Experiences transitioning from the use of Section 14(c) certificates

keep 14 (c) as choice - Seattle took choice away

Seattle passed a law last year which eliminated the choice of working under a special certificate. None of those (there were 8 people) working wanted the law to pass but their voices were ignored -as were the comments and opinions of many other community members. Of those 8, 7 had their hours cut 20-40 percent (the only person who did not have hours cut only worked 6 hours a week) - so they made about the same amount of money but their time out in the community was cut short.

 

To many, these jobs are their gateway to the community - there is much more to think about besides the actual wage and if the person makes the choice to work in these group supported employment settings, that choice should be honored.

 

In Washington, we are an "employment first" state - our statistics for DD clients in "employment services" is greatly inflated - for those with high support needs only 50% may actually have a job and may only be working 1-9 hours a week - that counts as "being employed" . DD clients need to be enrolled in "employment services" for 9 months before requesting a change to the Community access service - that means that they could go 9 months doing nothing and losing skills when they could have been utilizing the community access services instead. Unfortunately, in Washington, one can not be simultaneously enrolled in both employment and community access services - it's on or the other but only after the mandatory 9 months in employment services.

 

For 9 months, the DD clients are considered "employed" even if they do not have a job but are on the "employment service" when looking at these statistics, it's important to understand what they actually mean. Washington State is not as great as the numbers make it look.

 

My son does work in supported employment with 1:1 job coaching. Given his disability he will always need 1:1 job coaching - it's not a matter of needing more time to learn the job. This is expensive - it's great for him - he works 8 hours a week and loves his job but if this was the only option for all people in his situation it would be too costly to maintain - then what?

 

We need these choices and alternatives so that everyone can work if they desire to.

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Idea No. 134