I received an email from the Training Resources Network: www.trninc.com, a terrific organisation headed up by a NOVA friend, Dale DiLeo a champion of disability rights who graciously agreed to join us in Australia last year to present some staff training.
The following is taken from http://raymondsroom.blogspot.com/ and I recommend a full read:
In a just released report sure to be controversial, the National Disability Rights Network has called for an end to segregated work, sheltered employment, and sub-minimum wage. In an introductory note, NDRN executive director Curt Decker states:
"...hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities are being isolated and financially exploited by their employers. Many are segregated away from traditional work and kept out of sight. Most are paid only a fraction of the minimum wage while many company owners make six -figure salaries. Many people profit off of their labor. All, except the worker. For many people with disabilities, their dream of leaving their - job training program - will never come true. They labor away making only a tiny portion of what they should because there is a system in place that provides no true alternatives."
"For the past several decades, activists and advocates for disability rights were complacent in our silence. The National Disability Rights Network, included. We fought for and continue to fight for community integration and an end to the abuse and neglect of people with disabilities while neglecting the evidence that segregated settings, sheltered work and sub-minimum wage contradicts this effort. Sheltered workshops are not what they promise to be, and sometimes serve as an unsettling example of how good intentions can lead to terrible outcomes."
"Simply put, sheltered workshops are just another institution segregating people with disabilities away because of our unwillingness to accept that our perceived notions about their ability to work may be wrong."
The report goes on to list and elaborate on several reasons segregated work must end:
Segregated work, sheltered environments, & sub-minimum wage directly contradict national policy.
Work segregation of people with disabilities is damaging.
Sub-minimum wages reinforce a life of poverty for people with disabilities.
Sheltered workshops lead nowhere.
Sheltered workshops profit greatly from the status quo.
In Australia we have gone quiet on this debate and seemingly simply accept that it is OK to have dual systems with luck (good or bad) determining which looks after you. The practice of allowing sheltered workshops to go through our school population trawling for recruits into the State government's Transition to Work program is particularly damaging and should be stopped immediately - those kids are denied any opportunity to leave at the time when their employability and readiness to pick up new skills is at its greatest.
Cheers Dale, I was inspired by your blog.
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Your Comments Patrick Cooper from Brisbane wrote on 22 Nov 2013 12:02:45 PM I recently undertook a pretty extensive research engagement with various Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE), which the author chose to insultingly call "sheltered workshops" and I take umbridge at the complete lack of understanding and appreciation of what these organisations provide. Clearly Dale is completely missinformed regarding the valuable contribution these place provide to those with disability. Many of whom start by working at an ADE recieve training and support and then go on to work in open employment. Sadly many will never have this capability and the author once again fails to appreciate that not every person with a disability will be able to do so. Regardless of how hard we wish it to be. The foolish, narrow minded and clearly missinformed article fails to account for the multiple organisations that deliver quality lifestyle engagement to those with disaqbility by providing them with valued and valuable employment. This provides the participant with social engagement, dignity and a feeling of belonging to and contributing to the community. The article is clearly written with a bias borne from the early 1970s and before the current format of these highly valuable organisations. I find this article an insult to people with disability everywhere.
Martin from St Marys wrote on 23 Nov 2013 1:31:40 PM Thanks Patrick
I appreciate a your different viewpoint and remain firmly convinced thath much more not only can, but needs to be done. For example the recent decision of the High Court of Australia that the tool used by the majority of sheltered workshops to measure the productivity of people with an intellectual disability violates their human rights and is an unfair and inaccurate means of assessing productivity simply affirms what everyone knows - workers are exploited.
The national average wage for people in sheltered settings is a little over $4 an hour.
'Open Employment first' needs to become our minifesto, not 'the good offsets the bad'.
Richard H Douglas from Kent UK wrote on 30 Jan 2014 11:16:20 PM I think Patrick Cooper said most of what i would comment on, and I agree with most of it. As someone who worked as a supervisor/trainer in sheltered workshops in Auckland NZ, I can see both sides of the debate, it is a very complex issue,some clients/trainees will never work in the commercial realm ,while others progress to full employment with understanding employers......But they must not be closed down simply because a few bad eggs exploit the vulnerable. the AED should compel all workshops to become incorporated society's, and not for profit organisations.
Review Australia's $1bn disability employment service criticised over poor outcomes and reduced employment - https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/mar/31/australias-disability-employment-down-3-in-past-decade-as-service-scheme-criticised-for-poor-outcomes....
Thank you Mark Zuckerberg (not!) Friends of NOVA may have seen our Facebook page is down - courtesy Mark Zuckerberg NOVA/Focus are victims of much larger forces - no idea when or if we'll be restored - more as events unfold....
They Don't Count Gaining or holding formal qualifications can set a person up for a lifetime career. Holding appropriate qualifications that can lead to lifelong careers, tradespeople generally make a good income and enjoy well deserved respect....
Benchmarks To access NOVA Employment or any Disability Employment Service (DES), almost everyone is required to be assessed by the Services Australia Services (Centrelink) to determine their "Benchmark" hours: Benchmark hours are the pay point for service providers; being the minimum working hours required for the DES provider to bill the Government and the assessed maximum hours a person is deemed capable of working with DES support....
International Day of People with a Disability
International Day of People with a Disability
It's IDPwD and we have a 1 hour 'special' screening on SBS from 4.30 this afternoon.
Our Ryan Goodwin has done a great job of selecting some of the great entries from NOVA's 'Focusonability' short film festival - we love the Festival and hope that you'll love these films, gathered from around the world....
2020 - the first half When the going gets tough, the tough get going
Good! - Now they've left us, let's look at reality - when the going gets tough, many people suffer and dis-proportionally, people with disability suffer more....
Countdown Clock II
What's the countdown clock all about?
It's our closing time and a countdown to the end of a truly remarkable month of extraordinary effort by my staff....
Countdown Clock Regular viewers will have noticed a countdown clock ticking away (above)
What's that all about?
Can't say - you have to wait till 4.30pm (a little earlier for staff)
Just the best 3 One thing we all love is a winner which is why there's a smile on my face it will be pretty hard to shift.
There's a nightmare pandemic sweeping the world (carried off my mum), the economy has tanked in a never before seen disaster that's left more than a million Aussies unemployed and the only news seems to be bad news....
More than Money!
If asked, most of us would say we went to work for the money, to pay our bills or support our family.
All true, and yet work means so much more:
Prior to finding a job with NOVA employment Glenn* struggled to keep jobs for more than a few months and was generally working as a dishwasher in restaurants which he found to be quite unsatisfying work....
Life Changers II
How are you in the mornings (or evenings, or nights)? NOVA is an 'old school' Disability Employment Service - we find work in the general community with identical pay and conditions as those enjoyed by people who dont have a disability....
Life Changers Required! Received yesterday:
I was unemployed for 24 years because of my disability. I was looking for a job for the last 2 and half years. With the help of (NOVA Staff) I found suitable job and working in the law company for last one year....
Don't know about you but I have felt pretty bruised from all the horrible stuff brought upon us by this damn virus - seeing so many folk losing their jobs is particularly awful and the uncertainty generated for everyone, particularly for workers who have a disability is dreadful to see....
Best Ever II
Following from last post:
NOVA Employment has operated for 30 years. Comparing all results from previous years, February 2020 has been our most successful to date - Following on from January that's 2 in a row and every indication March will also be a record breaker....
NOVA Employment posted another 'best ever' result for the first month of 2020.
Despite the most dreadful natural disasters and with many businesses closed for the holidays, the NOVA team delivered more new workers than in any previous January results, beating past 5 years average by 25% and previous (2017) 'best ever' numbers by 5%....
Depressing cracked record!
A good friend will occasionally pull me up with the reminder that I have a tendency to rant, 'rave on slop jaw' if I remember correctly....
Big Win! Saturday night saw a big win for the NOVA team and for people with disability when our Podcast partners NOVA Entertainment- no relationship other than mates - received the following:
BEST ORIGINAL PODCAST - BRANDED
Focus On Ability; Nova Employment & the Nova Entertainment Podcast Team , NOVA Entertainment
BEST ORIGINAL PODCAST - UNBRANDED
Hamish & Andy; Hamish Blake & Andy Lee, PodcastOne Australi
Taken from the web: https://www....
Received the following yesterday morning:
Hi Nova, just wanted to give my feedback in regards to my mother getting a job through you guys and the amazing impact it has had!! The job that mum has received has changed her outlook on everything! She is now much more confident in her self and her abilities....
Welfare Benefits and Health
It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's truer that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power: David Brin
DES providers don't need nor should they have been given the authority to suspend welfare benefits (see above)....
I have spoken previously on, to quote former President Bush, 'the soft bigotry of low expectations' - if you are a member of a marginalised group the public don't expect much and are surprised when anything much is achieved!
I've been in this game for more than 30 years and have been privileged to see literally thousands of terrific men and women leave NOVA To gain (and retain) great jobs....