Just about everyone wants to work, can work and benefits from work. Yet society has historically viewed people with disabilities as incapable of being productive members of society. As a result, vast numbers of people with disabilities don’t have the opportunity to work in real jobs for real pay, and to fulfill their potential as valued members of the community.
Instead, many are stuck in sheltered workshops where they spend their days segregated from the community, interacting only with other people with disabilities, performing mundane tasks, for far less than minimum wage. They often remain in these workshops for decades.
Still other individuals with disabilities spend hours on end in segregated day programs, doing mind-numbing activities with no expectation that they will ever have a real job or be a contributing member of society.
Whether they’re in sheltered workshops or day programs, they’re often reduced to lives of dependence, poverty, segregation, and isolation.
People with disabilities deserve better.
CPR has made it a priority to expand integrated work opportunities for people with disabilities through its litigation and policy work. We developed an initiative to challenge segregated sheltered workshops in Oregon under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and filed the first lawsuit in the nation that successfully advanced this strategy. The settlement in this case is now a model for other states. We also have developed and led several policy initiatives to promote opportunities for competitive integrated employment through new federal laws, regulations and policies.