Curtis Decker, who heads the National Disability Rights Network, says that sheltered workshops were originally a good idea, a place where people “could get trained, be protected and learn some skills.”
But, he says, the concept is way out of date.
“Forty or fifty years later, we have… people in these segregated workshops not moving out, not getting into competitive employment and making well below the minimum wage,” he says.
With the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, there’s been more emphasis on placing the disabled in the mainstream labor market. Decker and others are calling for an end to sheltered employment.