Month: September 2019

WorkAbility hearing set

The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities has designated a subcommittee to further study the critical issue of workforce development for persons with disabilities. I am very pleased to lead this effort, which is focused on identifying solutions to promote opportunities for individuals with disabilities to participate and succeed in the workforce.

Our “WorkAbility” subcommittee has been hard at work since the spring, meeting with disability advocates, employers, employees and other key stakeholders. We want to make sure all voices are heard so we have also scheduled a public hearing to be held Tuesday, October 22 at the State House.

This hearing is designed to encourage individuals with disabilities to share their own personal stories and experiences in the workforce. What are the challenges they have faced? The successes? The hardships? How can Massachusetts do even better to remove potential barriers or create incentives? These are the stories we would like to hear. Here are the details on the hearing:

“WorkAbility” Hearing
Tuesday, October 22, 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
State House, Room B-1

A few notes about logistics: The hearing room is accessible through the Ashburton entrance of the State House without the need for any elevator or stairs. Assistive listening technology will be available and we will have a real time closed captioning system (CART) in use. A sign language interpreter has also been requested. If there are other special accommodations we can make please just let us know and we would be glad to do so.

To better accommodate the number of expected attendees and to avoid anyone having to sit and wait for an extended period of time, we will be scheduling testimony in half-hour blocks. We do ask that everyone confine their remarks to no longer than 3-5 minutes each. Additional testimony is welcome to be submitted in writing or other recorded form.

Our WorkAbility subcommittee will take in all the testimony and use it to help inform our review of state policy on disability workforce development. We expect to issue a formal report later this term with concrete recommendations and action items. Hearing from as many individuals as possible is paramount and will greatly aid us in our work. If needed, we are also certainly open to scheduling a subsequent hearing and/or hosting a listening session in another area of the state.

If you or someone in your organization is interested in attending and testifying at our hearing, please let my office know by RSVP’ing at 617-722-2810 or emailing my Legislative Director, Cole Angley at cole.angley@mahouse.gov.  

I’d also like to recognize and thank the fellow members of our subcommittee. They are Sen. Diana DiZoglio, Rep. Nika Elugardo, Rep. Kimberly Ferguson, Rep. Denise Garlick, Rep. Tami Gouveia, Rep. Stephen Hay, Rep. Jon Hecht, Rep. Kathy LaNatra, Rep. David LeBoeuf, Rep. Matt Muratore and Rep. Michael Soter.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you as we work together to better workforce opportunities for individuals with disabilities in the Commonwealth.

Warmest regards,

REP. JOSH S. CUTLER

Vice-Chair, Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities

Rep. Cutler Remarks at Disability Employment Conference

Today I had the opportunity to deliver closing remarks at a statewide conference at the DCU Center in Worcester on the topic of disability employment. The event was hosted by the Mass. Rehabilitation Commission and the purpose was to help business leaders learn how to better to hire, promote, and retain qualified workers with disabilities. This is an issue I am proud to help lead in the legislature with our “WorkAbility” subcommittee.

Here in Massachusetts we don’t have an abundance of natural resources to power our economy –– our greatest asset is our skilled and educated workforce and we can’t afford to leave anyone on the sidelines. And yet there is a vast pool of talented individuals, who might happen to have a particular disability, that we haven’t sufficiently tapped into. If you have a moment please take a listen (the video quality is not great, but the audio is fine) and please help us spread this important message.

New England Village ribbon cutting in Pembroke

Excited to officially celebrate the grand opening of New England Villages Career/Community Center in Pembroke. This new facility offers a range of career and job placement services for folks with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Thanks to Executive Director Gail Brown, NEV board members, the Pembroke & Plymouth Area Chambers of Commerce and all the local business leaders who came out to support this effort.

Hanson Economic development report

Promoting economic development along the Rt 27 corridor of Hanson has long been a priority of mine. Pleased to secure state funds to have outside expert review options and make recommendations to aid our local decision makers. “We think there is a strong potential, from a market standpoint, for mixed-use office/retail/restaurant and residential development in the vicinity of the MBTA station.”

Coastal Resilience Grants announced

Great to be here at Gray’s Beach in Kingston for announcement of new FY20 Coastal Resilience Grants. These grants support local efforts to plan for and reduce coastal storm and climate change impacts in our coastal communities. Duxbury received two grants totaling just over $300K.

I was joined by my colleagues Sen. Patrick O’Connor, Rep. Sue Giffords and Rep. Kathy LaNatra and leaders from the Executive Office of Energy Environmental Affairs and the Office of Coastal Zone Management which made the awards.

The Duxbury Beach Reservation will receive $131K for the design and permitting of natural storm damage protection measures. The town of Duxbury, jointly with the town of Marshfield, will receive another $175K for beach and dune nourishment at critically eroded beaches in the two towns.

Great job by the Duxbury Beach Reservation and the Town of Duxbury planning department which submitted the grant applications. With rising sea levels, more frequent storm events and aging coastal infrastructure, we are facing a triple threat. These funds will help our local communities be better prepared and more climate resilient. Thanks to the Baker-Polito administration and especially to Speaker DeLeo who has prioritize climate adaptation funding in the legislature.