It has been a busy few weeks at ACCSES.  We have enjoyed having an opportunity to spend time with many of our members and soon-to-become-members at their autumn conferences and retreats.  Last week, Kate McSweeny presented at the Ability Network Delaware annual conference, where she spoke on a variety of issues including the recently announced DOJ Integration Mandate and the meaning of community.  The previous week, Terry Farmer and Kate McSweeny visited with the leaders of Misericordia in Chicago, toured the impressive campus, and had a terrific lunch on the grounds at Greenhouse Inn Restaurant,  Later that day, Kate took a bus to Madison, Wisconsin to meet up with Rehabilitation for Wisconsin CEO, Linc Burr.  Together, they visited CRPs in Wisconsin, ending the day attending and addressing an A-Team meeting with new ACCSES member, Opportunities, Inc.


Myths vs Reality

For years, activists, legislators, government agencies, and other organizations have been telling one side of the sheltered workshop story. Take a moment today to learn the truth about the myths that surround sheltered workshops and the people who choose to work there.

Click on the link below.

Dignity Has a Voice Myth vs Truth

Lakeside Packaging PlusLakeside Packaging Plus announced the creation of their Community Services Program at a Business Forum and Breakfast at the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh Alumni Center.

Professionals representing hospitality, food service, child care, retail, manufacturing, health care and financial services sectors came to hear new approaches to fulfilling the need to attract qualified workers. Human services agency representatives, educators and State Representative staff members also attended to hear best practices to share with their constituents.

Featured keynote speaker, Traci Jones, Corporate Director of Human Resources for Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, provided attendees with a valuable overview of the benefits in hiring associates with unique abilities. Making a case for answering the need for quality workers was supported further with the statistics she shared, including the remarkably low turnover rate (8 percent) for people with disabilities versus the general population (45 percent).

After the presentation, a moderated discussion among attendees provided valuable insights on how companies can make the case to hire associates with disabilities. With more than 75 percent of people with disabilities reporting being unemployed or underemployed when they would rather be working more, they represent an untapped market for employers.

Employers shared the need for getting over perceived hurdles, including concerns about accomodations, abilities, and perception that an entire job description needs to be completed by one person.

Lincoln Burr, Executive Director for Rehabilitation for Wisconsin in Action, said “If you are a manufacturer who assigns set up and tear down to every employee, can that task be completed by an associate with a disability? This possibility may open opportunities for others in the organization to create more product, improving profitability.”

Hiring associates with disabilities can prove to be better for the bottom line for a company in addition to bringing so many more cultural benefits for every employee.

Read the original story here.

Work Centers Under AttackWork centers for the disabled provide a useful service for businesses while allowing individuals with special needs to gain work skills and autonomy. But new federal regulations would make life difficult for these charitable operations, potentially causing some to close their doors.

These centers have historically been exempt from minimum wage laws, but proposed rules from the federal Labor Department would end the exemption. Regulators are also considering mandating "integrated work settings," which means they would have to employ more higher-priced, nondisabled workers to work with those who are disabled.

For many centers, that means they would have to fire disabled workers to hire more regular staff.

"That just doesn't make sense to me," said Charles Markey, the president of the Arnold Center in Midland.

Read the complete story here.