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Position Statement Regarding Fair Wages for Individuals with Disabilities

 

The Ohio Association of Adult Services (OAAS) has always, and continues to be, directly involved with state and national organizations who share the goal of increasing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. OAAS strongly supports Ohio’s Employment First Initiative and participates in the State Employment Leadership Network (SELN). Both of these efforts focus on increasing meaningful and rewarding vocational opportunities in the community. OAAS supports the provision of a variety of resources and supports available to assist people with disabilities in earning money. We believe wages at or above minimum wage should be the goal, regardless of the work environment. We also believe in and support the utilization of available and new resources to obtain and develop increased competitive community employment opportunities. We do not support efforts that limit options for individuals with the most significant disabilities.

The membership of OAAS is diverse and our focus remains on supporting individuals with disabilities by providing meaningful and valued activities and experiences. For many people, this involves paid work. Each service and support must be viewed and evaluated in the context of each person’s interests, aspirations, abilities, supports and resources available. Our membership encompasses programs that provide a spectrum of vocational opportunities. These options may include situations where work is used as a tool to provide a meaningful activity for people, who otherwise may not be “employed”, to be paid on the basis of what they can produce. In other situations, the activity itself (i.e. art) leads to opportunities for monetary reward. This array also includes the preferred model of supporting people in the community in paid positions, including being owners and operators of their own businesses.

OAAS remains fully committed to supporting individuals with disabilities in the employment settings of their choice and will continue working to further state and national policy that is consistent with these efforts.

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