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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Disabled workers not being paid minimum wage: Earhart plane found?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Aug 3, 2014 3:49 PM

What to look for on Smart Talk Monday August 4, 2014:

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PublicSource photograph

Some 13,000 workers with physical and intellectual disabilities in Pennsylvania are being paid an average of $2.40 an hour – far below the federal minimum wage of 7.25 an hour. 

It’s legal too.

Some argue it’s wrong to pay people with disabilities so little and point out there are employers in Pennsylvania who pay workers with disabilities above the minimum wage.  On the other hand, supporters of work programs say the socialization, training, and sense of purpose that the jobs provide disabled workers are more valuable than money.  They add that paying a minimum wage would force them to not hire as many disabled employees.

Halle Stockton, the Public Source reporter who investigated this story appears on Monday’s Smart Talk to tell us what she found.

Also on the program, nearly 75 years after Amelia Earhart’s disappearance over the Pacific Ocean, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) in Chester County thinks they may finally have solved the mystery.  They plan to make an expedition to the Phoenix Islands in search of debris from her plane and a campsite Earhart may have built to survive.

TIGHAR’s Ric Gillespie will be on Monday’s show to talk about the group’s expeditions and research.

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Comments: 3

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-08-04 08:22

    John from Franklin County writes:

    I work in human service and see firsthand the benefits a "sheltered workshop" can offer some individuals. That said, some programs, which claim to offer comprehensive vocational rehabilitation, do not seem to encourage transition to competitive wage employment.

    I don't know how to regulate this. One thing which could be better regulated are work attendance rules. In my area, individuals participating in one program are required to be present at work a minimum of 3 days per week, including days when there is little or no piece rate work available. So, on occasion, they have to go to work, and do nothing and earn nothing.

    A minimum "per day" wage, would seem to be warranted.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-08-04 08:36

    Michael emails:

    Perhaps a topic for future broadcast would be a broader look at those with significant mental disabilities and their coping with life. Organizations like Easter Seals perform a service one needs to see to appreciate. Individuals who unfortunately were not as lucky as you and I at birth face a future we would view as quite depressing. Anything society & organizations can do to bring joy & purpose to their lives should be encouraged and rewarded.

  • John Nomads img 2014-08-11 17:54

    The article barely touched on the fact that most, if not all persons in sheltered workshops get SSI or SSDI payments from the federal government. Additionally, persons are often receiving benefits like medicade, reduced fare transportation, and housing assistance based on their income.

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