The Maine Developmental Disabilities Council is committed to the idea that people with developmental disabilities in Maine should have opportunities to share their gifts and participate in meaningful work in their communities. We believe that people with developmental disabilities must receive the same wages, benefits and workplace opportunities as other employees. The Council does not condone subminimum wage, enclave, and/or other employment models that serve to segregate or otherwise support disparate treatment of people with disabilities.
In 2015, we advocated strongly at the legislature for the phasing out of the subminimum wage for people with disabilities in Maine – though that effort failed, it began a conversation that continues to the present. A new bill on this topic, LD 1874, was introduced in the 2nd session of the 129th Legislature, and MDDC is following it closely through the legislative process.
MDDC was a founding member of Employment First Maine, which began meeting in 2011 and brought together people with DD, advocates, state agency representatives and others – this coalition was instrumental in passing the Employment First Maine Act of 2013 at the State Legislature, codifying the services and supports necessary for successful employment for people with developmental disabilities in the community. This legislation also created the Employment First Maine Coalition, which solidified the network begun in 2013, and created structures for collecting data and creating bylaws to address the potential waiver changes and supports needed for successful implementation.