(a) The West Virginia Legislature acknowledges that persons with severe disabilities can be productive, contributing members of the community, and that supported employment is a way of accomplishing the goal of employment for many persons with severe disabilities.
(b) If persons with disabilities are afforded opportunities to work in socially valued jobs with dignity, opportunities for advancement, and fair pay and compensation, then West Virginians with disabilities will lead more independent and productive lives, pay taxes, and decrease their need for public assistance. Studies have shown that supported employment is cost effective, and it is in the interest of the Legislature and the citizens of West Virginia to experiment within limited resources, through a model program of supported employment for persons with severe disabilities.
(a) "Competitive work" means work performed weekly on a part-time or full-time basis, as determined in each individualized written rehabilitation program, and for which compensation is consistent with the wage standards provided for in the Fair Labor Standards Act.
(b) "Division of rehabilitation services" means the state agency created by section one, article ten-a, chapter eighteen of this code.
(c) "Integrated work setting" means job sites where one or more nonhandicapped or nondisabled individuals interact with one or more handicapped or disabled employees on a regular basis in the performance of their respective job duties.
(d) "Supported employment" means competitive work in an integrated work setting with on-going support services for persons with a severe disability for whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred or has been interrupted or intermittent as a result of severe handicaps.
(e) "Person with a severe disability" means an individual who has a severe physical or mental impairment which seriously limits one or more functional capacities (such as mobility, work tolerance, self-care, self-direction, or interpersonal, communication or work skills) in terms of an employment outcome; and who will require multiple vocational rehabilitation services over an extended period of time.
(a) Within the available funds as appropriated by the Legislature, the division of rehabilitation services shall establish a model supported employment program in an unserved area of the state. The model program shall be selected through a request for proposal process including proposal review and selection by the West Virginia division of rehabilitation services in cooperation with the state developmental disabilities planning council.
(b) The model supported program and existing supported employment programs approved by the West Virginia division of rehabilitation services shall promote employment services to eligible individuals including:
(1) Job development services to secure competitive jobs;
(2) Services to assist the person with a severe disability in maintaining his or her supported employment position; and
(3) Other employment services not funded through the West Virginia division of rehabilitation services federal Title I and Title VI, Part C programs.
(c) An existing sheltered workshop shall implement the model program selected to be established, with the advice and consultation of the state developmental disabilities planning council.
(d) The division of rehabilitation services shall administer the supported employment program.
(a) The primary focus of the supported employment program is providing employment supports for persons with severe disabilities who have never worked or have only worked intermittently due to their disability.
(b) To be eligible for the supported employment program, a person must have a severe disability as defined in section one of this article.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session