Recently, Goodwill organizations across the country have been attacked for providing jobs and skill development services for people with severe and multiple disabilities under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Goodwill is a leading advocate and supporter of people with disabilities and believes that work helps people achieve dignity and self-sufficiency.
All of the employees in our retail stores earn minimum wage or above. Goodwill serves a wide range of individuals and the people affected by 14(c) are individuals with severe and multiple disabilities; many of these men and women are not employable in the community.
For individuals with severe and multiple disabilities, this is a program and not just a work opportunity. Many need assistance with daily activities such as transportation, getting to their work station, staying on task, personal care and hygiene. Goodwill supports them with job coaches, case managers and nurses – staff who have the special skills required to serve program participants.
These men and women benefit greatly from the social interaction that Goodwill provides and they also receive skill development and emotional support. We serve as their safety net; Goodwill is a place where they want to go every day and enjoy the dignity that comes from work. If the special minimum wage is eliminated, many of these individuals may have no other option than to remain at home or stay in their group home with limited interactions.
To find out more, please view Hannah’s story below. Individuals with severe and multiple disabilities should be able to work in the environment that they choose after being made aware of the range of employment options and resources available. The kind of job, and the setting in which it exists, should be up to the individual.