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February 27, 2012

Are Sheltered Workshops Beneficial?

Sheltered workshops are designed to teach people with physical/mental challenges job-related skills so that they can be put into more permanent employment.  However, in two reports it was found that they are expensive with few positive results.  These reports put the workshops validity into question.

In the reports, researchers discovered that people with physical/mental challenges weren’t more likely to obtain a job as people who weren’t involved in workshops.  People who were involved in workshops made less income.  They were also more expensive to employers.

“Participating in sheltered workshops diminished the future outcomes achieved once individuals became competitively employed, perhaps because the skills and behaviors individuals learned in sheltered workshops had to be ‘unlearned’ in order for the workers to be successful in the community,” according to the researchers.

Presently, half a million Americans with physical/mental challenges participate in approximately 7,000 workshops cross country.  Reasons as to why sheltered workshops aren’t beneficial to participants are still unclear.  These reports were completed by researchers at Kent State University and Virginia Commonwealth University.

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