The Department of Justice and State of Rhode Island have reached a “landmark” agreement regarding segregated sheltered workshops and adult day programs. According to the settlement, Rhode Island will provide supported employment placements to approximately 2,000 individuals, including at least 700 people currently in sheltered workshops, at least 950 people currently in facility-based non-work programs, and approximately 300-350 students leaving high school.
Under the agreement, Rhode Island has 10 years to resolve the following violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):
- Help state residents with development disabilities obtain typical jobs in the community that pay at least the minimum wage and offer the maximum number of hours consistent with the employee’s abilities and preferences;
- Provide support for non-work activities in the mainstream, including community centers, libraries, and recreational and educational facilities;
- Prepare high school-age students with developmental disabilities for competitive jobs in the community through internships and mentoring programs, among other efforts; and
- public funds that are used to support segregated settings toward encouraging services in integrated settings.
The expectation for these target populations will be to assist individuals to find work, on average, in a supported employment job at competitive wages for at least 20 hours per week. Additionally, the State of Rhode Island will provide transition services to 1,250 students between the ages of 14 and 21 to ensure that transition-age youth have access to vocational rehabilitation, supported employment and transition services that will lead to integrated, community-based employment after students leave secondary school. APSE is extremely appreciative of this recent development that will make Rhode Island a leader in the Employment First movement.