Jim Brett Named to Federal & State Disabilities Advocacy Posts

President Obama Appoints Brett to Disabilities Committee

BOSTON (May 12, 2015)– New England Council President & CEO James T. Brett has been named to several key disabilities advocacy posts at both the federal and state level in recent weeks.  A former state representative and longtime Dorchester resident, Mr. Brett has been an outspoken advocate for people with intellectual disabilities over the course of his career.

The three appointments include:

  • President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities – President Barack Obama has appointed Mr.Brett to serve on the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID).  Mr. Brett previously served on PCIPD from 2002 to 2006 and served a two-year terms as the Committee’s Chairman from 2011 to 2013.  Last year he was appointed to a one-year term on the committee.  The mission of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities is to provide advice and assistance to the President of the United States and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on a broad range of topics that impact people with intellectual disabilities and the field of Intellectual Disabilities.
  • U.S. Department of Labor Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities – U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez has appointed Mr. Brett to serve on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (ACICIEID). Established under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) signed by President Obama in July 2014, the purpose of the Advisory Committee is to make recommendations for the Secretary of Labor on ways to increase employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities or other individuals with significant disabilities in competitive integrated employment.
  • Massachusetts Governor’s Commission on Intellectual Disability – Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has reappointed Mr. Brett as the Chairman of the Governor’s Commission on Intellectual Disability.  Mr. Brett has served as the Chairman of the Commission for 14 years under Governors Deval Patrick, Mitt Romney, and Jane Swift.  The Governor’s Commission on Intellectual Disability was established to examine the quality and comprehensiveness of the Commonwealth’s program of services designed to address the wide variety of needs of people with intellectual disability.

“I am honored and humbled to have been selected by President Obama, Secretary Perez, and Governor Baker to serve on these important advisory panels,” Mr. Brett said.  “Advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities is a cause that is near and dear to my heart, and I look forward to the opportunity to work with other members of these groups to offer guidance and advice to our leaders at both the federal and state level on how we can continue to create opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities.”

Mr. Brett, a Dorchester resident, has served as the President & CEO of the New England Council, a non-partisan business organization representing businesses throughout the six New England states, since 1996.  Prior to joining the Council, he served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for over 15 years.  Throughout his career, Mr. Brett has been an outspoken and tireless advocate for people with intellectual disabilities. Mr. Brett is a member of the Board of Directors of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, the Rodman Ride for Kids. Mr. Brett serves as a member of the Home Base Program’s Leadership Council, Bay Cove Human Services, Inc.’s Board of Advocates, and The Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester’s Advisory Board.

Mr. Brett’s humanitarian work has been recognized by a number of organizations, including Easter Seals, the Disability Law Center, The Price Center, Bridgewell, Action for Boston Community Development, and Community Resources for Justice.  In 1996, Bay Cove Human Services of Boston named a new community home for disabled adults “Brett House” in named his honor. In 2013, the University of Massachusetts Boston established the James T. Brett Chair in Disability and Workforce Development, the nation’s only endowed chair in disability and workforce development.  Last fall, he was inducted into the Massachusetts Special Olympics Hall of Fame in recognition of his advocacy.

The New England Council, the country’s oldest regional business organization, is an alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations throughout New England formed to promote economic growth and a high quality of life in the region.  The Council is dedicated to identifying and supporting federal public policies and articulating the voice of its membership regionally and nationally on important issues facing New England.  The NEC is also committed to working with public and private sector leaders across the region and in Washington through educational programs and forums for information exchange..

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