FRANKFORT, KY (4/3/12) – In a report released today, the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) outlined how federal funding is being used to shuttle people with disabilities into sheltered workshops and deprive them of meaningful employment opportunities.
The report, Beyond Segregated and Exploited, is a follow-up to a report released last year that examined the issue of segregating working people with disabilities in sheltered workshops and the use of the subminimum wage to exploit their disability for the financial gain of employers. The new report is an update on progress to end those practices and move toward a system that encourages integrated employment options that pay competitive wages.
The report calls for:
• Ending segregated employment and the subminimum wage by restricting federal and state money available to employers who segregate employees with disabilities.
• Strengthening current and creating new tax incentives for employers to hire people with disabilities in integrated workplaces at comparable wages.
• Increasing labor protections and enforcement of existing laws.
The report, found at www.ndrn.org, is called Beyond Segregated and Exploited: Update on the Employment of People with Disabilities. Kentucky Protection and Advocacy advocates for the rights of Kentuckians with disabilities and is a member of the NDRN.
P&A will be looking into sheltered workshops in Kentucky using many of the recommendations from the report. Currently, there are a number of sheltered workshops throughout Kentucky, many of which share characteristics of those discussed in the report.
Kentucky P&A’s executive director, Marsha Hockensmith noted, “Persons with disabilities must have opportunities to work and receive a meaningful and competitive wage.”
Information provided by Jessie Luscher
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