Cleveland, August 7 – Privately funded organizations, not the government, are the way to help people with disabilities obtain jobs, Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson told The RespectAbility Report following the Fox News debate Thursday evening.
“Most of our social problems can be taken care of by business, industry, academia, Wall Street, churches and community groups,” Carson said. “The government can serve as a very good facilitator for these things. That will work much better than the government trying to solve all these other problems. That was never what our government was designed for.”
Carson also praised Opportunity Village in Las Vegas.
“It’s designed for people with various types of mental handicaps to give them jobs,” Carson said. “And it’s 80 percent privately funded. Those are the kind of things that we really need to be encouraging across the country.”
However, some of what Opportunity Village does is a sheltered workshop. Seventy percent of working-age Americans with disabilities are out of the workforce (compared to 28 percent of Americans without disabilities), and of those people with disabilities who are working, more than 400,000 are earning sub minimum wage (as little as 20 cents an hour) in sheltered workshops.
When asked by The RespectAbility Report about sheltered workshops, Carson defended Opportunity Village by saying, “Have you been there? The people are happy.”
Negative attitudes toward people with disabilities are major barriers to competitive and integrated employment, which is the desired outcome for many people with disabilities.