Earning Money

A central vision of the new mission is that people supported by the department “Earn money to facilitate personal choices.”
Earning money commands respect in our society.  Earning money creates a greater sense of security and results in less reliance on others.  Choosing how we use the money we earn allows us to have power and control in our lives.  People with disabilities have the same needs and desires as any other citizen in our society.  People with disabilities want respect.  They want greater personal security and less dependence on others.  They want to have the same opportunities as their non-disabled peers to earn money to use to make choices about their lifestyle.  A good income makes these things easier to attain.

  • 1970’s:  The departments’ first mission focused on helping people we serve to “have opportunities to develop and exercise competence”.  As people left institutions, it was important that people learned the skills needed to live successfully in their community.

  • 1980 and 1990’s:  As inclusion became a reality for greater numbers of individuals, it became clear that the idea of “competence” needed to evolve to include the belief that people with disabilities could and should be employed in “Real Jobs for Real Pay”.  Full inclusion meant that people should not just live in their communities, but should also be expected to work and contribute to society.

  • 2000 and onward:  Over time, as more and more individuals with disabilities have become employed in community jobs and are leading self-determined lives, expectations have increased.   More and more individuals with disabilities are demanding that they have the same opportunities to earn money and make choices about their lives in the same manner as everyone else.

  • Today:  People with disabilities are no longer satisfied with living lives that are dependent on disability benefits provided by local, state and government entities.  They want the opportunity to show their strengths and to use their talents to make a good living.  They want to be valued as “Contributing Citizens”.