We all know how important friendship is. It adds so much to our lives that its absence creates unending loneliness and hardship. But is friendship any less important for those with developmental disabilities? Is it any less real, any less valuable or any less appreciated? The following story illustrates the need and desire to have a friend that you can trust and rely on, no matter what your circumstances in life or what your personal challenges might be.
THE MEADOWS VOCATIONAL TRAINING & EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM
The Meadows Center for Opportunity, Inc., is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization which has been serving the vocational training needs of adults with developmental disabilities. Since 1983, the Meadows has provided these individuals with the opportunity to work, socialize, and focus on a positive future.
Our employees are involved in a variety of job tasks and business services, including product assembly, packaging, and data destruction. Through this vocational training, our workers obtain the job skills necessary for continued employment and learning. Some of our employees achieve complete independence and self-sufficiency as a result of the skills developed in our sheltered workshop. All gain increased confidence and self-worth in discovering productive skills and earning an income.
Our mission is to provide each person the training and opportunity necessary to realize his or her maximum employment productivity.
What is a Sheltered Workshop?
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) Developmental Disabilities Services Division (DDSD) offers a number of services to help those with a diagnosis of an intellectual or developmental disability. State funded services include sheltered workshops, which provide assessment, training, and transitional services that may lead to community job placement.
According to the OKDHS, sheltered workshops “allow individuals to work and receive training in a controlled environment with many other people with disabilities.” Workers not only receive vocational training, but they are paid in accordance with individual production and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Nonprofit agencies, such as The Meadows Center for Opportunity, Inc., operate sheltered workshops and may contract with businesses to provide work for sheltered employees. Services are funded by the state and the Home and Community-Based Waiver (HCBW).
To find out more about sheltered workshops in Oklahoma, please visit the Oklahoma Department of Human Services website.