Sheltered workshops provide employment, raise questions

1 year 6 months 4 weeks ago December 25, 2015 Dec 25, 2015 Friday, December 25 2015 Friday, December 25, 2015 8:48:00 PM CST in News
By: Megan Sheets, Brendan McDermott and Yinzi Zeng, KOMU 8 Reporters
loading

FULTON — Sitting in the back of the Kingdom Projects workshop in Fulton, Tom Faucett connects metal rings and chains over and over, working toward his daily goal of 10,000.

Faucett has worked for 31 years at the Callaway County sheltered workshop, a supervised workplace for people with disabilities. He said the job has helped him control his temper, cultivate relationships and cope with attention problems.

“I try to see if I can do it on my own,” he said, “but it’s like a family here. We try to do our best and to help each other.”

Kingdom Projects and 89 other sheltered workshops in the state employ people with disabilities in an effort to improve their quality of life.

Tec Chapman, Executive Director of Services for Independent Living in Columbia, said  career as an integral part of a person’s identity.

“If you’re an adult, what’s the first thing that people ask you? ‘What do you do?’” Chapman said. “Those are the main common relationship builders.”

Rates of unemployment among people with disabilities vary across counties in mid-Missouri, but Callaway County stands out. It has a rate of 12.4 percent, compared to 18.2 statewide, according to 2013 data from United States Census Bureau.

Callaway County has adopted the national Employment First movement, which emphasizes employment assistance as the top priority for people with disabilities.

Funding for workplaces like Kingdom Projects is done largely through Missouri Senate Bill 40, which covers living and employment assistance for people with developmental disabilities. The bill, passed in 1965, provides 15 percent of the funding for the workshops. Other funding comes from contract work, and the Department of Secondary Education, which provides money based on the number of employees and the hours they’ve worked.

Individual counties decide whether or not to adopt the bill. According to the Missouri Association of County Development Disability Services, 60 of the 114 counties in Missouri have voted to participate. Each has a local board to oversee the distribution of money to counties that have elected for funding under Missouri Senate Bill 40.

“Most people subscribe to the notion that it takes a village, so to speak,” Chapman said. “I think how that plays out in each local community is very different.”

According to Chapman, improving local unemployment rates for people with disabilities starts with raising community awareness.

“Typically when we think about diversity we think about race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, but very rarely do we talk about it with people with different abilities,” Chapman said. “If we can raise awareness of the attributes and the skill sets that people with disabilities can bring to the work force, that would help.”

Robert Honan, director of the Governor’s Council on Disability, questions the effectiveness of workplaces exclusively for people with disabilities. He said integrating them into the wider workforce would be more effective.

“I don’t agree particularly with the older way that sheltered workshops were set up,” he said. “At one time they were really useful, but in some ways I think they’ve outlived their usefulness. I think we should definitely focus more on inclusive and integrated employment.”

Honan said he wants to see the state take a leading role in employing people with disabilities.

Chapman says that the main benefit of integrated employment is higher earnings.

“What we do know is that people want to get out of poverty,” he said. “The positive effects of having individualized, community-based, integrated employment are longevity, increased earnings, and decreased reliance on public assistance.”

In addition to economic benefits, there are social benefits to integrated employment, he said.

“More important is that social network where they can develop relationships with people that they otherwise would not have had the opportunity to find,” Chapman said.

Kingdom Projects Manager Lonn Little said he doesn’t think workplaces for people with disabilities need to be mutually exclusive from other workplaces.

“We want people to take an opportunity if they have an opportunity to try out a job outside of here,” Little said. “We encourage that, and if that happens and that's not successful, we try to maintain a place for them to come back to. We don't close the door and say ‘Go try it but we don't think you're going to make it.’ We want to try to support it.”

Chapman said the choice of a workplace boils down to personal preference, but that no matter what, workplace diversity strengthens the community.

“I think it’s just understanding that we all have different abilities, and that each one of those abilities can be an asset to our local community, not only economically, but also just from the overall social fabric,” Chapman said. “That’s what makes our local communities and our country so great.”

 

 

More News

Grid
List
FULTON - Fulton Medical Center announced the hospital will be closing no later than September 22 and the announcement comes... More >>
23 minutes ago July 24, 2017 Jul 24, 2017 Monday, July 24 2017 Monday, July 24, 2017 5:13:00 PM CDT in News
ARNOLD (AP) — Investigators said a motorist who died after a shootout with police along a busy Missouri interstate had... More >>
1 hour ago July 24, 2017 Jul 24, 2017 Monday, July 24 2017 Monday, July 24, 2017 4:21:00 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — More than 28,000 people in the Kansas City metro area remain without power after weekend storms... More >>
1 hour ago July 24, 2017 Jul 24, 2017 Monday, July 24 2017 Monday, July 24, 2017 4:17:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Two parents are dead and one child in stable condition after a carbon monoxide poisoning incident that... More >>
1 hour ago July 24, 2017 Jul 24, 2017 Monday, July 24 2017 Monday, July 24, 2017 4:07:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – The University of Missouri is partnering with a Columbia-based company to fight a familiar condition in cancer patients.... More >>
2 hours ago July 24, 2017 Jul 24, 2017 Monday, July 24 2017 Monday, July 24, 2017 3:35:00 PM CDT in News
Golf, softball, walking the dog… being in the sun means that we need to be diligent about protecting our skin.... More >>
2 hours ago July 24, 2017 Jul 24, 2017 Monday, July 24 2017 Monday, July 24, 2017 2:44:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Police Department is looking at whether more training is necessary after an off-duty... More >>
3 hours ago July 24, 2017 Jul 24, 2017 Monday, July 24 2017 Monday, July 24, 2017 2:33:25 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Some Democratic Missouri lawmakers are reviving efforts to prevent cuts to in-home and nursing care for... More >>
3 hours ago July 24, 2017 Jul 24, 2017 Monday, July 24 2017 Monday, July 24, 2017 2:18:31 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Police detectives arrested a man Sunday night after detectives connected him to a weekend shooting that left one... More >>
3 hours ago July 24, 2017 Jul 24, 2017 Monday, July 24 2017 Monday, July 24, 2017 1:40:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A petition to repeal the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as "Obamacare," was delivered to Sen. Roy Blunt’s... More >>
4 hours ago July 24, 2017 Jul 24, 2017 Monday, July 24 2017 Monday, July 24, 2017 1:29:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A central Missouri woman has pleaded guilty to federal charges for defrauding her employer. Prosecutors... More >>
5 hours ago July 24, 2017 Jul 24, 2017 Monday, July 24 2017 Monday, July 24, 2017 11:57:00 AM CDT in News
SUNRISE BEACH, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say one person has been flown to a hospital in serious condition and six... More >>
6 hours ago July 24, 2017 Jul 24, 2017 Monday, July 24 2017 Monday, July 24, 2017 11:20:00 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police say a 10-year-old boy who died after being shot in the head was... More >>
6 hours ago July 24, 2017 Jul 24, 2017 Monday, July 24 2017 Monday, July 24, 2017 11:15:00 AM CDT in News
OSAGE BEACH, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a man has drowned in the Lake of the Ozarks after jumping off... More >>
7 hours ago July 24, 2017 Jul 24, 2017 Monday, July 24 2017 Monday, July 24, 2017 10:26:00 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A man is charged with attacking four homeless people with a hammer as they slept in... More >>
7 hours ago July 24, 2017 Jul 24, 2017 Monday, July 24 2017 Monday, July 24, 2017 10:22:00 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri senators are returning to the Capitol for a special session on abortion legislation. ... More >>
7 hours ago July 24, 2017 Jul 24, 2017 Monday, July 24 2017 Monday, July 24, 2017 10:16:00 AM CDT in News
FULTON — The Fulton Fire Department is investigating the cause of a house fire on Nichols Street early Monday. ... More >>
8 hours ago July 24, 2017 Jul 24, 2017 Monday, July 24 2017 Monday, July 24, 2017 9:26:00 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Authorities say a taxi driver has fatally shot a passenger in his cab on Interstate 70... More >>
9 hours ago July 24, 2017 Jul 24, 2017 Monday, July 24 2017 Monday, July 24, 2017 8:03:00 AM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 85°
6pm 87°
7pm 85°
8pm 82°
9pm 78°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

5:30p
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
6:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 6
6:30p
Wheel of Fortune
5:30p
American Dad!
6:00p
Family Guy
6:30p
Family Guy

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
American Ninja Warrior
9:00p
Midnight, Texas
7:00p
Supergirl
8:00p
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
8:30p
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld