NYS Sheltered Workshops
Issue: The Federal and State government are calling for the closing of all sheltered workshops by 2020. It is their belief that the individuals we support are not given a choice to work outside the workshop and are therefore being segregated from their communities. Every individual working at AHRC Suffolk’s workshops has the choice to try and work out in the community. Many individuals have a fear of leaving the Workshop because AHRC can no longer take individuals back into the workshops if they leave to work in the community and decide that it is not a good fit for them.
Wages: The sub-minimum wage system was explained; it is a system which pays each individual based on their productivity (piecework) rather than a flat hourly rate. This has become a hot button issue for politicians and some media to focus on. The state and local governments believe that this system degrades the individuals we support. However, neither the individuals we support nor their families have a problem with the system currently. It has been stated in the media that our individuals make pennies an hour; this is simply not true. The Department of Labor strictly regulates the wage calculations for all individuals who work in our sheltered workshops and we are audited regularly to insure compliance.
Community Integration: AHRC Suffolk is working towards integrating our workshops by hiring typically developing individuals to work alongside the individuals that we support. This will provide an integrated workforce and allow the workshops in part to stay open. AHRC will continue to find ways to provide exceptional services to the individuals that we support. We will keep you all updated on any new plans for the future.