Governor Wolf Urges Congress to Pass Disability Employment Incentive Act

August 29, 2018

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today urged Congress to pass S.3260, the Disability Employment Incentive Act, sponsored by Sen. Bob Casey, which will support those employers who already seek to bring in the talents and skills of individuals with disabilities and will help to promote a change in hiring practices to encourage those who have not historically hired individuals with disabilities to open their doors.

“People with disabilities deserve the right to be included in all aspects of life – including the workplace,” Governor Wolf said. “My administration has made this a priority and I was proud to work with the General Assembly to sign Act 36 into law, which codified my Employment First executive order into law. I urge Congress to make these incentives available more broadly to encourage more businesses to prioritize hiring people with disabilities.

“My 2018-2019 budget included $74 million in support of programs and services for Pennsylvanians with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorder. This funding ensures that Pennsylvanians with intellectual disabilities or autism will be able to use support coordination to help find and use resources in their communities.

“This investment also ensures that 800 public school graduates with autism will be able to access support services at the time of graduation. Graduates previously waited up to six months for services – a gap that can result in loss of skills learned during school.

“My goal is to ensure that individuals with an intellectual disability or autism and their families have support at every stage and transition in their lives. Connecting graduates to services helps them find jobs and navigate the next step of their lives with confidence.”

Governor Wolf also wrote Senator Casey to thank him for supporting this important legislation.

The full text of the letter reads:

Dear Senator Casey,

On behalf of Pennsylvanians with disabilities, their families and caregivers, the Wolf Administration thanks you for your introduction of S. 3260, the Disability Employment Incentive Act of 2018. People with disabilities deserve the right to be included in all aspects of life – including the workplace.

This legislation will further enhance opportunities for individuals with disabilities by encouraging employers to hire and retain members of this population.

My executive order two years ago focused Pennsylvania on being a model state that is hospitable to workers with disabilities and I am proud to have recently signed into law Act 36 of 2018 which codified Employment First as a state policy. Our employers need smart and skilled workers, and increasing employment opportunities ensures people with disabilities can achieve greater independence and inclusion in our communities. Through tax credit enhancements, the Disability Employment Incentive Act will support those employers who already seek to bring in the talents and skills of individuals with disabilities and will help to promote a change in hiring practices to encourage those who have not historically hired individuals with disabilities to open their doors.

Most recently in support of the Employment First initiative, 20 Pennsylvania college students with disabilities completed their 12-week paid internship with my Administration this summer. The interns worked in positions at state agencies related to their academic backgrounds and gained experience in their field of study and built connections with potential employers. I am proud of the steps our Commonwealth has made over the last several years to build Pennsylvania into a welcoming work environment for individuals with disabilities and I am pleased that your legislation looks to enhance opportunities for this population.

Sincerely,

Governor Tom Wolf

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