated employment as the primary or preferred employment outcome of such individuals; and

(B)

includes policies, practices, and procedures promulgated through Federal and State governmental entities, including policies, practices, and procedures requiring that public systems have a statutory responsibility to provide services that align their priorities, funding and reimbursement practices, and policies and guidance to promote, encourage, incentivize, and prioritize services and supports that lead to integrated employment outcomes.

(4)

Person-centered planning process

The term person-centered planning process means a process that enables and assists a youth with a significant disability to identify and access a personalized mix of paid and non-paid services and supports that will assist such youth to achieve individually defined outcomes in the most integrated community setting.

(5)

State Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Agency

The term State Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Agency means the primary State agency or subdivision with administrative, programmatic, and operational responsibility for the full range of services and supports furnished to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

(6)

Youth with a significant disability

In this subsection, the term youth with a significant disability means an individual who—

(A)

is an individual with a significant disability or an individual with a most significant disability; and

(B)

has attained the age of 14 but has not attained the age of 27.

(b)

Grants

(1)

In general

For each of the fiscal years 2014 through 2018, the Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, in cooperation with the officials specified in paragraph (2), is authorized to provide grants to eligible entities to carry out the activities authorized under this section.

(2)

Officials specified

The officials specified in this paragraph are the Commissioner of the Agency on Developmental Disabilities, the Director of Medicaid Operations at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy.

(3)

Number of grants; duration; number of grants per eligible entity

The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services may provide up to 10 grants under this subsection during a fiscal year. A grant provided under this subsection shall be provided for a period of five years. An eligible entity may not receive more than one grant during a five-year period.

(c)

Eligible entities

To be eligible to receive a grant under subsection (a), an entity shall be a consortium that—

(1)

consists of and is managed by, at a minimum, representatives from the State educational agency, the State Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Agency, the State vocational rehabilitation agency, the State Medicaid agency, the State department of labor and workforce investment board, and the State department of higher education;

(2)

includes stakeholders who will be involved in the planning and implementation of funds made available through the grant, including—

(A)

representatives from local or regional University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service, State protection advocacy and client assistance programs, State councils on developmental disabilities, and centers on independent living; and

(B)

representatives from self-advocacy organizations and family organizations; and

(3)

includes additional public and private individuals and entities with demonstrated expertise in providing transition services that result in post-secondary education, integrated employment, and economic advancement for individuals with significant disabilities and individuals with the most significant disabilities with expertise in the provision of supported employment services and customized employment strategies and that—

(A)

provide services resulting in integrated post-secondary education outcomes or integrated employment outcomes at the greater of minimum or competitive wages with access to related health and employment benefits;

(B)

have expertise in person-centered planning processes; or

(C)

have experience operating mentoring or advocacy training programs for individuals with significant disabilities and individuals with the most significant disabilities in culturally and socioeconomically diverse communities.

(d)

Application

An eligible entity that desires to receive a grant under subsection (a) shall submit to the Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services an application at such time, in such manner, and including such information as the Assistant Secretary may require. Each application shall include—

(1)

an implementation plan, including the identification of the lead agency by the State, describing the actions the entity intends to take to carry out the activities authorized under this subsection;

(2)

assurances that a memorandum of understanding among the participating State agencies will be developed outlining key steps to be taken to collaborate and coordinate efforts to institute systemic change related to employment first, including braided funding and a uniform focus on improving outcomes in post-secondary education, integrated employment, and economic advancement for youths with significant disabilities;

(3)

a description of the means and mechanisms by which participating State agencies will coordinate efforts to evaluate and reform existing State laws, regulations, guidelines, operational procedures, and funding practices, including braided funding, to institute systemic change related to employment first, focused on improving outcomes in post-secondary education, integrated employment, and economic advancement for youths with significant disabilities;

(4)

an evaluation plan describing the strategy the entity will use to evaluate the use of funds made available through the grant, with a specific focus on the collection of data (by age, race, gender, geographic area, type of disability, income level, communication level, and use of assistive technology) tracking, at a minimum—

(A)

the number of youths with significant disabilities who directly enter integrated employment opportunities paid at the greater of minimum wage or competitive wages with access to related employment and health benefits, or a post-secondary educational or training program that is focused on leading to an integrated employment outcome, upon exiting the school system;

(B)

the wages and number of hours worked of youths per pay period;

(C)

the impact of employment on any State and Federal benefits received;

(D)

indicators on the types of settings in which youths benefitting from the State grant primarily reside;

(E)

indicators of improved economic status and self-sufficiency;

(F)

data on those youths with significant disabilities for whom a post-secondary or integrated employment outcome has not yet occurred, including information on why such outcome has not yet been attained, and additional information such as the number of months an individual has not had a post-secondary education or integrated employment outcome, and the progress made to date on efforts to ensure that an individual achieves a post-secondary education or integrated employment outcome; and

(G)

location and type of settings where youths who are receiving services through the grant are living;

(5)

a description of how the eligible entity will disseminate information about the types of transition services and the impact of such services on the lives of youths with significant disabilities who are served by the project; and

(6)

a description of the approaches the eligible entity intends to use to coordinate activities with relevant service providers in the localities in which the activities of the grant will be focused.

(e)

Authorized activities

An entity that receives a grant under this subsection shall use the funds made available through the grant to carry out the following activities for youths with significant disabilities:

(1)

The development of innovative and effective practices through person-centered planning processes for attaining integrated employment experiences, including customized employment, supported employment services, and employment experiences after school, on weekends, and in the summer months.

(2)

The development of objectives and activities based upon the highest expectations of youths with significant disabilities and related to the following areas:

(A)

Academic and school-based preparatory experiences, including access to the general education curriculum in the least restrictive environment.

(B)

Work and career readiness.

(C)

Self-determination and leadership.

(D)

Comprehensive community connections.

(E)

Life-long learning.

(F)

Family involvement and engagement.

(3)

The development of appropriate and effective curricula and the deployment of professionals with expertise to provide training to school personnel, including transition coordinators, and other personnel connected to the implementation of the implementation plan of the grantee to enable such school personnel to develop skills needed to assist such youths in actualizing their ability to obtain and maintain integrated employment at the greater of minimum or competitive wages. Such training shall be focused on developing the skills in personnel necessary to help such youths successfully identify and complete desired objectives in the following areas:

(A)

Academic and school-based preparatory experiences, including access to the general education curriculum in the least restrictive environment.

(B)

Work and career readiness.

(C)

Youth development and leadership.

(D)

Comprehensive community connections.

(E)

Family involvement and engagement.

(F)

Integrated employment experiences, including customized employment, supported employment services, and employment experiences after school, on weekends, and in the summer months.

(4)

The provision of assistance to youths with significant disabilities and their families with respect to determining appropriate services under relevant Federal and State programs, to include the following:

(A)

An informed decisionmaking process leading to an integrated employment or post-secondary education outcome and securing ongoing services required for sustaining the employment or post-secondary education outcome.

(B)

A benefits planning process in order to educate youths with significant disabilities regarding strategies for identifying, optimizing and managing available resources to support the youth.

(C)

A series of individualized economic advancement strategies to advance the optimal self-sufficiency and economic security of a youth with a significant disability with specific goals for asset development, including the use of favorable tax benefits, work incentives, matched savings plans, and financial education.

(f)

Prohibited activities

(1)

In general

Funds made available through a grant under subsection (a) may not be used for activities that result in youths with significant disabilities being placed in facility-based segregated services as an employment outcome or post-secondary outcome. In this paragraph, the term facility-based segregated services means rehabilitation or employment services provided by segregated entities, such as sheltered workshops, day habilitation, enclaves, or any other similar settings.

(2)

Rule of construction

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit any youth with a significant disability from having access to the general education curriculum during the pursuit of transition services or post-secondary education outcomes.

(g)

Employment outcomes and evaluation

(1)

Outcomes

An entity that receives a grant under this section shall collect data and report annually on, at a minimum, progress in achieving specific integrated employment outcomes outlined by the Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. Such outcomes shall include the following:

(A)

The number of youths with significant disabilities who directly enter integrated employment or post-secondary education upon exiting the school system.

(B)

The types of positions and employment sectors the youths with significant disabilities are participating in, as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor.

(C)

The wages of and number of hours worked by youths with significant disabilities monthly.

(D)

The impact of employment on any Federal and State benefits received.

(E)

Indicators of improved economic status and self-sufficiency.

(F)

Data on those youths with significant disabilities who have not yet entered post-secondary education or integrated employment, outlining the reasons that such youths have not yet entered post-secondary education or integrated employment as well as the progress made to date in the acquisition of skills, training, and development necessary to attain an integrated employment outcome.

(2)

Center

There is established a National Coordination Center on Systems Change and Transformation in the Transition of Youths with Significant Disabilities into Adulthood (in this paragraph referred to as the Center) to coordinate personnel training and professional development in evidence-based best practices resulting in integrated employment or post-secondary education outcomes. The Center shall coordinate assistance with the State grantees and their leadership teams and support grantees in their systems change efforts through the provision of training, professional development, technical assistance, data collection, and research.

(h)

Authorization of appropriations

(1)

In general

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section (other than subsection (g)(2)) $50,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2014 through 2018.

(2)

Center

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out subsection (g)(2) $5,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2014 through 2018.

.

(b)

Clerical amendment

The table of contents for the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 306 the following new item:

Sec. 307. Grants for transition of youths with significant disabilities to adulthood.

.