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As National Disability Employment Awareness Month Concludes, Senator Murray Releases New Report Highlighting Employment Challenges Facing People with Disabilities

New report makes recommendations, urges action to modernize outdated disability employment policy and programs

 In observance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), Senator Murray also introduced a resolution in the Senate recognizing its importance

 Additionally, Senator Murray applauds National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) on its 40th anniversary

Washington, D.C. – As National Disability Employment Awareness Month comes to a close, today U.S. Senator Patty Murray, ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a new report highlighting the challenges people with disabilities face in the workforce when trying to secure or maintain employment. The report from the Senate HELP Minority staff offers key recommendations to modernize outdated policies and programs that have been a continued barrier to people with disabilities in employment, including phasing out authority that allows the Secretary of Labor to permit employers to pay people with disabilities wages less than the federal minimum wage. 

 “People with disabilities should have equal opportunities in the workforce as their peers without disabilities do and it’s beyond time our laws reflected this truth,” said Senator Murray. “This important report lays out several ways federal agencies and Congress can and should update our outdated laws and programs to empower individuals with disabilities and ensure that they, too, have an equal shot at the American dream.” 

 In addition to offering recommendations, the report examines disability employment outcomes with data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as well as summarizes outdated programs and disability employment policy and provides an overview of the HELP Committee’s findings on the vocational rehabilitation agencies’ continued efforts to implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act).

Prior to the release of the report, Senator Murray introduced a resolution in the Senate to recognize the importance of NDEAM. She also included a statement in the Congressional record in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), a federal agency which supports applied research, training and technical assistance to enhance the lives of people with disabilities.   

 The full report can be found HERE.