Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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Sheltered Workshop Guidance is now available


So many of us are defined by our work. Through work, we are able to experience pride of accomplishment, pursue our goals and passions, and we are able to challenge ourselves to achieve bigger things. 

The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) made a commitment to help people find work in community-based settings and as part of that commitment, we have been working with sheltered workshop providers on guidance to help workshops become integrated community businesses.  

That guidance is now available here

OPWDD hosted approximately 40 public outreach events and spoke to, or received comments and feedback from over 2,000 individuals, family members and providers to make sure your opinions were part of the planning process. We believe that most providers will be able to make the transition to integrated work settings based on the feedback we have received and we encourage all providers to begin working on their transition proposals if they haven’t already.  

For people currently taking part in a sheltered workshop setting, we want you to continue working if that’s what you want to do and we want to make sure that the correct services and supports are in place to meet your needs. 

There is no one-size fits all solution and for people who do not choose community employment, OPWDD is working with each person receiving services, their families and providers to explore volunteer, community service and other activities that will offer them the chance to be engaged in their community.  For people who are older and interested in retirement, current resources will be used to connect them to retirement related activities.  Other services such as self-direction, community habilitation, prevocational services and day habilitation could also be options for people who do not choose to transition to community employment. 

We recognize the valuable foundation that has been built by individuals, providers and families, and this foundation will serve as an important building block as we work together to help every person find the work or activity right for them.