Workplaces for People with Disabilities To Close?

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WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP -- Waking up and going to work every day may not be that thrilling for some people, but for someone with a disability, having a job can be a rewarding experience.

However, workplaces that employ people with disabilities in Pennsylvania could close because of new state rules.

A new proposal from the Department of Human Services would move funding out of workplaces for people with disabilities. It means thousands of workers with disabilities across the state--and hundreds in Luzerne County--could lose their jobs.

Jimmy Bonchonsky put together some electrical parts Tuesday at Keystone Community Resources on Mundy Street near Wilkes-Barre. He's been working there a few days a week for more than a year and loves it.

"I like being with my friends, to enjoy putting things together. I like to get along with my supervisor."

This facility employs about 75 people, including Courtney Brocious, who runs a cafe in another part of the building.

"The reason why I like it, I like making money and stuff," Brocious said.

But those who run this facility say it could shut down and these workers could lose their jobs because of new rules proposed by the state Department of Human Services. The proposal calls for people living with disabilities to be doing activities more, and working jobs--like in this facility--less.

"That then, by default, makes buildings very difficult to maintain because you could only use them for 25 percent of the day," said Laura Brown-Yadlosky. "(Shutting down) could be a consequence of this policy."

Officials admit the state allows them to pay workers less than most people. The average here is a few dollars under the state minimum of $7.25 an hour. But to so many people here, like Kevin Crouse, who suffers from epilepsy, his family says it's not about the money.

"It would be nicer if they paid them more, but with Kevin, it's just the fact that he's out of the house. He has nothing else that he can do," said Kevin's mother Carrol Crouse.

Keystone Community Resources thinks the reason the state wants its employees to work less and do more activities is because of budget restraints.

The Department of Human Services says the state not closing workshops but that it is complying with federal rules.

11 comments

  • April

    Governor Wolfe will cut funding for things like this but is pushing for thousands if not millions of dollars to go towards Narcan to save drug addicts. You have to love the world we live in and the Democrats that gover us. What a joke!

  • SHAME ON YOU!!

    So what now Gov. Wolfe?? These folks sit home and collect State benefits?? I don’t understand why he would allow this to happen, how he would sign off on this. They are tax paying citizens who are out improving their life, NOT sitting home like so many able bodied, healthy individuals. They aren’t having multiple children by multiple sperm donors just to up their income. I am honestly appalled at him.
    FOR THOSE THAT VOTED FOR WOLFE..SHAME ON YOU!!

  • Jayne Dough

    Remember this when all of you cheer for a 40 Billion dollar wall that will have zero impact on the effects of immigration, when your tax dollars SHOULD be going to support programs like these.

  • Phil C

    More activities. How are these activities going to paid for? These folks have the same rights as everyone else. The right to work and the right to contribute to society. Many of the jobs they do are menial, but they not only get paid, which they can use for activities, but also get pride and a sense of accomplishment.

  • SUE STEVENSON

    I FEEL MAYBE OUR GOVERNOR AND HIS STAFF NEED TO LIVE 1 WEEK IN THE LIVES OF OUR SPECIAL NEEDS PEOPLE AND ATTEND THEIR EVERYDAY WAY OF LIVING. THEY WOULD CHANGE THEIR MINDS VERY QUICKLY AND WOULD FIGHT TO KEEP WHAT LITTLE HAPPINESS OR WAYS OF FEELING USEFUL OUR SPECIAL NEEDS PEOPLE HAVE.

  • Don Andrews

    My wife is a supervisor at suncom .These individuals need the interaction with others .It gives these People the opportunity to contribute.These People are doing what they Love to do .The state has been cutting these programs for a number of years.
    What they the state should be doing is giving the support that these individuals need.
    The disabled or challenged are being denied the opportunity to contribute to society.
    The state or federal government should support these programs.
    They can start by taking a few hours to see what goes on in these work shops.
    These programs are nessacary to help these individuals .

  • Get educated

    And it should be noted in this article about slavery that it has nothing to do with trump but all about the Democratic Party and their love of slavery and not allowing people to better themselves

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