[nfbmi-talk] ri desegrating shelterred sweatshops

Terry D. Eagle terrydeagle at yahoo.com
Fri Jan 17 20:29:05 UTC 2014

Commmunity-based employment of sheltered workshop disabled employees, whom I
call slave laborers for corporations and the U.S. military, is not a new
idea.  When I worked in the community mental health system from 2000 to the
mid-2000s, we made every attempt to place persons with developmental and
mental disabilities in meaningful minimum wage and above jobs, and were very
successful at doing so.

First, the key is to have dedicated employment service providers and support
professionals with confidence in the abilities, talents, and dreams of
persons with disabilities.  It begins and advances at the top with
leadership from management that has such a belief, and an expectation of
employment placement and job success by both professionals and persons with
disabilities.  Professionals cannot and will not be effective in finding,
cultibating, and retaining community-based jobs if a belief and expressed
confidence and expectation in persons with disabilities is not present and a
primary focus.  One cannot sell to private sector employers that which a
professional does not exhibit.  In business that is referred to as "being a
product of the product".  The product is the abilities, talents, and dreams
of persons with disabilities.  In my opinion, that value is the single most
important and effective element that is sorely absent in the field of
vocational rehabilitation training and employment services to persons with
disAbilities, and is the single reason for the poor utilization and ultimate
waste of vast amounts of rehabilitation funds and programs.  All the
requirements for academic degrees and professional certification and
licensure will not get the desired result of job readiness, placement, job
coaching, and job retention and advancement outcomes.

The equally important key in the endeavor of employment of persons with
disabilities is to inspire the person with disabilities with an expectation
of self-improvement, exploration, the value and reward fulfillment of work.
Anyone who has interacted with persons with a variety of disAbilities,
physical and developmental, well know that the person with a disAbility have
the innate hierarchy of needs, desires, and drive as persons without obvious
disabilities.  The dream for belonging, meaning and being  productive,
appreciated and recognized, as well as the desire for the "things" we all
dream of acquiring, are alive in the person with a disAbility.  The problem,
barrier, and challenge is the too many stereotypes, labels, and low or no
expectation is attached to a person with any disability.   Too many persons
with disAbilities have lived a life in the shadows of such negative,
destructive, and demoralizing lack of belief and low or no expectations,
which is an assault and abuse to the dignity and respect to any human being.

Until there is a significant paradime shift in the way rehabilitation
leadership and professionals view the persons with a disAbility, the system
that boasts that a path exists to employment and independence for persons
with disAbilities, will simply continue to waste financial and human
resources, and will continue to exhibit the same miserable and deplorable
rehabilitation and employment outcomes, and such outcomes shall mirror the
level of low expectation from rehabilitation professionals and from clients
with disAbilities that historically and currently exist within the field of
vvocational rehabilitation.

-----Original Message-----
From: nfbmi-talk [mailto:nfbmi-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of joe
harcz Comcast
Sent: Friday, January 17, 2014 7:41 AM
To: nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org
Subject: [nfbmi-talk] ri desegrating shelterred sweatshops

RI to move disabled out of 'segregated' workshops - Connecticut
PostCRANSTON, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island officials are planning to remove
thousands of disabled adults from work settings deemed to segregated by the

government and place them in jobs and activity programs in the community.


Craig Stenning,

director of the state Department of Behavioral Healthcare,

Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals,

told The Providence Journal (

http://bit.ly/1gU84tf )

that the plan is a major transformation of the system.


A federal

Department of Justice

investigation found that about 3,600 of Rhode Island adults with
intellectual and developmental disabilities were unnecessarily segregated in

day programs and other settings. The department says many of those adults
have the ability and desire to work in the community.


Stenning says the state's goal is to close all "sheltered" workshops for the
disabled within three years and place people in the community.




Information from: The Providence Journal,





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