Amy S.F. Lutz at WP:
These are the facts: Rather than going to for-profit businesses, 93 percent of 14(c) certificates are held by nonprofit community rehabilitation programs. And no participants are expected to live off the wages they earn. Typically, 14(c) placement is part of a suite of federal and state benefits — including Supplemental Security Income, transportation and residential services — whose costs frequently run into the six figures per year per person.
Most important, 14(c) programs are extraordinarily popular with participants and their families. In 2020, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (UCCR) considered the future of the subminimum wage. In doing so, it solicited comments from the public and received nearly 10,000 — more than it had for any other issue.
Almost all the comments (98 percent) favored preserving 14(c) and cited many factors, including the supportive environment and participants’ preference for a community of similarly disabled peers — the chance to work alongside others while engaged in a variety of tasks, such as shredding documents, recycling plastic, slipping greeting cards into envelopes, or sorting and shelving items in a thrift shop. But the biggest reason, typically articulated by parents on behalf of adult children whose impairments make self-advocacy impossible, was that their kids are simply not capable of competitive, minimum-wage labor.