Three Transition Bills Introduced in House

Three separate bills that share the name, “Transitioning towards Excellence & Achievement in Mobility (TEAM)” have been introduced in Congress by Rep. Greg Harper (R-MS).  The TEAM legislation provides separate legislative responses to help ensure that youth with significant disabilities have the opportunity to become gainfully employed in integrated settings, pursue post-secondary education, and engage in typical community activities upon leaving high school.

The TEAM Education Act (H.R. 602) seeks to streamline the transition process at the high-school level and require coordination between the state education authority and the State I/DD authority.  Among other things,  it requires Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) to begin including transition planning at age 14, and allows the State Intellectual/Developmental Disability (I/DD) Agency to participate in the IEP and transition planning team for students expected to be eligible for adult I/DD services.  It also provides $50 million to Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) to pilot the hiring of internal transition services coordinators

The TEAM Empowerment Act (H.R. 603) seeks to increase coordination between state educational agencies and state I/DD authorities to successfully transition youth with significant disabilities from high school into meaningful employment and post-secondary education opportunities. The bill establishes an optional Transition Planning and Services Division within each State I/DD agency to provide the necessary capacity and expertise. It also provides $50,000,000 in funding beginning in fiscal year 2012.

The TEAM-Employment Act (H.R. 604) would amend the Rehabilitation Act to realign preferred outcomes for individuals with significant disabilities, and streamlines public funding by requiring the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) systems to actively engage with other state entities. The bill institutes the attainment of integrated employment or post-secondary education as the preferred outcome for all individuals, including those with significant disabilities.  It directs VR programs to work toward ensuring that all individuals with disabilities can be employed in integrated settings at the greater of minimum or competitive wages with commensurate benefits, and can pursue independent living and community participation and removing VR authority to determine an adult with significant disabilities ineligible to receive supported employment services.

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