Wednesday, February 10, 2010



We commend Governor Chris Gregoire for her recognition that jobs for everyone are the key to rebuilding our economic future. We applaud her leadership in issuing a policy brief Reforming How We Care For Washingtonians With Developmental Disabilities that states “people with developmental disabilities are best served in integrated community-based settings rather than in the State’s large institutions for the disabled”.

As the transition to community-based services is more fully implemented, funding to help individuals find jobs must not be reduced. The State’s own Working Age Adult Policy mandates “all individuals, of working age, regardless of the challenge of their disability, will be afforded an opportunity to pursue competitive employment”. Funding and policy must remain aligned to protect this opportunity.

Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRP’s) are the State and Counties partners in supporting persons with developmental disabilities to find and maintain employment. Yet over the past decade, vendor rate increases to CRP’s have totaled only 4.6% threatening their financial viability and ability to retain professional staff. The 3% reduction to County Employment Contracts included in the 2009-2011 Biennial Operating Budget has further weakened this vital community partnership. The Governor’s proposed additional 3% reduction to employment services in the Supplemental Budget could very well be the tipping point that puts hundreds of people with disabilities on the unemployment rolls. This is not the way to rebuild our economic future. We ask Washington State Legislators to:

Maintain Funding for Supported Employment Services

• 9,810 Washington citizens depend upon these critical community services.
• The recent Washington State Institute for Public Policy review of research studies requested by the Legislature states “supported employment was found to increase clients’ wage earnings and taxes paid, and a reduction in public costs”.
• Washington State has consistently been in the top three States nationwide with regard to success in community employment. This outstanding performance record must not be jeopardized by more budget reductions.

For more information about how you can help preserve jobs for people with disabilities and work with your legislators, please go to the Community Employment Alliance website for more information about this and other important issues.

posted by AtWork! at


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