Use of Section 14(c) certificates and observed trends

14c exploits my sister's labor

My sister has a great memory, is resourceful, great with kids and animals, thoughtful, determined to learn, helpful, responsible, and kind. I can think of many jobs she would be good at - pet care, child care, working at a library, tour guide at a historical site, receptionist, advocate for people with disabilities, or even working at a clothing store. If my sister were truly supported to explore jobs, I'm sure we could find a lot of other things she'd be good at too. You never truly know what someone can do.

 

My sister has worked at multiple sheltered workshops throughout her life and never once has she found work at any of them to be interesting. Sheltered workshops do not offer real opportunities for work. They develop contracts with companies that care more about the cheap labor that they can get out of people with disabilities, and that is what determines the kind of work people can "choose" to do. It's a lack of creativity and lack of respect for people with disabilities that drives this system and we MUST do better for people.

 

I don't believe that closing sheltered workshops will result in people sitting at home with nothing to do. If this is the end result of sheltered workshops closing, then the system and the people running it have failed. Change is hard and scary, but it's necessary. People with disabilities have been exploited and disrespected for far too long. My sister has expressed over and over again that she would like a job in the community and she is ignored year after year. Her current sheltered workshop, Pantheon Industries in Wisconsin, is one of the many organizations that signs on to the letters begging DOL to keep 14c around. I am going on record as a family member of someone that is exploited at Pantheon, that they must change their mindset and think about the opportunities and possibilities that they are squashing.

 

Sheltered workshops are on the wrong side of history. We will look back on this in 50 years and wonder how we allowed these places to exist for so long.

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Idea No. 2338