For the period of my employment in the disability employment industry I have looked forward to a time when people with disabilities would cease to be exploited for their labour - something that still occurs as a matter of routine*.
Pat Rogan's inspirational book, Closing the Shop, published many years ago, demonstrated what could be achieved by determined supportive people working with people with a disability to achieve their aspirational potential.
I am a regular critic of government policy and actions and also recognise the need to give credit when it is due and, at no time in the past 30 years has it been more due that now.
I have cut and paste the following from the National Disability Employment Framework - Discussion Paper (read it and get involved) https://engage.dss.gov.au/disability-employment-framework-2/disability-employment-framework-discussion-paper/ taken from round about p.36
Consistent with the evolution of disability employment services moving towards approaches emphasising choice and control and a preference for open employment, the kind of supported employment provided by ADEs could be opened up to the broader employment market. Under this approach there would be no specific ADE programme.
Instead, ADEs would be businesses that were willing to employ people with disability who received an ongoing support package. They would not be required to be not for profit and could compete in the open market on the same basis as other businesses. In this way, ADEs could continue to be an option for some job seekers with particular needs, provided sufficient numbers of such job seekers choose to work with these employers to make this business model viable.
Depending on the choices of participants, some existing ADEs may find themselves unsustainable or needing to change their business model to be competitive in the open market. Options for ADEs operating in a market-based environment could include:
> focusing on the enterprise side of its business and become like any other open employer that employs people with disability;
> focusing on providing an ongoing support service to other employers;
> becoming a training organisation for people with disability and a pathway to open employment funded under the training section of the service catalogue;
> moving to a labour hire model where the ADE employs, places and supports employees in other businesses (some ADEs are already moving in this direction); or
> any combination of these options.
Finally, the option of an opportunity to realise each persons potential - should be greeted with heaps of letters of support, enthusiasm and anticipation f a better future, so get involved!
*Before you send the hate mail - what is the average hourly wage for ADE workers? - Dont know? - it's less than $5ph
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