Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry has the following grant opportunities that are currently available:

Pennsylvania Industry Partnership Program (IP) Grant:

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) announces the availability of approximately $4,000,000 in funding for the Pennsylvania Industry Partnership (IP) Program Grant awards. L&I will be supporting Industry Partnership Programming through the competitive award of grants of up to $250,000 to support Industry Partnerships across the commonwealth to improve economic growth, while preparing workers with training for their current positions and future advancement. Projects funded through Industry Partnership grants should identify workforce, education and training, and economic development gaps; coordinate regional needs to support industry needs; identify public and community resources to address industry-identified needs; and increase collaboration among businesses within a targeted industry sector. Eligible applicants include local workforce development boards, non-profit and non-governmental entities, community-based organizations, educational and post-secondary educational organizations, labor organizations, business associations, and economic development entities.

More information can be found here, including info on an upcoming bidder webinar on 10/6/22. The IP grants close on 10/28/22. If you have questions or concerns regarding this grant opportunity, please email L&I.

Schools-to-Work Program (STWP) Grant — Round 3:

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) announces the availability of approximately $2,500,000.00 of funding for the Schools-to-Work Program (STWP) Grant award(s). L&I will be establishing a STW Program through the competitive award of a grant(s) to a sponsor(s) in partnership with schools in the commonwealth to support the establishment or enhancement of a workforce development partnership between schools, employers, organizations, or associations to create pre-apprenticeship apprenticeship pathways. This NGA seeks applications to support this statewide initiative. Grant awards may not exceed $250,000.00.

L&I also has funding currently available for school-to-work program grants. The STWP grant closes on 10/12/22. If you have questions or concerns regarding this grant opportunity, please email L&I.

If you have further questions, please contact your RCPA Policy Director.

Immediate Action Required for Regulatory Compliance – Please Read Carefully

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is providing a critical update to those providers who hold a license to operate a facility licensed by DHS. On August 18, 2022, DHS and RCPA released an alert regarding changes in how licensed agencies provide information related to civil rights compliance. Since that time, DHS has received several questions and is providing further clarification.

  1. When sending the CRC form or the CRC attestation form, please send it as a PDF. Please do NOT send as a secure file, secure email, or link to a secure portal to retrieve the document. We are unable to access those forms, and they will be returned. When emailing the forms for submission:
    1. Use the following naming convention in the subject line when submitting Renewal HS2125:
      • Attestation – Program Office – Name of Facility or Agency – License number or APP number if assigned
        • Examples:
          • Attestation – OCYF – Apple Agency Home – 123450
          • Attestation – ODP – Apple Agency – APP-00123456
    2. Use the following naming convention in the subject line when submitting a new application HS2126:
      • New – Program Office – Type of Service – Name of Facility or Agency
        • Examples:
          • New – BHSL  – PCH – Apple Personal Care Home
          • New – ODP – Life Sharing – Apple Agency – APP-00223456
  2. In the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) and the Office Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), there are providers who have one license that cover multiple locations. In this case, you only need to submit one form (either the HS2125 or the HS2126) and list the addresses of each satellite site/location that falls under that license.
  3. If in the past, you completed the Civil Rights Compliance Questionnaire (CRCQ) annually, as part of the renewal license process, you will need to complete the Civil Rights Attestation (HS2125) when you receive your next notice to complete the renewal application process.
  4. If you have a current license, your CRC was approved. You will need to complete the Civil Rights Attestation (HS2125) when you receive your next notice to complete the renewal application process.
  5. For Assisted Living and Personal Care Home providers, when submitting the renewal application for a license, the renewal application, the renewal application fee, and the Attestation (HS2125) must be sent in hard copy in one envelope to Licensing Administration in Harrisburg, as noted on the cover letter of the renewal application packet.
  6. Please ensure that the “Non-Discrimination in Employment” policy statement and the “Non-Discrimination in Services” policy statement issued by your facility contain updated contact information (as indicated below). If this administrative update is the only change that has occurred since the facility’s last license was issued, it is not necessary to provide updated copies to the Department as part of Form HS 2125.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Department of Human Services
BEO/Office of Civil Rights Compliance
Room 225, Health & Welfare Building
P.O. Box 2675 Harrisburg, PA 17120
Inquiries: (717) 787-1127

Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centralized Case Management Operations 200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Room 509F HHH Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20201
Customer Response Center: (800) 368-1019 TDD: (800) 537-7697

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
801 Market Street, Suite 1000
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3126
Inquiries: (800) 669-4000
Complaint Process Overview

Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
333 Market Street, 8th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Inquiries: (717) 787-4410

Message from the Department of Human Services (DHS):

Harrisburg, PA — Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jennifer Berrier and Department of Human Services (DHS) Acting Secretary Meg Snead today announced the Wolf Administration’s goal of using a $14 million federal grant to help Pennsylvanians with disabilities earning subminimum wage transition to competitive, integrated employment.

“Individuals with disabilities contribute their valuable skills, talents, time, energy and perspectives to Pennsylvania’s dynamic economy every day in professions and industries as diverse as our population. They deserve the same protections as all other workers, including the right to earn at least minimum wage for their work,” Secretary Berrier said. “The Wolf Administration will use this funding to help individuals with disabilities and their families learn about and take advantage of opportunities in competitive, integrated employment. There can and should be a role for everyone who wants to and is able to work, and we are grateful to those employers who have already committed to providing competitive, integrated employment.”

Pennsylvania is one of 14 states to receive grant awards from the federal Department of Education for the Subminimum Wage to Competitive Integrated Employment (SWTCIE) demonstration project. L&I’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) and DHS’s Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) will use the funding to develop a five-year plan to support Pennsylvanians with disabilities in transitioning out of subminimum-wage employment — including more than 5,400 people who currently work in “sheltered workshops,” most of whom have intellectual disabilities or autism — as well as students and youth with disabilities seeking to enter competitive, integrated employment (CIE).

“There can be an end to the subminimum wage exception for individuals with disabilities, but it is incumbent on all of us to make that happen. Workplaces should examine their policies to see which ones are outdated or intentionally or unintentionally discriminating against individuals with disabilities,” said Acting Secretary Snead. “Pennsylvanians with intellectual disabilities and autism are vital members of our society and of our workforces, and DHS is proud to support opportunities to help them find gainful competitive integrated employment. We are grateful to the federal government for this grant so we can continue this work.”

The practice of paying individuals with disabilities subminimum wage is legal under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, a federal law. In September 2020, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights called for an end to subminimum wage in a report, saying that the program has been “inconsistent with the civil rights protections to which people with disabilities are entitled.” To date, several states have, or are in the process of, ending subminimum wage for people with disabilities or are in the process of phasing it out.

The federal grant will fund Pennsylvania’s Integrated Vocational Engagement and Supports Team (InVEST) Project, a wraparound model for assisting individuals with disabilities — including those considering or currently engaged in employment at subminimum wage — their families and employers, to move from subminimum wage employment to competitive, integrated employment.

The project aligns with the commonwealth’s Employment First philosophical approach that CIE be the first and preferred option and will enhance the commonwealth’s existing network of community rehabilitation service providers by allocating additional resources for staff who will work directly with CIE employers proactively engaged in supporting employees with disabilities and creating a culture of accommodation for all employees. These employer liaisons and employment specialists will be embedded with CIE employers to support employees with disabilities, facilitate communication, create a smooth hiring process, and provide on-the-job supports to ensure success. An interdisciplinary and collaborative resource team will anticipate and respond to the SWTCIE participants’ employment-related needs.

The Wolf Administration encourages all employers to consider learning more about this topic and becoming involved in Employment First, which requires any group receiving public funding to ensure that employment is the main focus for education, training, or support services for anyone with a disability who is eligible to work. Employers can explore opportunities to enhance their workforce by hiring people with disabilities who are invaluable members of our communities, workforce, and economy.

a memo is on the keyboard of a computer as a reminder: meeting

As a reminder, the SCO Subcommittee will meet next Thursday, October 6, 2022, from 9:15 am – 12:00 pm. We are honored to have Deputy Secretary Kristin Ahrens and Lauren House from the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) joining us at this meeting. We hope to have an interactive discussion on the role of Supports Coordination Organizations in the ODP system.

If you haven’t already registered, please do so here. If you have any questions, please contact Carol Ferenz.