Just what do we mean by “competitive employment?”
House Bill 319 defines competitive employment as: “work in the competitive labor market that is performed on a full-time or part-time basis in an integrated setting and for which a person with a disability is compensated at or above the minimum wage, but not less than the customary wage and level of benefits paid by the employer for the same or similar work performed by persons without disabilities.” The word “competitive” implies that someone obtained a job by interviewing successfully in a scenario where the employer had a choice of candidates.

What does the term “integrated setting” mean?
Again, we return to the language of HB 319 for our answer: An integrated setting is one “typically found in the community in which persons with disabilities interact with persons without disabilities, other than persons without disabilities who are providing services to those persons with disabilities, to the same extent that persons without disabilities in comparable positions interact with other persons.” If you’re familiar with the term “sheltered workshop” then you can think of an integrated setting as the exact opposite.

Does the policy mean that persons with disabilities have to work in competitive employment?
No. It simply means that competitive employment is the preferred choice for persons with disabilities.

Do employers have to give hiring preferences to persons with disabilities?
The Employment First law does not give hiring preferences to persons with disabilities. However, other laws (such as Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act that establishes a national 7% utilization goal for federal contractors) may result in hiring preferences for persons with disabilities.

My daughter is 20 and she has an intellectual disability. She wants “a real job” but her transition plan seems to be channeling her in a different direction. What can she do?
Make sure that her school and teachers know about her vocational aspirations and that they are giving her the supports she needs to achieve the kind of employment she wants. If you’re not making any headway, let the Commission know by completing this form.