More people with disabilities in North Carolina will have the opportunity to work for at least minimum wage. They will have the opportunity to do this work with others who do not have disabilities. This is because the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and two disability advocacy organizations have a signed agreement to work toward these goals. Under the agreement, DHHS has a plan to move to updated employment services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The agreement and the DHHS plan state that DHHS will stop paying for employment services in sheltered workshops where people with disabilities work and receive less than minimum wage. This change will take place over several years. DHHS will instead pay for enhanced services such as supported employment, customized employment, and other services to help people with disabilities work in the community. This is called Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE). This phased CIE work will require more funds, and DHHS will ask the NC General Assembly for the funding needed to support these efforts.
“Equitable access to employment opportunities with a livable wage should be available to all,” said DHHS Secretary Kody Kinsley.
You can read more about this agreement at the DHHS website. You can also read about it at the Disability Rights North Carolina website. Disability Rights North Carolina and the Center for Public Representation are the two disability advocacy organizations that entered the agreement with DHHS.