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Envision and Center Industries are two of the largest employers of blind and disabled Kansans. Interpretations of recent incarnations of the United States Rehabilitation Act made by the United States Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) have resulted in a ruling that Envision and Center Industries are not competitive employers and that, therefore, Federal RSA dollars cannot be spent on training or placing blind and disabled individuals to work at many jobs provided by Envision and Center Industries. The jobs defined accordingly, and which are offered by these two employers, are jobs which feature competitive wages and benefits, and which allow their holders to live more independently than with higher degrees of integration into their local communities. This poorly founded and draconian opinion arbitrarily rendered by the United States RSA is preventing blind and disabled Kansans from getting referrals to gainful employment at Envision and Center Industries. Confusion about the specificity of the United States RSA ruling has caused blind and disabled people who live in certain other states to be able to receive RSA assistance for relocating to Kansas to accept jobs at Envision and Center Industries, while blind and disabled Kansans are being discouraged by rehabilitation counselors in Kansas from accepting these same jobs.

It should be the informed choice of each blind job seeker to work for any employer who will hire them, and who offers the wages and benefits they are seeking, regardless of whether a significant percentage of the employer’s other workers are disabled or non-disabled. Such choices should not be mandated or restricted by federal bureaucrats interfering through unnecessary acts of social engineering.

The administrator of Kansas Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, has gone on record as supporting the RSA’s interpretation that Envision and Center Industries are not competitive employers, even though the Kansas Services for the Blind Advisory Committee, which is empowered to advise the administrator on rehabilitation issues for blind Kansans, has taken a position that the federal ruling is not in the best interests of blind and disabled Kansans, and has asked her to take all steps possible in opposing the federal intrusion which is limiting job placement at Envision and Center Industries.

It was resolved by the Board of Directors, as directed by the membership, that this organization demands that the United States RSA interpret federal laws and regulations concerning employment placement in a manner which will not restrict referrals and the use of RSA funds in gaining employment placements at facilities such as Envision and Center Industries. This organization expresses its profound disappointment that the administrator of Kansas Services for the Blind is thus far choosing to support national policies which are extremely detrimental to the employment and advancement of blind and disabled Kansans.

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