• Rhode Island was forced by their settlement in the US Dept of Justice’s lawsuit against them to shut down their sheltered workshops. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/09/us/developmentally-disabled-get-more-workplace-protections.html In fact, Oregon was also sued by the US Dept of Justice and agreed to close down their workshops as part of their settlement, too.

    Vermont chose to do it on their own well before the US Dept of Justice started suing states over segregated programs for people with disabilities.

    Please do not imply that the Rhode Island’s closing of sheltered workshops was of their own doing or that it is the same as Vermont’s initiative to phase out sheltered workshops in their state.

  • Linda Duke

    You should talk to the families of the individuals pictured. I know one of them and he loves the work he is doing. He gains a great deal of fulfillment, satisfaction and pride from the work he performs. Sheltered workshops are a needed alternative for those who are unable to integrate into the mainstream workforce. The families of these individuals are advocating for their disabled loved ones by fighting to keep workshops open, just as much as “disabilities advocates fight for job opportunities, it is a fight for meaningful, gainful employment.” The problem is that the advocates fighting are taking away the right of these individuals to choose for themselves what is meaningful. For many, the sheltered workshop is the place where they feel included, part of a larger community. At the workshop, they belong, that’s where their friends are and where they fit in; and without the workshop they find themselves very much separated from their communities. By advocating for a choice for one group, they are essentially removing the choice for another group of people, those who neither want or are capable of transitioning to integrated employment. Most who support workshops agree that there needs to be clear alternatives for individuals who desire and who are also likely to be successful to move into competitive work. Making sure everyone has a choice should be the primary goal.

    • Martina Edwards

      Having worked with differently abled individuals at a sheltered workshop I know many who are upset when they don’t get to go to work and do what others deem menial jobs. The employees are paid based on their ability to perform the task. In Missouri, 3 people have to do the task being done by the differently abled individual to see how long it takes to perform the task, plus the sheltered workshop is required to get wage comparisons for similar tasks for work in their local. From this the differently abled adult is paid based on the % of work they do. If they do it faster than the ones that the standard was set by then they get more than minimum wage. There is even a minimum they get paid no matter how little production is made.