According to Disability Scoop, new federal guidance is defining what qualifies as competitive integrated employment for people with disabilities. The U.S. Department of Education issued new guidance for the vocational rehabilitation program (replacing the 2017 information).
Federal law requires that individuals with disabilities receiving services through vocational rehabilitation must be provided the opportunity to obtain competitive integrated employment.
For a job to qualify, the guidance indicates that an employee with a disability must be paid at least minimum wage and compensated on par with workers without disabilities doing the same jobs.
Also, the job must be one that is “typically found in the community” where employees with disabilities interact with people without disabilities to the same extent as other workers. The position must also offer opportunities for advancement. Self-employment counts as competitive integrated employment as well, the document indicates.
The updated guidance is a result of three years of meetings with stakeholders, the Education Department said.
According to Disability Scoop, group settings like janitorial or landscaping crews may also be considered competitive integrated employment if they meet the requirements outlined. But, positions through the AbilityOne Program and other situations where individuals with disabilities are hired to “comply with a direct labor-hour ratio of individuals with disabilities required by federal law” likely would not qualify.
People with disabilities do not have to choose competitive integrated employment, the Education Department said, but that is the only route supported by the vocational rehabilitation program.
Source: Disability Scoop