Workshops with shelters are described as places of training, but some people work there for the rest of their lives. , the transition can be filled with fear. Bill Stumpf said he was worried about his son moving on to another job. “Kyle enjoyed working in the sheltered workshop,” Bill told me. “He liked the people he worked with, but he only got half the minimum wage. or
In 2013, when Bill saw a presentation on “Competitive Integrated Employment”, regular employment with support above minimum wage, he began to believe that Kyle had more potential.
According to a 2020 report from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, Americans with disabilities working under a 14(c) certificate earn, on average, less than half the federal minimum wage per hour. The new Congress must pass a conversion to the Competitive and Consolidated Jobs Act, which prohibits the issuance of new 14(c) certificates and phases out existing certificates. The law will also help people with disabilities transition into the mainstream workforce. This means sheltered workshops no longer isolate people with disabilities from their communities and pay workers like Kyle Stumpf below minimum wage.
Several states have already begun moving away from 14(c) certification recognition and have introduced programs to help people with disabilities working in their communities. Michelle Krefft, Director of Community and Business Engagement at Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services, told me one of her biggest barriers to community-integrated employment of people with disabilities is the hiring process.
However, companies are beginning to change their hiring practices and job requirements. With a tight labor market, employers are looking at candidates’ unique skills rather than looking for people who can meet a wide range of requirements. This applies to job seekers with and without disabilities.
Cleft and her staff help job seekers with disabilities get hired without traditional interviews. Candidates work during a paid trial period. She also works with candidates to create their video resumes. This helps many people with disabilities more effectively highlight their strengths and the skills they bring to the job. Just like us, people with disabilities have different strengths and needs. . Personalized support and individual selection make work more satisfying than the drudgery of a sheltered workshop.
Community-integrated employment is significantly cheaper for taxpayers than sheltered workshops, according to the advocacy coalition, Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination. One study found that for every dollar used to fund integrated employment support services in their communities, taxpayers receive savings from taxes paid, sheltered workshop costs, and government subsidies. We see that we receive $1.46 in the form of gold reduction.