BIG Mistake by Congress and supported by lobbyists for Disability services that “cherry pick” clients and are funded by State and Federal tax dollars. I’ve worked for both services and I know, firsthand, that Sheltered Workshops play a vital service for many chronically disabled individuals. Sheltered Workshop – What does it mean? To clear the air – they are not dismally lighted, unsanitary rat-holes, where the unfortunate are chained and forced to work for nothing. In the Workshops that function well (& that is the majority) – the clients are happy, love working and are allowed to work at their specific capacity. The snakepit description that is shouted from the mountaintop – by “Well meaning disability services w/o Sheltered Workshops – is only to serve their purposes.
I also know that all services for disabilities are not the same – whether tied in a bright shiny marketed bow or not. Many such services KNOW the monetary benefit of not including a workshop within their services. They don’t have to: pay additional staff for support, build on to facilities to accommodate, hire sales staff to obtain Workshop jobs or pay the clients anything out of their own coffers. They simply make MONEY – day in – day out. They cherry pick the best of the disabled world, help with employment and take credit for making a meaningful contribution to the community AND the disabled individual. They are millionaires. Take a good look at the monetary standings of the Presidents of each of the non-profit (for-profit!) disability employment services – and then take a look at their “successes”: Those clients that have stayed in gainful community jobs for over a year. Approximately $215,000. per year vs. $23,000.
They are the ones that are SCREAMING and LOBBYING to eliminate Sheltered Workshops – this will be viewed in history as a huge defeat for many disabled individuals and their caregivers.