State Rep. Tonya Pfaff co-authors bill to expand opportunities for students with diabilities

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INDIANAPOLIS – Today the Indiana House of Representatives unanimously passed House Bill 1313, co-authored by State Rep. Tonya Pfaff (D-Terre Haute). The bill aims to improve the employment options available to former students with disabilities.

“Our goal with this bill is to empower every Hoosier who wants to work to be able to work,” Pfaff said. “As we steer the state on the course to recovery, we must make sure that people with disabilities are not left behind. They deserve every opportunity to pursue their full potential in the workforce.”

Under this guidance, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) will inform former students who received a non-diploma certificate of recognition and certain students with an individualized education program (IEP) who withdrew from school of certain training or education opportunities.

The DWD, in consultation with the Department of Education, will then submit an annual report to the General Assembly and the State Advisory Council on the education of children with disabilities. The State Board of Education will be required to adopt rules for providing an alternate diploma for students with significant cognitive disabilities by December 2021.

In 2020, Pfaff authored House Enrolled Act 1341, which passed unanimously in both the House and Senate before being signed by Governor Eric Holcomb. That act required the State Advisory Council to develop a plan for getting diplomas to the students in question, a plan that will now be implemented if HB 1313 also advances on to become law.

“This is the next step on a journey we began a year ago,” Pfaff said. “I urge the Senate and Governor to not forget the promises they made in 2020 and take swift action to further equip the thousands of Hoosiers eager to join the workforce. Together, we can break down barriers and build a fairer, more equitable workforce in Indiana.”

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