Agency-Owned Social Enterprises: Is It Draining Resources for Employment of People with Disabilities?

Come down to our ice cream shop! Your patronage supports jobs for the people with disabilities who work here!Hmmm. The idea of social enterprise is a wonderful concept. Having a business that incorporates diversity and funnels its profits into social causes, including supporting people with disabilities, has much potential. But here’s the problem. Agencies that [...]

By |2017-05-18T15:42:51-04:00October 10th, 2014|social enterprise, supported employment|0 Comments

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 |2017-05-18T15:42:52-04:00September 5th, 2014|minimum wage, sheltered workshops, supported employment|0 Comments

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 |2017-05-18T15:42:54-04:00April 29th, 2014|sheltered workshops, supported employment|0 Comments

Overcoming the Multi-Tasking Bias of Employers in Hiring

In my previous post, commenters noted the benefits of my proposed supported employment process of Plan-Match-Support, but worried about a commonly reported hiring issue - the preference of employers to hire a person who can do multiple tasks. This perception can throw a roadblock into hiring a worker with a disability who might be considered [...]

By |2020-06-13T11:01:29-04:00February 27th, 2014|marketing and job development, supported employment|0 Comments

Moving Beyond “Place, then Train”

When supported employment first challenged the status quo of sheltered work over 25 years ago, the mantra was that it represented a shift in thinking. It was a movement away from Train and Place to its opposite, Place, then Train. That pithy quote helped to convey and crystallize the philosophical evolution taking place. Waiting to [...]

By |2017-05-18T15:42:56-04:00January 29th, 2014|supported employment|3 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 [...]

By |2020-06-13T11:13:29-04:00December 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 [...]

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, [...]

Lessons from Down Under

I am writing this post after providing a week's worth of training to the staff of NOVA Employment, just outside of Sydney, Australia. This is my second visit to support the work of this agency "down under," and I have a number of impressions to share.The organization does not run congregated services; it focuses on [...]

By |2015-04-02T15:25:56-04:00September 27th, 2012|supported employment|3 Comments

Job Customization and the Babbage Principle: It’s Nothing New

Charles Babbage was an inventor who in the mid-1800s first came up with the idea of a programmable computer. His design actually worked when a museum finally assembled it in 1991. He also was accomplished in math and economics, and he described what is now called the Babbage principle, which focuses on the advantages of [...]

By |2015-04-02T15:26:06-04:00January 10th, 2012|supported employment|2 Comments

Thoughts on Employment First: Don’t Water it Down!

Employment First refers to a relatively new movement to change public policy for individuals with disabilities who receive publicly funded day services. Employment First begins as an effort to change the expectations people have about the ability of people with disabilities to work – in policy, in practice, and in person. It refers to having [...]

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 [...]

Update to the Subminimum Wage Issue

Here is an interesting development concerning the sub-minimum wage issue (see my previous post). Six states enacted measures last year to raise the minimum wage. Two of the six – Ohio and Missouri – included exemptions for workers with disabilities from the minimum wage provisions. The other four – Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Montana – [...]

By |2015-04-02T15:26:19-04:00February 12th, 2007|minimum wage, productivity, supported employment|2 Comments

Sub-Minimum Wages: A Disability Oxymoron

Arizona state legislators recently held a hearing to review the state's new minimum-wage law, which provides $6.75 an hour and does not exempt workers with disabilities from minimum wage. The hearing was packed, with advocates for both sides of the issue. In the US, certain workers, including those with disabilities, can be paid less than [...]

By |2017-05-18T15:43:18-04:00February 5th, 2007|minimum wage, productivity, supported employment|0 Comments
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