HARRISBURG, PA (April 11, 2016) — The #IWantToWork Campaign today offered its strong support for legislation to make Employment First policies permanent in Pennsylvania, and praised its leading legislative advocates, Sens. Bob Mensch, R-Montgomery, and Sean Wiley, D-Erie.

“Senators Mensch and Wiley’s legislation is just what Pennsylvanians with disabilities need to hear,” said said Dr. Josie Badger, #IWantToWork campaign manager. “People with disabilities want to work, and are ready to work. This legislation will help ensure they get opportunities to compete for jobs in integrated workplaces.”

“Sen. Wiley is absolutely right when he says a disability should never stand in the way of someone who wants to work,” Badger said. “Our #IWantToWork team of young adults with disabilities show every day their disabilities are not a barrier to success.”

The bipartisan legislation comes less than a month after Gov. Tom Wolf issued an Executive Order implementing a number of Employment First policies. The order defined Employment First to be that “competitive integrated employment is the first consideration and preferred outcome of publicly-funded education, training, employment and related services, and long-term supports and services for working-age Pennsylvanians with a disability.”

“We greatly appreciate Gov. Wolf’s order, but believe that legislation, adding reporting requirements, creating accountability among state agencies and putting Employment First priorities into law is an even stronger approach,” Badger added.

The Mensch-Wiley legislation (SB 1199) has strong bipartisan support. Among its 13 cosponsors are members of Senate Republican and Democratic leadership.

#IWantToWork is self-advocacy campaign powered by social media and staffed by young people with disabilities who want to be fully ready to enter the workforce.  The goal is to make Pennsylvania becomes an Employment First state through legislation to ensure people with disabilities have access to fully integrated employment.

#IWantToWork is a part of the Campaign for What Works, an initiative that builds non-partisan coalitions to support effective human services for Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens. It a voice for common-sense solutions that work for consumers, providers, and taxpayers

Contact: Stephen Drachler

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