JANESVILLE, WISCONSIN—Today, Congressman Bryan Steil (WI-01) visited Careers Industries in Racine and KANDU Industries in Janesville to discuss the importance of employment for individuals with disabilities. Steil urged Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy to protect jobs for disabled workers and ensure harmful policies that jeopardize these opportunities are not included in an upcoming stimulus bill.
“I am inspired by the workers and the families I met today. KANDU and Careers Industries give people of all abilities the opportunity to obtain employment, utilize their skills, and be supported by a greater community. Nearly 5,000 Wisconsinites are employed by organizations like KANDU and Careers Industries. These workers’ jobs, the positive benefits for their families, and contributions in our community must be protected. I am working to ensure Congress does not destroy job opportunities in Janesville, Racine, and across the state. A rushed, one-size-fits-all approach will have lasting consequences on disabled workers, their families, and extended communities. I am fighting so everyone has a chance for meaningful employment and to feel valued,” said Steil.
“Prevocational work programs offer real work opportunities and teach the individuals we serve many skills beyond the obvious work skill they are learning. These disabled individuals, a very vulnerable and valuable part of our society, want the right to choose where they work, where they live and with whom they associate with. If the special minimum wage law were eliminated, far too many of these individuals with significant disabilities would be unable to maintain competitive employment in the greater community resulting in major disruptions to their lives and the lives of their families,” said Joe Greene, Executive Director of Careers Industries.
“At KANDU Industries, we promote and provide diverse opportunities offering people with disabilities the ability to purse greater independence and explore their limitless potential. Our services provide our clients pride, dignity, and the feeling that their contribution to society is valued and important. The supportive caring working environment also provides our clients with critical friendships and a sense of being part of a productive team. The real and practical consequences of phasing-out and eliminating Section 14(c) would be that hundreds of thousands of people, with the most significant disabilities, who cannot meet productivity standards (with or without reasonable accommodations), would lose their jobs and their paychecks. This would be a tragic situation for many of our clients and their families,” said Kathy Hansen, Executive Director of KANDU Industries.
Read Steil’s letter to Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy on the issue here.