Release Date: 
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind Applauds Introduction of Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment Act

Urges Swift Passage of Legislation to Create Opportunity for Workers with Disabilities

Baltimore, Maryland (March 8, 2017): The National Federation of the Blind, the oldest and largest organization of blind Americans, today applauded the introduction of the Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment (TIME) Act of 2017 (H.R. 1377) by Representative Gregg Harper (R-MS). Congressman Harper introduced this legislation to remove barriers to employment opportunities for people with disabilities by phasing out Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and facilitating the transitioning of people with disabilities now working in segregated employment settings into competitive employment opportunities in their communities.

Congressman Gregg Harper said: “Section 14(c) of the FLSA, enacted out of a false understanding regarding the true capacity of people with disabilities, currently prevents nearly two-hundred thousand people with disabilities from gaining access to the work and training environments that build their capacity and allow them to acquire meaningful skills and better employment opportunities. Segregated work, which too often focuses on mundane tasks that are not transferrable to today's workplaces, is just an expression of low expectations that instills a false sense of incapacity in individuals who could become competitively employed with the proper training and support. I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance the bipartisan goal of increasing and improving employment opportunities for all Americans with disabilities.”

Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The National Federation of the Blind and our partners representing the 55 million Americans with disabilities seek only the kind of meaningful, remunerative work that other Americans take for granted. We applaud Congressman Harper for rejecting over seventy years of entrenched but false thinking about the capacity of people with disabilities. We strongly urge his colleagues in both houses of the United States Congress to transition from an ineffective employment model to a policy that recognizes the individuality, interests, and skills of workers with disabilities and allows them to live the lives they want. I, like Congressmen Harper, want my own children to be free of the shackles of low expectations and to lead an employment revolution that empowers people with disabilities in the twenty-first century.”