A new Missouri state resolution reaffirms the state’s support of sheltered workshops after disabled people and their families band together to “protect the right to choose sheltered employment as a valuable work choice.”
A movement has been created in Missouri that is aimed at fighting federal legislation and saving the state’s 92 sheltered workshops. House Concurrent Resolution 28 (or HCR28) introduced by State Rep. Rory Rowland, D-Independence, recently received significant support in the State House (152 for and 1 against). The sponsor told The Missourian that he hopes the resolution will “give an opportunity for all sheltered workshops in Missouri to speak their grievances against the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to the U.S. Capitol. “ Another Missouri representative, Allen Andrews, told a KMA News radio reporter that the demand for sheltered employment is high in Missouri:
“Right now in MIssouri, we have 6,300 Missourians with developmental disabilities who are employed by Missouri’s 92 sheltered workshops. There are over 1,100 individuals who are on a waiting list ready to work.”
Meanwhile, a group called Dignity Has A Voice, composed of people with disabilities and their families, and the Missouri Association of Sheltered Workshop Managers are working to raise awareness about why they believe sheltered workshops have a place in today’s landscape of disability services.
Dignity Has A Voice was created to tell the real story of adults with the most significant disabilities and their families, who choose employment in sheltered workshops.
This subject provokes passionate response from both sides of the debate. Missouri seems to be a political arena that advocates, for and against sheltered employment, will want to watch as this resolution continues through the process in the Senate and into the Governor’s hands.