Tuesday, July 30, 2013

N.J. Saves Sheltered Workshops

defendingThe state’s sheltered workshop program will continue after participants and their families rallied the Legislature to keep it in place as an option for adults with disabilities to do meaningful paid jobs in safe and supportive workplaces despite their challenges.
Earlier this year, the New Jersey Department of Human Services’ Division of Developmental Disabilities announced plans to begin phasing out and defunding sheltered workshops, including a program at the nonprofit Burlington County Occupational Training Center in Burlington Township, in favor of reformed and expanded supportive work programs that would focus on moving the population into competitive employment in the community.
Workers at the Occupational Training
Center in Burlington Township.

The reform was in keeping with New Jersey’s commitment as an “Employment First” state that recognizes that “competitive employment in the general workforce is the first and preferred post-education outcome for people with any type of disability.” While providers, including the OTC, applaud the shift in focus and would still deliver the services, they argued that the state shouldn’t eliminate all other options.


  1. This is an amazing example of what a few concerned citizens can do when they come together, stand up for what is right, and make their voices heard. Now if only we can get some of the other states to see the value of sheltered workshops as well. We need all employment choices for individuals with developmental disabilities. Help us Protect Sheltered Workshops: https://www.change.org/petitions/protect-sheltered-workshops

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