sheltered workshops

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Sub-Minimum Wage Battle Heating Up

The continuing controversy regarding using sub-minimum wage for workers with disabilities (using special worker certificates under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act) rages on. Use of this provision since 1938 has led to far too many examples of exploitation, artificially lowered wages, and poor employment outcomes. It needs to be phased out; review [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:42:52+00:00 September 5th, 2014|minimum wage, sheltered workshops, supported employment|0 Comments

How to Evaluate Employment First Policies

Over the last few years, the Employment First (EF) movement has taken off in nearly every state and several Canadian provinces. The clear intent of an EF movement is to make an individual, integrated, paid job the first option for individuals with disabilities receiving day services.This is no easy task for a service system that [...]

Finally! A Civil Rights Breakthrough

 The following is a guest post by my colleague Bob Lawhead.– DaleOn April 8, 2014 the U.S. Department of Justice announced “a landmark settlement agreement between the United States and the state of Rhode Island, vindicating the civil rights of approximately 3,250 individuals across the state with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD).” This case constitutes [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:42:54+00:00 April 29th, 2014|sheltered workshops, supported employment|0 Comments

The Two Sides of the Employment First Coin

Like a two-sided coin, the advocacy movement of Employment First has two core linked components. The first side is about ending obsolete practices – to phase out the needless segregation, less-than-minimum wages, and limited work tasks given to people with disabilities that make up much of sheltered work. The second side is to provide a system that [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:42:56+00:00 December 2nd, 2013|conversion, sheltered workshops, supported employment|13 Comments

Workshops: The Burden of Proof is On You

Over the last year, I've been in front of numerous audiences to discuss the concept of Employment First and the need to phase out facility-based sheltered workshops. I don't make the argument lightly. It is a wholesale change of focus for many. It uproots individuals from their comfort zone. It is threatening to agencies and [...]

Sheltered Work Phasing Out in Rhode Island; Will Your State Host the Next Olmstead Investigation?

This week, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a landmark settlement based on the conclusion that the state of RI and the city of Providence failed to provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities in the most integrated setting, and were putting students in a school transition program at risk of unnecessary segregation in [...]

The Good, Bad and Ugly: Trying to End Obsolete Sheltered Work in Oregon

The state of Oregon, like it or not, will have a spotlight shining on it as it plans the future of employment services for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (ID/DD). Like most states, Oregon spends the large majority of its employment service dollars ($30 million a year) for individuals with disabilities to be in sheltered workshops. [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:43:01+00:00 April 30th, 2013|conversion, sheltered workshops, supported employment|2 Comments

Low Productivity: More of An Excuse than Obstacle to Real Work

Several issues reside in the heated discussions over the need to change the traditional day service model for people with disabilities. But the defining one relates to competing beliefs about productivity: Can individuals with the most significant disabilities be productive in the workplace, such that sub-minimum wage is unnecessary? Those in the individualized community employment sector, myself included, [...]

Supported Employment and the Higgs Boson

I have always been a bit of a science geek. I find a sense of understanding about life, and even spirituality, from the deep discoveries we are making in the cosmos, particle physics, and quantum mechanics. And the pace of recent discoveries has been exhilarating. Just a few short years ago, we only knew of [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:43:06+00:00 July 30th, 2012|sheltered workshops|4 Comments

Attention Workshops: The ADA Integration Mandate Applies to You

Employment services are included in the integration mandate of the ADA! This recent ruling in Oregon by United States Magistrate Judge Janice Stewart is a huge landmark decision. It should cheer advocates who are working to slow and eventually end the growing numbers of people with disabilities needlessly spending their days in segregated sheltered workshops.Similar [...]

A Response to ACCSES: We Believe NDRN is On the Mark Regarding the Need to End Segregation and Exploitation

Open Response Letter Regarding ACCSES Response to the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) ReportMembers of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions:In an April 16, 2012 letter to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, ACCSES CEO Terry Farmer writes "strong opposition to the recommendations made by the National Disability Rights [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:43:07+00:00 April 25th, 2012|conversion, segregation, sheltered workshops|9 Comments

A Bellwether? Oregon Sued for Reliance on Sheltered Workshops

Last month, UCP Oregon/SW Washington, with the help of Disability Rights Oregon, filed a class action lawsuit challenging Oregon’s failure to provide supported employment services to more than 2,300 of its residents who are segregated in sheltered workshops. The suit says people are "stuck in long-term, dead-end facilities that offer virtually no interaction with non-disabled [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:43:09+00:00 February 8th, 2012|conversion, segregation, sheltered workshops|4 Comments

A Candid Conversation on Disability Issues

Recently, for a podcast sponsored by Griffin-Hammis Associates, Cary Griffin and I had a discussion about many facets of our service system. We talked about the resistance to change of sheltered work agencies, the needless persistence of sub-minimum wage, concerns we had about generalized employment training programs being developed for people with autism, flawed social [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:43:10+00:00 December 13th, 2011|employment first, segregation, sheltered workshops|0 Comments

The 80-20 Rule and A Call to Freeze Referrals to Sheltered Work

The Pareto Principle is a well known economic theory that can be applied to a lot of situations. It goes something like this: about 80% of effectiveness is driven by just 20% of our activity. This distribution has also been found to relate to how a small number of people control 80% of the wealth. [...]

Discarding An Old Narrative: Shine a Light on Indignity

Some 30 years ago, some new and innovative approaches were developed to help people with disabilities lead better lives. They involved ideas such as normalization, social inclusion, individualized planning, and supported employment and supported living. These concepts were all based on focusing on the individual and not the disability, and each brought new ways of [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:43:11+00:00 October 20th, 2011|conversion, segregation, sheltered workshops|3 Comments

The Fallacy of the “Choice Argument”: Most People in Sheltered Workshops Want a Job

Despite numerouse national and state policies promoting integrated employment, 76% of adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities are served in facility-based, segregated programs - usually work activity centers or sheltered workshops. Whenever advocates talk about closing a sheltered workshop so the people there can get real jobs, the argument of choice is raised. "But this [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:43:17+00:00 April 3rd, 2007|choice, conversion, segregation, sheltered workshops|4 Comments

Employability is a Given, Not Line to Cross

During a recent training course about supported employment I gave, I found myself in a debate with a manager of an agency over whether people with disabilities should be "presumed employable." I was most discouraged by this professional's statement that the "overwhelming majority of these consumers are not employable." To me, that is the single [...]

The Fallacy of Low Productivity: Why People with Disabilities Are Relegated to Segregated Facilities at Low Wages

In a recent class I was facilitating, I again ran into the argument from someone that people with disabilities need sheltered workshops because they are not productive enough to be in the business world. Aside from the moral issue of segregating a whole class of people, let us address this stereotype of non-productiveness.There is no [...]

By | 2017-05-18T15:43:17+00:00 March 13th, 2007|productivity, segregation, sheltered workshops|0 Comments