Thursday, May 13, 2010

Even Individuals with the Most Significant Disabilities Can Work

Subminimum wages may have at one time been a valid and effective strategy for enhancing employment for people with disabilities, the evolution in disability rights and community employment makes the subminimum wage no longer necessary or acceptable. With proper planning, the right job match, the right supports, and right funding incentives, even individuals with the most significant disabilities can work successfully in the community at minimum wage or higher. For every individual, there are jobs and tasks we are good at and those we are ill-suited for. People with disabilities are no different.

Subminimum wage is based on the concept that level of productivity is the sole or primary criteria on which a business bases compensation and values a worker. This is a simplistic notion, not at all based on the realities of operating a business and managing employees, particularly in the 21st century economy.

Individuals are valued as employees for a wide range of abilities, gifts and talents: their customer service skills, their ability to get along with co-workers, their reliability, the quality of work, etc. The argument that the value of an employee should be solely based on speed is an outdated concept.

Community employment provides tremendous opportunities for people with disabilities to exercise self-determination and choice – through economic empowerment, the ability to choose from among a broad array of possible job and career options, and the opportunity to use skills and abilities in a way that the individual chooses and that best meets their specific needs.

posted by AtWork! at


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