These three case studies are part of a larger study of six organizations that have closed a sheltered workshop or a nonwork, segregated program and replaced it with integrated employment or other integrated, community-based activities for individuals with disabilities.
Headquartered in a small rural town in northern Maine, Katahdin Friends, Inc. (KFI) provides community employment and life engagement supports, as well as home supports, to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). A flexible approach to staffing and support scheduling helps KFI ensure customized daily support schedules that meet individual goals. This approach also allows individuals to interact with a variety of direct support professionals, which is important for having a more engaged and meaningful life in the community.
In 2006, a new Maine law mandated the creation of a waiver program that promotes the expansion of supported employment programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD). As a result, state funding for sheltered workshops was reduced for seven workshops and approximately 220 individuals throughout Maine.
The University of Maine’s Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (CCIDS), along with the Maine Department of Behavioral and Developmental Services (BDS) and the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, developed the Maine Employment Curriculum (MEC). The comprehensive curriculum fosters best practices in employment supports for people with disabilities statewide by using a cadre of trainers who are supported by the Maine Employment Curriculum project staff.
Katahdin Friends, Inc. (KFI), headquartered in the small rural community of Millinocket, Maine, has been a service provider in this community and surrounding regions for the last 54 years. After providing segregated services for its first 20 years, KFI became an early adopter of supported employment.