In 2014 the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services changed the rules for “sheltered workshops” — safe workplaces for individuals with disabilities to do simple tasks, sometimes for far below minimum wage — to have more community integration by 2019. While some advocates believe this measure is a positive step forward and continues the trend away from de-institutionalizing people with disabilities, other advocates and parents believe that sheltered workshops are a good fit for some. Read the
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— Reporting by Kate Giammarise
Steven Fekete, left, gives a hug to Tim Miller, the executive director of the Westmoreland County Blind Association, during a tour Tuesday, January 3, 2017, of their paper shredding facility in Greensburg. “We’re very, very proud of what we do. We run a very good program,” Miller said. “It’s not like it’s some sort of asylum that we lock people in.” (Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette)
Jason Baker works in the housekeeping training program cleaning restrooms, office spaces and classrooms Monday, March 20, 2017, at the main headquarters of Goodwill of Southwestern Pa., in Lawrenceville. Jason’s mother Suzanne says that her son loves working on the janitorial crew and is hopeful that he will be able to continue doing the same job under a similar program after July 1. State officials are hoping to get federal approval for their new integration plan by this date. (Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette)
John Msik stacks and straightens boards that will be used to make wood pallets Wednesday, December 21, 2016, at the ACHIEVA facility in Bridgeville. There, workers with and without disability work together. (Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette)
After working out at the Jewish Community Center, Kevin Ginsburg walks to dinner with his mother Barb Ginsburg Monday, March 20, 2017, in Squirrel Hill. Kevin, 39, lives in a group home in Squirrel Hill, a few blocks away from his mother. Usually about once a week Barb has dinner with her son, along with doing other activities in the community together. (Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette)
Brandon Weigand, left, and Eric Migliorato, right, work together to construct wood pallets Wednesday, December 21, 2016, at the ACHIEVEA workshop in Bridgeville. (Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette)