Gov. Wolf Sent Legislation to Help Young People With Disabilities

Gov. Wolf Sent Legislation to Help Young People With Disabilities

Prepare for Employment After Completing High SchoolSignature Proposal by #IWantToWork Campaign


HARRISBURG, April  – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted 199-0 today to send Gov. Wolf legislation championed by the #IWantToWork Campaign to ensure young people with disabilities are prepared for work as adults.  

House Bill 400 is expected to be signed by the governor. It will make significant changes in when and how the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation OVR) begins working with high school students with disabilities to prepare them for work after they graduate.

“This legislation will help young people with disabilities by ensuring they get part-time and summer jobs while they are in high school,” said Dr. Josie Badger, campaign manager. “Right now, most of these students graduate without any job experience. We know when that happens, unfortunately, most will never go to work.” 

Thousands of high school students with disabilities across Pennsylvania will benefit from the legislation authored by Rep. Mauree Gingrich, R-Lebanon. OVR will begin working with the students in their sophomore and junior years, rather than during late in their senior year in high school. Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Luzerne, wrote the initial draft of the legislation and championed HB 400 to a unanimous approval in the state Senate.

Businesses will benefit from the change coming when HB 400 becomes law. They will have a way to more easily identify and hire young people with disabilities, who are eager to work, and research shows, grow into dedicated, hard-working employees. On any given day there are an average of 200,000 open jobs across the Commonwealth. 

“Pennsylvania invests an average of $200,000 on the education of a young person with disabilities. Without job experience before graduating from high school, research shows three out of four young people with disabilities will never work.

The #IWantToWork self-advocacy campaign helps young people with disabilities in Pennsylvania get jobs and internships while in high school. Our goal is to let Pennsylvania policymakers know more needs to be done to help young people in high school by sending a strong message that young people with disabilities are ready to work, are good workers, and are great for businesses and employers.