Federal regulations threaten Missouri's sheltered workshops

2 years 5 months 1 hour ago Monday, July 11 2016 Jul 11, 2016 Monday, July 11, 2016 2:52:00 PM CDT July 11, 2016 in News
By: Lauren Barnas, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - New federal regulations could change the way sheltered workshops, which employ people with disabilities, operate in mid-Missouri.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, or WIOA, published its Final Rules on June 30. 

Tim Wallace has worked at Central Missouri Subcontracting Enterprises for a couple years, which is one sheltered workshop in Columbia. Tim's mom says that short time is critical to Tim's happiness and livelihood.

"Closing it would be just shattering for Tim's life," Trish Wallace said.

But that's what could happen. The WIOA rules might prohibit states and schools from helping employ people with disabilities at less than minimum wage.
 
"More than 6,000 individuals with disabilities in Missouri are employed through sheltered workshops. That's 6,000 jobs at stake, 6,000 taxpayers who are at risk of losing their jobs," Laura Holman, who works at Unlimited Opportunities, a sheltered workshop in Boonville, said.
 
Final Rules FAQ document says, "VR [Vocational Rehabilitation] services designed to maximize the potential of individuals with disabilities and adds new provisions that limit the payment of subminimum wages to individuals with disabilities."
 
Some people at CMSE make less than minimum wage, but others make up to $12 an hour. Holman said Unlimited Opportunities' average hourly wage is almost $7 per hour for June 2016. Missouri's minimum wage is $7.65 per hour.
 
"The faster and the better that the employees do at their job, the higher their paycheck. Well we have seen improvements just based on the amount of money Tim's made over the two and a half years," Wallace said.
 
The new plan could also introduce age restrictions.
 
"We suspect that there's going to be some issues in regards to students, or people, under the age of 24 with significant disabilities being referred to sheltered workshops in the future," Bruce Young, president of the Missouri Association of Sheltered Workshop Managers, said.
 
Young said in the past, teachers who have worked with students every day can help make the decision about where they should work. Sometimes, people with disabilities can be integrated into the workforce. He said more often, though, sheltered workshops are the right fit.
 
"They tried for the entire year for what would be a good placement and a good fit for him. He struggled with needing a lot of adult support and a lot of supervision," Wallace said about her son Tim.
 
Now, people with disabilities could have to take a formal assessment to determine placement. Wallace is worried that might not cut it.
 
"They've never walked in our shoes, so yeah, come spend a day here," she said.
 
Or if you're like Norma Schmidtlein, make that 11,000 days and counting.
 
"I've worked here 30 years, I love working here so much," Schmidtlein said.
 
She's not the only worker who feels that way. Wallace says the sheltered workshop gives her son a safe and clean working environment. She said she doesn't have to worry about how he will get to work because CMSE provides transportation.
 
"He's liable to walk across the street and get hit by a car," she said. "If he wants a can of Pepsi, he's going to drink an entire can of Pepsi whether his break is up or not. You just can't do that at a normal job."
 
Wallace said CMSE also gives Tim a sense of purpose.
 
"He doesn't make much money, but he still brings home a paycheck. Tim could care less if he's making $5 or $50. He's getting a paycheck and he knows that's what people in society do," Wallace said.
 
Tim says he has a lot of friends at work, too, "This is my friend Matt, he's my friend. Joe's my friend."
 
The Vocational Rehabilitation portion of the Final Rules was published on June 30 and is more than 900 pages. Sheltered workshop employees say they are sifting through the pages to see what final changes will need to be made.
 
The Missouri Association of Sheltered Workshop Managers is visiting Washington, D.C. in July to voice its concerns and learn more about the rules. The new regulations will take effect 30 days from their release, on July 30.
 
 
 

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY - The agreement between the Jefferson City School District and the city will reimburse the school district up... More >>
15 minutes ago Tuesday, December 11 2018 Dec 11, 2018 Tuesday, December 11, 2018 7:30:00 AM CST December 11, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Firefighters responded to a residential structure fire overnight. The blaze started around 11:49 p.m. Monday. The fire... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, December 11 2018 Dec 11, 2018 Tuesday, December 11, 2018 3:16:00 AM CST December 11, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Some students are starting to voice their opinions about possible redistricting of a new middle school. CPS... More >>
11 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 8:30:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - More than 100 people gathered in Jefferson City Monday to learn more about the planned health care... More >>
11 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 8:08:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Nobel Prize winner George P. Smith, a retired professor, says he lives a rather humble life beyond the... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 7:13:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri's Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft on Monday asked the Democratic auditor... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 4:22:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri's Dr. George Smith was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry Monday afternoon in... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 3:50:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A Boone County circuit judge sentenced Miles Leighton Hillegas to seven years in prison Monday for an April... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 3:15:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Christian Fellowship School is mourning the loss of student Bryce Hill, who was killed in a crash Saturday... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 3:14:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - MU assistant professor Pamela Brown said Dr. George P. Smith deserves the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for more... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 3:06:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- Charges have been filed in the fatal shooting of 19-year old Nilez Nichols in Jefferson City. Prosecutors... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 2:20:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The holiday period is a busy time for scams targeting shoppers, according to Michelle Gleba, Regional Director for... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 1:04:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A massive tuba ensemble has smashed a Guinness World Record in Kansas City and spread... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 12:07:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN- University of Missouri Professor Emeritus George Smith officially accepted his portion of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry Monday.... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 11:18:00 AM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA — Police arrested Missouri defensive end Tre Williams early Sunday following a reported domestic incident. According to the... More >>
21 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 10:39:00 AM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Those struggling to afford holiday gifts for their loved ones may still have options. Registration ends today for... More >>
1 day ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 3:27:53 AM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia firefighters responded to a fire at Columbia Crossing Apartments on Towne Drive late Sunday night. Division... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 09 2018 Dec 9, 2018 Sunday, December 09, 2018 11:30:00 PM CST December 09, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- Treacherous driving conditions and canceled flights could keep residents stuck at home for days as a nasty mix... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 09 2018 Dec 9, 2018 Sunday, December 09, 2018 6:25:00 PM CST December 09, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 24°
8am 30°
9am 33°
10am 38°
11am 42°