[nfbmi-talk] Fw: a subtle victory in michigan

David Robinson drob1946 at gmail.com
Sat Feb 13 13:19:53 UTC 2016

----- Original Message ----- 
From: joe harcz Comcast 
To: Mark Johnson 
Cc: Kelly Buckland ; Mark Riccobono (by way of David Andrews<dandrews at visi.com>) ; Larry Posont NFBMI Pres. ; David Robinson NFB MI ; terry Eagle ; Mark Eagle ; Mary Ann Robinson NFB MI ; Georgia Kitchen FANFB ; Clark Goodrich ; Bill Earl MI ADAPT ; Leigh Campbell-Earl ; Laura Hall ; Theresa Squires MDRC ; Janine Bertram ; Scott Heinzman ; Sidhu,Mehgan ; Mark Johnson ; Marsha Katz ; Elmer Cerano MPAS ; BRIAN SABOURIN ; Tom Cagle 
Sent: Saturday, February 13, 2016 7:47 AM
Subject: a subtle victory in michigan

A victory!


Many know that activists including me, others with NFB, ADAPT, and Peer Action Alliance protested the segregated, and sub-minimum wage policies in Michigan. I was even arrested at that event.


But, subsequently  we did force the Lt. Governor and others, mostly the conflicted MARO and Peckham to put together a phony, flawed Executive Order which had the term “Employment First” but really was a shill to maintain the status quo, as a response to our activities and nnegative press.


Elenor Canter, me and others kept the pressure on and exposed the bogus EO for all of its inherent contradictions as well as the fact it was designed, again by the organization supporting segregated, and even sub-minimum wage employment.


So to the victory. Yesterday the Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council approved the following letter:





February 12, 2015

Honorable Lieutenant Governor Calley

P.O. Box 30013

Lansing, MI 48909


Dear Lt. Governor Calley,


On behalf of the Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council I am writing to express concerns with the Employment First Executive Order 2015-15 that you signed on November 18, 2015. 


The Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council (MISILC) is a body that is responsible for developing and monitoring the State Plan for Independent Living. Within the state plan we provide assurances to uphold a philosophy of Independent Living.


The Independent Living Philosophy includes a philosophy of consumer control, peer support, self-help, self-determination, equal access, and individual and system advocacy, in order to maximize the leadership, empowerment, independence, and productivity of individuals with disabilities, and the integration and full inclusion of individuals with disabilities into the mainstream of American society.


While we recognize the intent of the Employment First Executive Order was to promote full inclusion, we feel it fell short in a few areas.  More specifically, the definition of Employment and the definition and use of the term “Intermediate Steps” is the cause for our significant concern.


The definition of ‘intermediate steps and services may include facility based employment…’promotes the status quo in employment programs. Facility-based settings were not designed to be long-term employment settings. They were designed to be short-term skill building programs to help prepare individuals for community-based employment.  However, many individuals have been in these segregated settings their whole working life, with no attempts or exposure to inclusive employment settings. The Executive Order raised, and then lowered, the expectations of employment for people with disabilities to the point that it renders this policy direction ineffectual.


The definition of ‘employment as being on the payroll of a community rehabilitation organization’ is again promoting the status quo. The Employment First policy has the power to change the culture of the business community by promoting the value of hiring people with all kinds of talents. When the business community includes hiring people with disabilities as an integral part of their diversity strategy they realize first-hand the transformative power this has to their organization. We are not guiding this transformation if people are remaining on the payroll of a third-party for long periods of time.


The Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council respectfully requests you issue a revised Executive Order which strikes the below statements:


WHEREAS, the state of Michigan recognizes intermediate steps and services

may be needed to assist persons with disabilities along the path to the optimal outcome

or to honor the choices and goals of the individual; 


"Employment" means a job available in the general workforce and in which

the employee is included on the payroll of the business, industry, community

rehabilitation organization or staffing agency, or is a self-employed business owner.



We believe that the intent with this order all along has been to create the inclusive communities called for in national Employment First models, and we believe that is still the intent today.  However, we feel obligated to share our opinion that parts of the language of the order may actually defeat the purpose. We encourage you to review the resources provided by the United States Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (http://www.dol.gov/odep) for objective information on this nationwide policy effort. 


Our hope is that you will rescind the Executive Order and issue a revised order that supports a more transformative policy effort.  If you would like further clarification on our request we’d be happy to discuss this further.





Sara Grivetti, MA, CRC




















Joe Harcz

Member: ADAPT

Member: NFB
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