Seattle eliminated the ability of employers to utilize special certificates that could enable some profoundly disabled citizens to be employed.
Some history of this decision can be found in this Seattle Times Article from August 2017
Shaun Bickley, Seattle Commissioner for People with Disabilities, commented many times that NO ONE would lose their job with the elimination of the sub-minimum wage law.
I have written to the Commission on several occasions asking for their research in addition to providing some well documented national reports with clear guidelines for a transition. Unfortunately, the Commission was not able to produce any of their research and I never did receive a repose to discuss a transition plan for such a rapid elimination the special certificates. Below is a comment that I posted to the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities page on October 16, 2017.
I have written to all Councilpersons regarding my questions about this recommendation and have received a very odd response from Alex Clardy, Legislative Assistant for Councilperson Herbold.
One quote from the letter is ” The PwD Commission received no comment opposing the elimination of the subminimum wage certificates. Some people contacted Councilmember Herbold’s office concerned that people need the subminimum wage to get jobs. Yet, no people with disabilities contacted Councilmember Herbold’s office to say so” This is absolutely not true. There were many letters that were written in opposition to the recommendation.
Also, the letter contained information that had been provided to the council by the commission with statements of “evidence”. There are no references included and I have asked previously to have the sources of the research that was done during the “4 month review of Seattle’s policies and practices.”
I have also provided resources to the commission from the National Council on Disabilities and their quite extensive review of sub-minimum wage certificates and their concerns regarding elimination together with an extended timeline to phase certificates out. This recommendation is extremely different than the approach that the Seattle Commission has recommended.
In addition to the phase out, what planning for funding, transportation, job coaching, job skill building and other services for transition have been planned for this rapid elimination recommended by the Commission?
I provided information regarding integrated work for people with significant intellectual disabilities and provided an excellent resource with specific skill building and individual considerations that need to be addressed in transition plans for young adults. The article from the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation entitled” Integrated work for those with significant intellectual disabilities” is one such article with realistic goals and assessments to take into consideration with regards to supported employment.
Please contact me so that I may review the resources and data that the Commission used in the 4-month study and send an outline of a transition plan covering some of the issues mentioned above”
I am finishing up some interviews with employers, employees, families, caregivers, guardians and will post the information soon.