Assemblyman Santabarbara: New Legislation Unveiled to Increase Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara announced he has partnered with Assemblymembers Tom Abinanti, Chris Burdick and Harvey Epstein to unveil a legislative package that aims to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

“Everyone deserves meaningful employment that allows them to provide for themselves, but people with disabilities face unique challenges when they’re looking for a job,” Santabarbara said. “In fact, only 23% of people with disabilities are employed compared to 70% of the general population. As the father of a son with autism, I’ve seen firsthand how employment inequity can impact his everyday life. I look forward to working with my colleagues and to make these goals a reality here in New York.”

Santabarbara’s bill would establish a program to study customized employment opportunities. The process would subdivide traditional positions of employment into separate manageable tasks intended for individuals with developmental disabilities (A.2381). This bill is part of a legislative package that will provide thousands of employment opportunities to people with disabilities and will provide increased options for workforce development training while encouraging businesses to increase their accessibility.

This legislative package also includes bills that would:

  • Allow up to 5,000 state employment positions to be filled by persons with a physical or mental disability and up to 2,000 state employment positions may be filled by disabled veterans and veterans with disabilities (A.8157);
  • Establish a goal of 7% employment of individuals with disabilities within state agencies, the state legislature, unified court system and state contractors and subcontractors (A.3137);
  • Require grants issued by the workforce development initiative to utilize at least 15% of preferred sources for projects receiving these grants (A.8549);
  • Create the “EmployAbility Pledge” pilot program to encourage businesses to hire people with disabilities and support an inclusive workplace;
  • Expand the state Education Department’s Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) which helps individuals with disabilities achieve and maintain employment (A.8667);
  • Establish the people with disabilities access to programs commission to streamline the application process for services offered by New York State agencies, including employment-related services;
  • Require job opportunities in the civil service be posted on the Department of Civil Service website and require a separate website be maintained for job opportunities available through civil service law 55-b/55c programs (A.8599); and
  • Establish the Office of the Advocate for People with Disabilities to advocate on behalf of people with disabilities and assure that they are afforded the opportunities and rights they deserve (A.3130).