The New York Office of Persons With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) held “town hall” Community Dialogues around the state to hear from stakeholders regarding the employment options for people with developmental disabilities.
In an OPWDD summary of stakeholder feedback from these sessions, many stakeholders raised concerns about proposals which would limit the range of employment options available to people with developmental disabilities. Stakeholders expressed concerns about federal expectations with regard to competitive employment, with several witnesses speaking to failed efforts and the value – monetarily, self-esteem, and training – of sheltered employment options. Concerns were also raised about the interpretation of the Olmstead Decision and whether it requires workshops to be closed.
VOR member Linda Blumkin was among those testifying:
“For those who are not capable of working in community settings but are still capable of work, and want to work, and enjoy the company of their colleagues and the staff at a sheltered workshop, this can be a meaningful alternative – and one vastly superior to spending their days in less productive (or nonproductive) activities at their residences.” (Testimony of Linda Blumkin, VOR member, before a New York Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Town Hall Meeting (September 13, 2013).