The number of 14 ©️ certificates has declined over the years, especially following the Henry's turkey farm debacle. In that situation a provider organization took advantage of men with development disabilities and exploited them financially while putting money in their own pockets. Agencies need to rethink their business model to come into compliance with federal policies around full inclusion, integration and economic self-sufficiency that is the law of the land and clearly articulated in the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments (ADAA), and WIOA. Staff may need to be retrained to look at their work differently, but there will be enough work for everyone. We cannot continue to deny people with disabilities the opportunity to work alongside nondisabled peers in order to preserve an outdated model of segregation and isolation.
RootedinRights' BottomDollarsMovie clearly shows that people with significant disabilities can obtain competitive integrated employment at real wages if given options to do so. This should be the goal of our employment programs. Employment first needs to be more than a paper concept; it needs to be the ideal standard that guides the use of federal and state dollars consistent with the ADA, non-discrimination in service options, and the integration mandate of the Rehab Act.