Thursday, June 23, 2005
From this today's Des Moines Register, Page 4B...
About 55 mentally and physically disabled people will lose their jobs when the work 'enclaves' shut down.
By Jennifer Jacobs, Register Staff Writer, June 23, 2005
When Mary Sarah Flynn goes out to eat with her family, the first thing she says when she sees the waitress is: "I have a job. I have a job."
That job disappears at the end of the month.
Flynn, who is mentally retarded, has done simple assembly and sorting jobs for 10 years through a special work program organized by the nonprofit Easter Seals Iowa.
Blaming automation and other trends, Easter Seals is shutting down its three work sites, called enclaves. The program recently lost its biggest contract, the one that brought in enough money to pay for all three enclaves, partly because machines can do what was once done by hand.
About 55 Iowans with mental and physical disabilities will be idled. Easter Seals hopes to place some into supervised "internships" at local businesses. Others may go to a day program, Camp Sunnyside, with a heated pool, field trips, arts and crafts.
Donna Elbrecht, president of Easter Seals Iowa, said the enclaves were not meeting the organization's goal of independence for people with disabilities. The new focus is for workers to be among people without disabilities, and to get paid directly by the business for jobs such as customer service, kitchen help, printing and groundskeeping...
But spending $6, 637 to lobby legislators during this past session is one of the organization's goals? This Easter Seals reception extravaganza came in as the eighth most expensive legislative lobbying reception of the session. What do you wanna bet that Donna's total compensation and benefits are well into six-figure land AND that Flynn Wright advertising group sucks at least $50,000 out this non-profit for the ad agency's "dontated services".