Report Finds Federal Dollars Used to Segregate and Exploit Workers with
For Immediate Release
Contact: David Card
WASHINGTON - 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
"There is a total disconnect between what governments say they want to
accomplish in terms of employment for people with disabilities and how they
are actually spending taxpayer dollars," said Curt Decker, NDRN executive
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
This report also provides additional insight into the complex and confusing
system that pumps millions of dollars into sheltered work despite good
national public policy meant to encourage integration and competitive
employment. The report follows money designated to be spent on integrated
employment as it winds its way from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services (CMS) and the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to the
states, state agencies, and finally into sheltered workshops.
"Admirably the message we hear from federal agencies is about the importance
of integrated employment," continued Decker. "Yet the majority of the money
allocated for this purpose actually ends up being spent in facilities that
segregate people with disabilities and isolates them from their communities.
"Worse, our investigations over the past year concluded most of these
facilities do not teach marketable skills or prepare workers for any type of
meaningful work outside of the sheltered workshop. Instead, they trap
workers in endless 'training' programs that pay little if anything, leaving
the 'trainee' impoverished."
The report calls for:
* Ending segregated employment and the subminimum wage by restricting
all federal and state money that is spent on employers who segregate
employees with disabilities from the general workforce.
* Strengthening current and create new tax incentives for employers to
hire people with disabilities in integrated workplaces at comparable wages.
* Increasing labor protections and enforcement of existing law.
The report, found at www.ndrn.org, is called Beyond Segregated and
Exploited: Update on the Employment of People with Disabilities and can be
found on-line at:
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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership
organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A)
Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with
disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally
based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.
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