Legislation would aid those with intellectual disabilities

Helping hands: Pictured are (sitting, left to right) Tanya Regli, Sen. Tina Tartaglione, (standing, left to right) Cathy Roccia-Meier, Pierce Meier and William Del Toro. PHOTO COURTESY OF BONNIE SQUIRES

Representatives of The Arc of Philadelphia have recently visited area state lawmakers to lobby for support for legislation that would require Pennsylvania to match federal funding to prepare individuals ages 18–21 with intellectual disabilities for employment. Such legislation has been introduced in the state Senate and House of Representatives, but won’t be passed in this session. The bills will be reintroduced next year.

Among the legislators visited by Arc was state Sen. Tina Tartaglione, who suggested that vocational counseling and preparation start in grade school.

Tartaglione serves on the Senate Labor and Industry Committee, which has jurisdiction over funding the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. Arc and its supporters want the office to have sufficient funding to hire more job counselors to help find part-time and summer jobs and internships for young people with disabilities.

The visit was part of an effort by the Campaign for What Works to put an emphasis on human services issues.

The effort includes a social media campaign. Arc officials and young people affiliated with the organization posted pictures of themselves with the lawmakers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Among the other officials whom Arc members visited were state Reps. Brendan Boyle, James Roebuck, Bill Keller and Steve McCarter. ••