[First Reprint]

SENATE, No. 995

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JANUARY 30, 2020

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  STEPHEN M. SWEENEY

District 3 (Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem)

Senator  ANTHONY M. BUCCO

District 25 (Morris and Somerset)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senator Bateman

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires DOLWD and DHS to conduct assessment of community rehabilitation programs and community businesses.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As amended by the Senate on June 3, 2021.

  


An Act concerning employment for persons with disabilities and supplementing P.L.1955, c.64 (C.34:16-20 et seq.).

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    The Legislature finds and declares that:

     a.     New Jersey residents with disabilities have a stake in choosing the type of employment that best suits their needs. Each individual and, where applicable, that individual’s family or caregiver, deserves the State’s support in maintaining that choice and continuing to allow an array of services and employment options to be provided that will best suit that individual.

     b.    New Jersey residents with disabilities should not have to sacrifice their current employment or otherwise be limited in their choice of future employment, whether or not currently employed; and this is an issue of choice and freedom that we respect and honor in New Jersey.

     c.     New Jersey residents with disabilities deserve to have the same choice of where, how, and with whom they work and spend their time as other New Jersey residents.

     d.    Employment offered by community rehabilitation programs and community businesses such as work crews, call centers, employment through contracts under the "Rehabilitation Facilities Set-Aside Act," P.L.1991, c.147 (C.30:6-33 et al.), employment through AbilityOne contracts, and other independent work assignments provide New Jersey residents with disabilities the opportunity to meet new people, gain new skills, and earn the respect, pride, and other ancillary human benefits that come with earning a paycheck and making a contribution to society.

     e.     Section 705 of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) (29 U.S.C. s.705)  includes in the definition of “competitive integrated employment” work that is performed on a full-time or part-time basis, including self-employment; that is at a location where the employee interacts with other persons who are not individuals with disabilities, not including supervisory personnel or individuals who are providing services to such employee; to the same extent that individuals who are not individuals with disabilities and who are in comparable positions interact with other persons; and that, as appropriate, presents opportunities for advancement that are similar to those for other employees who are not individuals with disabilities and who have similar positions .

     f.     Section 721 of WIOA (29 U.S.C. s.721) also clearly gives the responsibility to determine if employment meets the criteria of

“competitive integrated employment” to the designated State unit in the State.  The designated State units are the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired in the Department of Human Services.

     g.    Accordingly, it is altogether fitting and proper for the Legislature to establish a process for assessing the employment opportunities afforded to individuals with disabilities by community rehabilitation programs and community businesses.

 

     2.    The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired in the Department of Human Services shall conduct a case-by-case assessment of employment offered by community rehabilitation programs and community businesses, including but not limited to, work crews, call centers, employment through contracts under the "Rehabilitation Facilities Set-Aside Act," P.L.1991, c.147 (C.30:6-33 et al.), employment through AbilityOne contracts, and other independent work assignments 1for which an individual who has been found eligible has applied for a position,1 to determine if the employment opportunity meets the criteria for “competitive integrated employment” under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (29 U.S.C. s.705). 1[The division and the commission shall conduct this case-by-case assessment with the presumption that employment provided by a community rehabilitation program meets the criteria for competitive integrated employment]  The division and the commission shall be prohibited from disqualifying work programs from being considered “competitive integrated employment” solely because the programs are provided through AbilityOne contracts or contracts under the “Rehabilitation Facilities Set-Aside Act,” P.L.1991, c.147 (C.30:6-33 et al.)1.

 

     3.    This act shall take effect immediately.