Disability employment bill passes House

Bill would create position to promote employment policies

HARRISBURG, April 10 – With nearly two-thirds of Pennsylvanians with a disability struggling to engage in the workforce, on Wednesday in a bipartisan vote the Pennsylvania House passed H.B. 1834, which would help increase workforce opportunities by expanding and empowering the state’s Employment First Oversight Commission.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Dan Miller, D-Allegheny and the House Majority Whip, would create a full-time executive director position within the commission, tasked with helping promote and ensure integrated employment in state and county agencies and organizations that are publicly funded.

“Like many states, Pennsylvania has struggled to engage our citizens with disabilities in the workforce. There are a lot of opportunities, but also unique challenges when it comes to finding real-world, practical solutions to bridging this divide,” Miller said. “This bill would enable the commission to take a more proactive approach to creating practical on-the-ground solutions to bringing workforce and employment opportunities to our disability community -- something that is sorely needed.”

The Employment First Oversight Commission was created as part of the Pennsylvania Employment First Act (Act 36 of 2018), which was designed to ensure that people with disabilities can get jobs that pay minimum wage or more, and that those jobs are in an integrated workplace. Employment First applies to all Pennsylvania departments and agencies. Among its many duties, the commission creates annual reports that track and establish measurable goals for the implementation of the Employment First Act.