Lawmakers pushing to increase employment opportunities for the disabled


ALBANY (WRGB) – State lawmakers are highlighting the need for increased employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Thursday morning, New York State Industries for the Disabled (NYSID) held a rally at the Legislative Office Building. They’re pushing for legislation that would update the state’s current Preferred Source Law.

“There's a program that's been around for 40 years called the Preferred Source Program that allows certain goods and services that the government will procure to be fulfilled by individuals with disabilities.” Corey Heritage with NYSID said.

The law is currently 40 years old, and advocates say it’s outdated. They say that affects the number and types of jobs available for people with disabilities.

“We have a 70% unemployment rate for people with disabilities in NY state, and New York State also went from 34th in the country as far as employment for people with disabilities to 40th.” Heritage said.

The changes include defining prevailing market price, expanding competitive price alternatives, re-establishing the ability to sub-contract, updating the list of Preferred Source Offerings, and more.

Lawmakers say changing the law would have no financial implications on the state, but it would help create positive life changes for disabled people.

Advocates hope the legislature passes the updated Preferred Source law before the end of the session on June 20th.

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