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Myths vs Reality

Myths vs Reality

For years, activists, legislators, government agencies, and other organizations have been telling one side of the sheltered workshop story. Below, learn the truth.

Reality:

Nationwide, hundreds of thousands of people are employed in sheltered workshops. In Missouri alone, nearly 7,000 are employed in sheltered workshops, with a waiting list of more than 1100 people.

Reality:

In Missouri, the average hourly wage of a sheltered workshop employee is $3.29 per hour and 18% of employees earn minimum wage, or higher.

Reality:

Sheltered workshop employees in Missouri who transition into competitive employment have an 82% success rate.

Reality:

People are not “forced” to work in sheltered workshops; employees select this unique work choice based on careful consideration and planning.

Reality:

Unemployment ensures a life of poverty. Nationally, only 34% of people with intellectual disabilities are employed and only 26% of those employed have full-time jobs.

Reality:

Henry’s Turkey Service was NOT a sheltered workshop. It was operating illegally, paying sub-minimum wages without a FLSA 14 (c) certificate.

Reality:

Arguably, closing workshops conflicts with the Olmstead Act, because it removes choice. No, a person should not be forced to work in a sheltered workshop if they prefer an integrated environment. Equally, a person should not be forced to work in an integrated environment if they prefer a sheltered workshop.

Reality:

Nationally, only 34% of people with intellectual disabilities are employed. The fact is that there are people for whom employment in the community is simply not attainable. Sheltered workshops provide a viable employment choice for these people.

Reality:

FLSA Section 14(c) is an insightful carve-out created to protect the rights of people with significant disabilities, by providing a structure that makes it possible for them to be employed.

Reality:

Only 1.6% of Missouri students with an IEP are employed in sheltered workshops.

Reality:

Employees and family members most often cite socialization with peers as their #1 reason for choosing to work in a sheltered workshop.

Reality:

Workshops actually provide a variety of work opportunities that require learned skills, goals, quality, teamwork, decision making, and more. In Missouri, workshops offer a variety of work environments including light industrial, janitorial, greenhouses, woodworking, lawn care, etc.