Melwood Applauds AbilityOne Commission’s Decision to End Use of 14(C) (Subminimum Wage)
October 13, 2021
Decision marks an important step towards modernizing the AbilityOne program;
sends message of respect to people with disabilities in the workforce
UPPER MARLBORO, MD – Melwood, a leading national employer and advocate for people with disabilities, today commends the U.S. AbilityOne Commission’s proposed rule to end the use of the subminimum wage for people with disabilities within the AbilityOne Program. This move aligns AbilityOne with contemporary disability policy while helping bring equitable conditions to people with disabilities in the workforce and solidifies the program’s steady progress forward
“Melwood has been proud to be a leader in ending the use of subminimum wages and we strongly applaud the AbilityOne Commission for taking this important step,” said Larysa Kautz, Melwood President and CEO. “Since its inception, AbilityOne program has been the most successful initiative to provide meaningful employment opportunities to people with disabilities, and it’s encouraging to see their progress over the years to modernize the program.”
In recent years, AbilityOne program participants have seen a consistent downward trend on employees paid under the 14(c) wage certificates, dropping by nearly a third since just 2018. For the 45,000 people with disabilities currently employed on AbilityOne contracts, this decision affirms what we already know – each employee’s work is valuable, their employment is competitive, and they are respected by their employers and their government customers.
Melwood is one of the largest employers of people with disabilities in the country, employing more than 1,600 workers – nearly 1,000 of whom are people with disabilities. Melwood offers job placement, job training, life skills for independence, and support services to more than 2,500 people each year in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Melwood also has an inclusive summer camp program for children and provides employment and support services to veterans and active duty military members who have experienced service-related trauma or injury. For more information, visit www.Melwood.org.
Vice President of Government Relations