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The Senate Higher Education Committee on Thursday advanced legislation supported by NJBIA that would establish college-based adult centers to serve individuals with developmental disabilities who are transitioning from secondary schools. 

Bill S-4211, sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and Senator Kristin Corrado (D-40) provides a $4.5 million appropriation and requires the board of trustees at each county college to establish an adult center for developmentally disabled individuals up to the age of 24. 

“This bill will help develop career pathways for individuals with disabilities, which will be of great value not only for people in this community, but potentially for employers, as well,” said NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Chrissy Buteas. 

“Once individuals with developmental disabilities exit the secondary school system, there is often a sudden void that leaves them unable to reach greater productivity and independence. These adult centers can help developmentally disabled people with post-secondary education, independent living and adult employment,” Buteas said. 

Th bill would coordinate and integrate existing county and state services, programs, and resources to ensure these individuals have opportunities to receive mentoring, job coaching, training and other services to help them make a successful transition into employment and independent living. 

NJBIA continues to be a leading voice for hiring workers with disabilities. In May, the association backed a bill introduced by Senate President Steve Sweeney that would provide tax credits to businesses which employ the disabled. 

More recent bills providing fast-track hiring and advancement employment opportunities by the State for persons with significant disabilities (A-5294) and employment by the state of certain persons with disabilities (S-3426) are being supported by NJBIA. 

In September, the association hosted a webinar with experts who provided guidance and information for businesses seeking to hire employees with disabilities. 

“It is great to see momentum in this space and we are proud to see businesses lean into hiring individuals with disabilities because of the great value they bring to the workforce,” Buteas said. “This bill will help enhance those opportunities.”