U.S. Department of Labor Announces Rule to Increase Minimum Wage for Federal Contract Employees

By Abeer Sikder, Policy Analyst

On November 24, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor published a final rule that increases the hourly minimum wage to $15 for federal contract employees beginning January 30, 2022, up from the current rate of $10.95 per hour. The rule also eliminates the exemption for federal contractors with disabilities to be paid less than the minimum wage.

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Federal and State Subminimum Wage Legal and Policy Framework

State Exchange on Employment & Disability

Federal Legal and Policy Framework

Under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are authorized, after receiving a certificate from the Wage and Hour Division, to pay subminimum wages (SMWs)—wages less than the federal minimum wage—to workers who have disabilities “for the job  being performed.” The certificate also allows the payment of wages that are less than the prevailing wage to workers who have disabilities for the work being performed on contracts subject to the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA) and the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA).

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Ohio Program Sees Success With Disability Inclusion, Preparation for State Government Careers

By Sean Slone, Senior Policy Analyst

An Ohio vocational apprentice program championed by the governor is encouraging the hiring of individuals with disabilities in state government, program officials say. As National Apprenticeship Week is celebrated from November 15-21, the Ohio program’s early success, focus on disability inclusion, collaborative approach, and pandemic-era resilience may be worth a closer look for other states with the same goals.

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Apprenticeships the Focus of New CSG Report, Upcoming Zoom Event

By Sean Slone, Senior Policy Analyst

Despite some obstacles early on in the pandemic, apprenticeship programs appear to have a bright future with states exploring a variety of strategies to strengthen an important career pathway for all, including individuals with disabilities. While apprenticeships have traditionally been limited to industries like construction, manufacturing and transportation, that is starting to change with states and employers offering opportunities in fields like state government, health care, information technology, and cybersecurity.

That is one of the conclusions of a new report from The Council of State Governments and the State Exchange on Employment & Disability titled, “The Future of Apprenticeship: Inclusion, Expansion, and the Post-Pandemic World of Work.”


First Episode Psychosis Webinar

Webinar Announcement

First Episode Psychosis Webinar

The Center for Advancing Policy on Employment for Youth will host a webinar on “Funding Mental Health Service Delivery for Youth with First Episode of Psychosis: Using Resources Available through the Workforce Development System and American Rescue Plan” on August 24 at 2 p.m. ET. This webinar, and an accompanying issue brief on “Supporting Recovery for Youth with First Episode Psychosis via the Workforce Development System and American Rescue Plan,” will address effective practices and funds for state and local policymakers to support people who experience their first episode of psychosis. Speakers will discuss funding options including community mental health service block grants, elementary and secondary school emergency relief funds, American Rescue Plan funds and more.




Currently, state and local policymakers are adopting and implementing policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This policy brief summarizes guidance issued by Federal Government agencies that can assist in ensuring state and local policy aligns with our nation’s civil rights laws and other disability-related policies. 


Webinar: Promoting Employment for People with Disabilities through Statewide Coordination

Promoting high-quality employment and training opportunities for people with disabilities has long been a priority for governors, state agency leaders and state legislators. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed many new barriers and challenges for workers with disabilities, and has amplified and accelerated many trends that were already leading to rapid changes for work, workers and workplaces. To promote a strong and equitable recovery, state leaders can work together to ensure that their workforce development ecosystems and economic recovery agendas are inclusive of and effective for people with disabilities. In this webinar, The Council of State Governments, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, and the National Conference of State Legislatures will discuss how state leaders can facilitate statewide coordination to center disability employment in workforce recovery efforts and share lessons learned through their engagement in the State Exchange on Employment and Disability.

The webinar will take place Tuesday, August 19th, 4-5pm EST.

Register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_8uxJchdKT9GRmVCgItms3A

Resources for Addressing Mental Health in State Government COVID-19 Responses

By Dexter Horne and the State Exchange on Employment & Disability

In 2019, one in five American adults experienced a mental illness, and new research suggests that the pandemic is increasing the number of people experiencing anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and insomnia worldwide. These trends impact workplace morale and productivity, particularly for workers age 40-59. Over the past year, state policymakers have addressed mental health in their pandemic responses, as workers in this age group have shown a 38% decrease in sustained attention and a 124% increase in their risk of developing a depressive disorder since February 2020.

Read more for local, state, and federal resources on mental health supports.


Join us! A dialogue on COVID-19’s impact on the employment of people with disabilities

By Dexter Horne

Across the U.S., state and local policymakers are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with numerous policies, programs and initiatives. From health and safety protocols to vaccination requirements to telework options, many of these policies relate to employment and have the potential to benefit workers, businesses and our economic recovery. However, when implementing these policies, it is important to ensure they are inclusive of all Americans, including individuals with disabilities.


New Resources Guide States Toward More Inclusive Telework

States are increasingly turning to telework. Every state now has some form of telework policy – whether for emergency situations, for specific agencies, or for all agencies in the state. Yet these policies (and corresponding telework programs) are not necessarily inclusive of people with disabilities. As states revisit or develop public sector telework policies, they have the opportunity to make telework policies and programs more accessible to all employees – including those with disabilities – and to realize the corresponding benefits of inclusive telework.

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