What Is NC HB 984?

By: Taryn Oesch – 06/04/2018

Last week, NC Representatives John Bradford, Nelson Dollar, Donny Lambeth and John Sauls introduced NC House Bill 984. The purpose of this bill is to establish a director of education and employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), a new position in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

If the bill is passed, this person will “establish a statewide vision for inclusive postsecondary education and quality employment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to be used by State agencies that serve those individuals.” This includes developing policies and programs that provide for inclusive education and competitive employment opportunities, resources and incentives for employers (including state agencies) to hire adults with IDD, and support for individuals transitioning out of high school. If NC House Bill 984 passes, DHHS could create the position as early as July, according to news reports.

The national unemployment rate for individuals with IDD is over 80 percent – despite the fact that most employers who hire adults with these disabilities are happy with their performance. Providing the right support system for both employers and employees is critical to reducing the unemployment rate and setting up all parties for success. It will take collaboration among community organizations, families, businesses and government agencies like DHHS to ensure that everyone who wants the fulfillment of having a job can experience it.