A major effort by advocates of sheltered workshops in Massachusetts to persuade state legislators and the Patrick administration that the workshops provide invaluable skills and activities for their loved ones with intellectual disabilities has paid off.
Last week, Governor Patrick signed the Fiscal Year 2015 state budget, which contains language protecting the workshops from closure. The language states that the state must not “reduce the availability or decrease funding for sheltered workshops serving persons with disabilities who voluntarily seek or wish to retain such employment services.”
Read more about Massachusetts' success here (Cross-posted from The Blue Mass Group).
The state’s sheltered workshop program will continue after participants and their families rallied the Legislature to keep it in place as an option for adults with disabilities to do meaningful paid jobs in safe and supportive workplaces despite their challenges.
Earlier this year, the New Jersey Department of Human Services’ Division of Developmental Disabilities announced plans to begin phasing out and defunding sheltered workshops, including a program at the nonprofit Burlington County Occupational Training Center in Burlington Township, in favor of reformed and expanded supportive work programs that would focus on moving the population into competitive employment in the community.
Governor Phil Bryant passes Executive Order 1335, protecting the right of choice for people with disabilities .