Shaun Bickley “an autistic person who organized a campaign to end subminimum wage in Seattle” turned down the choice to work in a sheltered workshop when he was younger while living in Texas. It’s great that he had the choice and is employable – he currently works for The Arc of King County in Seattle, WA.
While Bickley flips a page that lists “over 80 organizations that have signed on in support” (see link). I am curious if any of them know the full story, have heard of evaluations that have been done in states which have eliminated special certificates or that people in Seattle lost work hours – due to this type of legislation.
There is more to the issue than the wage and the fact that these advocates do not understand or acknowledge that supported employment, while a wonderful opportunity, is costly to sustain. This is clearly evident in the fact that their Fiscal Note states “No fiscal impact”. How do they propose employing all these people in supported employment without a fiscal impact?
There needs to be a lot of answers here before moving forward with anymore legislation of this kind.
The following information is taken from Morningside’s Website
How does Morningside’s Supported Employment Program Work?
After a careful assessment of an individual’s skills and vocational interests, a Morningside job developer will conduct a job search in the community, assisting prospective employers in the identification of appropriate jobs and tasks to meet the needs of their specific businesses. A comprehensive job analysis is conducted to ensure a good employer/employee match. An applicant is referred followed by a job interview, after which the final hiring decision is the employer’s.
How is Morningside Involved After the Placement?
Employment specialists, or job coaches, assist new employees with a comprehensive job orientation, followed by on-going, individualized training and assistance to promote satisfactory work performance on an as-needed basis. They may also provide job modification assistance to employers, disability awareness training for co-workers, or job retention services to the employee and business on a long term basis.
What Reasonable Accommodations will I be Expected to Make for my New Employee and What will They Cost?
The employment specialist may analyze job tasks, restructure how specific job tasks are completed or teach tasks differently to best fit employer/employee needs. Most accommodations cost nothing at all and, in most cases, the employment specialist’s time is free to the employer.
Who pays Morningside (and other agencies? According to the Fiscal note it appears there is no cost.
How can the fiscal note be ZERO?
“Bottom Dollars”, a documentary on sub-minimum wage and sheltered workshops produced by @rootedinrights and Disability Rights Washington, has a statement which tells the truth about the situation –
“If people are given the proper services and supports and proper assistive technology, the sky is the limit for many, many individuals” – For some reason, this critical statement is not mentioned in any reference to the documentary or supported employment.
Supported employment offers wonderful opportunities to disabled employees and benefits to the employers and our community. Unfortunately, just as “Bottom Dollars” states, the proper services and supports are needed. This means FUNDS. For some reason, advocates, legislators and community members forget about this cornerstone to supported employment which ensures supported employment to be successful and sustainable.
Microsoft, has developed a “SE -Toolkit” and has a wonderful outlook regarding the benefits to all of hiring people with disabilities. The videos on the site have examples of some wonderful success stories and it is terrific to see disabled people working and enjoying their jobs in the communities.
The information below is from the Microsoft Supported Employment FAQ webpage
Who pays the Supported Employees and their coaches?Employers do not pay a fee to the coaching agencies. Coaches work for employment coaching agencies, which are usually non-profits funded by government entities. In Washington, the primary government funders are the Department of Social and Health Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and county Divisions of Developmental Disabilities.Supported Employees are paid by their employer. The expectation is that vendors will hire Supported Employees within existing labor budgets within the Real Estate and Facilities scope. Vendors hire Supported Employees for roles that they need to fill.
How do job seekers with I/DD find out about Supported Employment opportunities with Microsoft RE&F vendors?
When a vendor has a job opening for a Supported Employee, the program manager notifies the coaching agency partners. The agencies determine which individuals are best suited and qualified for the specific job opening, and assist those individuals with applying, interviewing, onboarding, and ongoing job coaching.Candidates for employment should contact one of our partner agencies. See the earlier topic, “Who are the primary partners in the Microsoft RE&F Supported Employment Program” for more information, or download our employment agency list.