[Nfbnet-members-list] National Federation of the Blind Letter of Support for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

David Andrews via Nfbnet-members-list nfbnet-members-list at nfbnet.org
Sat May 31 03:20:46 UTC 2014

Dear Fellow Federationists:

The letter below summarizes our position on the 
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. No 
action is needed at this time. We will keep you updated on next steps.


# # #

May 30, 2014

The Honorable Tom Harkin                          The Honorable Lamar Alexander
731 Hart Senate Office 
Building                             455 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 
20510                                           Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable John 
Kline                                        The Honorable George Miller
2439 Rayburn House Office 
Building                     2205 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 
20515                                           Washington, DC 20515

Dear Senator Harkin, Senator Alexander, 
Congressman Kline, and Congressman Miller:

The National Federation of the Blind, the oldest 
and largest organization of blind people in the 
United States, supports the passage of the 
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Title 
IV of this legislation, the Rehabilitation Act, 
is the product of serious and substantive 
discussions and negotiations with the blind and 
other Americans with disabilities. It is an 
important first step toward eliminating wage 
discrimination against people with disabilities, 
and it focuses the rehabilitation system on 
providing quality rehabilitation services that 
empower people with all disabilities to obtain 
competitive integrated employment.

In particular, we believe that the compromise 
language in Section 511, while not perfect, will 
help reduce the number of disabled youth being 
tracked into sheltered subminimum wage 
employment. We are also pleased that the 
Rehabilitation Services Administration will 
remain within the Department of Education and 
that programs for the older blind will also 
continue to be handled by this department. The 
critical importance of the Rehabilitation 
Services Administration is properly maintained 
because its director will continue to be 
appointed by the president and confirmed by the United States Senate.

The National Federation of the Blind is 
disappointed in the shifting of the National 
Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation 
Research to the Department of Health and Human 
Services. We also disagree with the reduction in 
membership of the National Council on Disability, 
a significant downgrade of this important voice 
on disability policy. We are also disappointed 
with the lowering of standards for the 
qualifications of rehabilitation counselors.

As a whole, however, the National Federation of 
the Blind supports this legislation and believes 
that it represents a significant improvement in 
policies designed to create and enhance 
employment opportunities for American workers 
with disabilities. We thank each of you for your 
hard work in crafting this important bill and 
look forward to working with you to see it become law.


John G. Paré Jr.
Executive Director for Advocacy and Policy
National Federation of the Blind

         David Andrews and long white cane Harry.
E-Mail:  dandrews at visi.com or david.andrews at nfbnet.org

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