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As a result of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), new restrictions on subminimum wage went into effect on July 22, 2016. These new requirements under Section 511 of WIOA should be used to divert people from subminimum wage employment, and move individuals from subminimum wage jobs into competitive integrated employment.

As stated in WIOA, the goal of the Act is to “ensure that individuals with disabilities, especially youth with disabilities, have a meaningful opportunity to prepare for, obtain, maintain, advance in, or regain competitive integrated employment, including supported or customized employment.”

The sub-minimum wage provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act dates to 1938, which allows employers to obtain special minimum wage certificates from the Department of Labor. The certificates give employers the right to pay disabled workers according to their abilities, with no bottom limit to the wage.

Segregating people with disabilities limits their opportunities for advancement and economic mobility. The provision is based on the false assumption that workers with disabilities are less productive than workers without disabilities. However, successful employment models have emerged in the last 78 years to assist people with significant disabilities in acquiring the job skills needed for competitive work. The goal of employers should be to transition workers into a traditional workplace, not perpetuate their segregation.

Read The Full WIOA – Section 511

The Saudi Student Association at University of Nebraska - Lincoln staffed the concessions stand at the Guardians of Freedom Air Show, and donated the proceeds of $1,440 to Disability Rights Nebraska. The Association is a 60-student group led by Ahmed Al-Sahari, the President of the association. They chose a disability rights focus for their donation, and are considering doing this again next year.

Thank you to Saudi Student Association at UNL for their hard work and generous donation. Click HERE to watch a conversation with Ahmed Al-Sahari.

Aside from donation, there are many other ways to get involved in advocacy work and defend disability rights. Disability Rights Nebraska provides volunteer opportunities for individuals wanting to join us in our advocacy work. Individuals with disabilities, family members, advocates and persons interested in the legal and human rights of all people with disabilities are encouraged to join us. Get involved today!

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