Everyone deserves the right to work. Yet, people with disabilities in Pennsylvania are twice as likely to be unemployed than those without disabilities. We need your help as we take action to change this. In May 2015, a group of over 1,000 self-advocates formed the #IWantToWork campaign and changed policy to make it easier for young people with disabilities to gain job skills and work experience they need during high school. Advocates from the campaign connected with legislators in Harrisburg and their home districts to share their stories, ask for support of the legislation and to take a selfie with their state policymakers. Those selfies were shared on social media and caught the attention of tens of thousands of followers, creating a wave of bi-partisan support for the bill. This big win increased funding for job coaches to help high school students with disabilities find part-time and summer employment to prepare them to enter the workforce and adulthood (House Bill 400, now Act 26).
Now the #IWantToWork campaign needs your help to ensure the same opportunities for all people with disabilities, beyond the age of 21. The campaign is currently advocating #EmploymentFirstPA, for Senate Bill 1199 and House Bill 2130, legislation that will permanently make change from “caring for” to “employing” people with disabilities who can work, want to work and deserve to work. We will make Pennsylvania the 21st state to become an “employment first state.” Read more about Employment First legislation here.
You can help make every advocate’s voice heard as they motivate systemic change. Every amount makes a difference! Here are some great examples of what you can help us do:
- Help us reach hundreds of people with our Employment First social media messages
- Contribute to the creation of educational materials to help us spread the word
- Help our self-advocates travel to the capitol to advocate for Employment First
- Fund attendance for one volunteer self-advocate at critical events where they can make their voices heard
- Support our fund to create an educational advocacy video that will increase reach and awareness of Employment First