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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
REP. JOSH S. CUTLER
Vice-Chair, Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities