Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sheltered Workshops, Exploitation or Lifeline?

BLAINE, Minn. -- Workers in wheelchairs swarm around a table, stuffing envelopes.
Miles LeTourneau of Ramsey high-fives
Achieve Services Inc. CEO Tom
Weaver after opening his paycheck
at the sheltered workshop
in Blaine last month
One man runs in a circle, asking people to tie his shoe. At the next table, workers are prying plastic gaskets out of their casings. A woman is sprawled in an easy chair, sound asleep, her mouth wide open.
Everything about that scene bothers Scott Schifsky.
He and a growing number of advocates say sheltered workshops -- such as the one operated by Achieve Services Inc. in Blaine -- should be abolished. They say it's wrong for people with disabilities to be grouped together to do menial work for less than minimum wage.

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