In Support of Sheltered Workshops

by Russell Fowler

Sorry it has taken time for me to write in, but I feel compelled to write about something important.  Many of you may know that our own sheltered workshops, as well as others throughout our country, are facing a shutdown by our own government, saying our people could do better.

I say hogwash.  Those making minimum wage, or those waiting tables or doing other jobs for less than minimum, could do better, but no one shuts them down.  A lot of those whom I’ve worked with have moved onto better jobs in the community, with success.  Many others, however, would have a hard time obtaining gainful employment in our community.  Many of us have emotional disorders or physical problems that would hinder us.

The government doesn’t stop to realize these jobs, whether we live in group homes, family care or independently as I do, are a supplement to our government monies, and much of those extra dollars are often spent in local restaurants, retailers, etc.  In a sense, this would have a “Going Green” – the color of money – effect.

I work here because it’s therapy for me.  I strongly urge people who read this – the doctors, therapists, staff, and consumers alike – to contact their Congress people, even President Obama.  Let them all know how greatly affected we would be, including the staff  that work there, including supervisors, case managers, dock people, etc.  Use social media sites like Facebook and YouTube to get the word out.  Thanks!

Russell Fowler is gainfully employed at a Work Center in Jamestown, NY, that is operated by The Resource Center, a community rehabilitation program that provides employment and work training opportunities to individuals with significant disabilities.  Mr. Fowler wrote this piece for inclusion in his “Going Green” column that appears occasionally in The Resource Center’s newsletter.